Name: Lawnmower Laughter
Level of Vigor*: 4 – 9
How to Lead:
Declare: “The next exercise is called ‘Lawnmower Laughter’.”
Demonstrate: “We’ve got a gas-powered lawnmower in front of us, and it takes three times to start. [Pretend: one hand steadies the lawnmower, the other reaches further to grab the cord] Reach out and pull the cord once [pull the cord]: “HAH haha ha ha…” [release that hand as the lawnmower engine dwindles]. A second time [reach, then pull the cord]: “HAH haha ha ha…” [lawnmower engine dwindles again]. This time it starts [pull the cord, then put both hands on the ‘handle’]: “HAH ha ha ha hahahahaha!” and you run around mowing the lawn, the walls, each others’ hair; anything and everything.”
Do: “Everybody ready? Get one hand on the mower, grab the cord and – pull! HAH haha ha ha… … HAH haha ha ha… … HAH ha ha ha hahahahahaha!—–”
Benefits: Can be performed as vigorously as desired, running around the space (for aerobic benefits). Or the participant can gently mow (their own leg, the grass right in front of them). Can serve as a Value-Added exercise (de-stressing a previously anxiety-provoking experience).
Variations: 1. “Teeny Tiny Lawnmower:” You have a miniature lawnmower only a few inches long. When it starts you can mow small areas: your own chest, someone’s ears, your fingernails or tongue. 2. “Giant Lawnmower:” You are a very tiny person with a lawnmower fifteen feet tall. Reach above your head to get the cord; when it starts, the Lawnmower carries you away, spinning in circles – you can barely keep it under your control, laughing at your helplessness and efforts. Find these in The Encyclopedia of Laughter Exercises. Click here to download.
Origin: Might be considered a variation on Dr. Kataria’s “Motorbike Laughter.” David Sullenger (seen leading in the video) introduced it to Laguna Laughter Club in 2005 to de-condition himself from the pain associated with his being forced to mow large lawns during his childhood. This exercise seems to have emerged simultaneously in several parts of the world in 2006.
Notes: The Leader can encourage playful interaction by participating creatively, with contagious enthusiasm.
See on the web: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-E7V7enQN88
* All sessions begin with the advice that participants may engage at whatever level they wish. The “Level of Vigor” offered is a suggestion of the intensity range at which the exercise is typically performed.