“Very good, very good, yeah!” is the greeting which finalizes each exercise during laughter yoga classes. This is also how our joint initiative with the Benefit Systems team ended.
At the beginning of July we organized the first summer yoga camp for our youth and staff. The idea was to combine being in the mountains with mobility exercises and personal care, to get to know our bodies better and to see ourselves through different eyes. The camp took place in the Vitosha Mountains and was funded by Benefit Systems, as a result of the company’s social responsibility and sports promotion initiative “Sneaker Day”.
The company not only donated funds to make the summer holiday a reality for 10 of our young people with intellectual disabilities and the accompanying social workers, but also personally committed to contributing to their experience. Together, we discussed the specifics of the group, their abilities and needs, and designed a program which included work with a physiotherapist and laughter yoga classes, which were both provided free of charge.
It was the first time we had heard of laughter yoga, but it was also the first time during the camp that we witnessed an initiative that was equally engaging and fun for both the young people and our fellow team members. Even the most serious among them were breathing deeply with eyes closed, twirling wrists and elbows, flying on imaginary brooms, shouting in encouragement and bursting into throaty laughter.
In just a few meetings, Gabi (now a beloved laughter yoga guru) and Zlatin (a physiotherapist with a gentle approach), became our favorite new friends in whose presence even the most anxious and sensitive youths felt calm and confident. And whose absence brings a little sadness and a desire for new adventures.
We wish for many more partnerships as this one – shared, memorable, funny.