Cultivate Joy to Shed Light on Your Shame: A Story of Yoga and Laughter
By Julie Blamphin
Certified Pelvic Floor Yoga Teacher and Laughter Yoga Leader
“Don’t make me laugh, I’m going to pee my pants!”
Have you ever said or heard anyone say that?
Maybe you’re out with your girlfriends, someone says it, you all giggle, then you change the subject. In that moment, you may feel embarrassment or even shame. Leakage is no laughing matter, am I right?
The majority of the women in my pelvic floor yoga program leak when they laugh, cough, sneeze, run, or jump. Let me tell you about one of those women.
Carrie was interested in my program so she scheduled a private yoga practice before making a commitment. I could feel her anxious energy and just knew she needed to share. I inhaled then exhaled then opened my heart to hold space for her and receive…
She said, “I leak when I laugh, so I just stopped laughing.”
What do you say to that? Nothing. I wrapped her in a hug and we paused for a few breaths.
Carrie cried as she told me I’m the first person to hear her story. Her shame was so deep and she felt so alone in her struggle, yet author and shame research professor Brené Brown tells us, ‘What we don’t need in the midst of struggle is shame for being human.’ And here’s another of her mic drops: ‘The first step in dealing with shame is to acknowledge what you’re feeling.’
In my 30+ years of yoga teaching experience, I’ve heard a wide variety of profound revelations from women. Oftentimes, I’m the first person they’ve told. Carrie said that during her private practice with me, she felt her shame ’softening and unraveling more and more’ as she shared. Hers was a revelation I’ll never forget and it was the impetus behind my certification as a Laughter Yoga Leader. As well as breath work, yoni meditations, and pelvic floor yoga poses, I teach conscious laughter in all my programs, workshops, and retreats. Laughter boosts endorphins, stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, lowers blood pressure, reduces pain, strengthens the core and pelvic floor, and cultivates joy.
But here’s the thing. Just like coughing, sneezing, and jumping – laughter can cause leakage. Yet, as Carrie now knows – that’s no reason to stop laughing! She shared her story then joined my program to start doing the work.
Some women spend years hiding their pelvic floor symptoms because they’re embarrassed to admit their experience by sharing their story. This can lead to isolation, disconnection, and lack of joy. It cultivates the emotion of shame. And according to yoga tradition – we hold shame in the low belly and pelvic floor, yet this is also where we hold joy.
At first, Carrie wouldn’t participate in the laughter. She’d smile but wouldn’t laugh. Not only was it triggering her physical symptoms of leakage, but also her emotion of shame. She’d spent so many years in the struggle and sharing her story unlocked her courage to heal. Only a few short weeks in the Celebrate the Pelvic Floor yoga program, she started recognizing the benefits in her body and emotions and this, of course, encouraged her to continue practicing.
“I leak when I laugh, so I just stopped laughing.” That was then.
This is now: Carrie’s been in my program for 3 years – still practicing a few yoga poses and 1 minute of laughter per day – and is feeling stronger, more confident, and joyful than she’s felt in almost twenty years.
Sharing our story can be scary, but we’re all in this together.
This is my preach!
Share your story, sister. It’s your first step to healing. Share with your partner, your sister, your bestie, or me. I’d be honored to hold space for you.
To learn if this program is for you, book a call with me here.
Julie Blamphin empowers women to laugh without leaking and have sex without pain through her online pelvic floor yoga program at Celebrate the Pelvic Floor.
Julie’s a Writer for AARP The Ethel, a Laughter Yoga Leader, Certified Pelvic Floor Yoga Teacher, Co-Founder of Celebrate the Pelvic Floor, and Founder of Stretch Your Spirit Retreats.