Happiness and holidays go together, naturally, but stress often gets in the way. At Perfect Christmas Tree Farm, in Phillipsburg NJ, on Nov. 23 and 24 you can learn a simple way to deal with stress, that is both healthy and fun. The farm, at 999 US 22, holds its first 30 minute Laughter Yoga practice starting at 10AM on both days. There is no charge.
Laughter Yoga, as developed by Dr. Madan Kataria, in Mumbai India, started with a group of 5 people in 1995. The practice has now spread to 72 countries. It combines self-induced laughter and yogic breathing. It does not involve humor or comedy. Anyone can laugh unconditionally, in a group and twenty minutes of laughter has many beneficial effects.
According to the influential Framingham Heart Study, affiliated with University of California and Harvard Medical School, “…the spread of happiness among people was found to extend up to three degrees of separation. People who are surrounded by many happy people report being happier as time goes on. This finding supports the idea that happiness spreads via social contagion with effects lasting up to one year.”
Other studies show that the brain does not differentiate between real laughter and make-believe laughter. Any prolonged laughter releases endorphins into the bloodstream. Happiness increases, stress diminishes. Body function and body healing depend almost entirely on oxygen and Laughter Yoga bring more oxygen-rich air into the lungs. Laughter is said to be the “best medicine” because it lowers blood pressure and boosts the immune system.
In October 2013, Perfect Christmas Tree Farm owner Cynthia Curtis became certified as a Laughter Leader by Vishwa Prakash, at YogaLaf Studio in NYC. She has been practicing Laughter Yoga everyday since. She met with Dr. Kataria in NYC. He said a person needs to do Laughter Yoga for 40 days for permanent change to occur. Cynthia says, “I feel changed already. You are expert from the first session. Anyone can laugh. Its innocent and easy. I want to share these simple exercises, to add joy and subtract stress in the community for the holidays,” she explains further.
From 11 AM to 4 PM the farm is open for visits with Mrs. Claus. She reads stories, plays games and hands out goodies to all children. For the fun of it, there is wreath decorating and crafts, hayrides, farm animals and house tours and the Gift Shop. Southern style home-cooking is available. The farm is dog-friendly. Parking is free.
This annual Open-Early Celebration on Nov 23 and 24, attracts people who want to decorate for Thanksgiving, save money and do good. Perfect Christmas Tree Farm offers 10% off the price of trees, wreaths, garland, and decorations during the weekend. The farm donates an extra 10% of sales to the NJ non-profit, “Farmers Against Hunger,” that feeds those in need.
Laughter Yoga session begins at 10 AM. Laughter is universal, anyone can do it and what better place than at Perfect Christmas Tree Farm. Attend the session and gain early entry and an exclusive hayride with farmer John Curtis, as your guide.