Laughter Yoga: What Is It & Why Is It Is Good For You
We’ve all heard the phrase, “Laughter is the best medicine” but have you ever tried this medicine? The whole – throwing your head back, eyes tearing up – laughter can feel good. But were you aware that laughter can help you relieve pain, improve your mood, and reduce stress?
In the 1990s, Dr. Madan Kataria, a medical professional, introduced laughter yoga. He believed that laughter is connected to our mental and physical wellness. He was convinced that laughter is the best tool to deal with the day-to-day stress a person faces. With keeping this in mind, he developed breathing exercises and techniques to stimulate laughter.
Dr. Kataria launched the first Laughter Club in Mumbai, India, and today, there are thousands of laughter clubs in countries all over the world.
What Is Laughter Yoga?
An instructor guides the participants through a series of exercises that cause forced laughter or fake laughter. Laughter yoga is not about laughing at jokes or funny videos but with a combination of deep breathing, laughter, and stretches, laughter yoga explores a connection between mind and body.
This yoga enables all to laugh. This forced and intentional laughter, more often than not, turns into a real laugh during the exercise.
Dr. Kataria firmly believes that laughter yoga can be beneficial in improving your mood, reduce stress, restore your energy, strengthen immunity, and enhance the quality of your life. He also believes that intentional laughter can help promote positivity, optimism, and help you better deal with stressful situations.
Laughter yoga is designed to help people learn to laugh on cue instead of relying on others – people or things.
Also Read: Can Laughter Therapy Beat Depression?
How To Practice Laughter Yoga
“Laugh my friend, for laughter ignites a fire within the pit of your belly and awakens your being.” – Stella McCartney
Laughter yoga is usually practiced in a group led by a trained instructor who guides the participants through a series of breathing exercises and movements to promote intentional laughter. Most of the sessions combine simple breathing exercises and chanting to promote relaxation.
Also Read: 15 Relaxation Yoga Poses for Stress Relief
A session might also include exercises such as stretching, yoga breathwork, meditation, and positive affirmations.
When you participate in laugher yoga, your brain releases endorphins that provide you with a “feel-good” factor. Endorphins help your body and mind to relax and let go of the stress. This yoga also involves breathing exercises that can help you improve your respiratory system, improve your immune system, and decrease the risk of heart diseases.
Laughing Yoga: Exercises For You To Try!
We now know that laughing yoga can benefit our mental and physical wellness but how do you start laughing when there’s nothing funny to laugh with? In the beginning, you can start with some clapping and chanting “ho, ho, ha, ha, ha” deliberately.
Here are some exercises that you can try:
1. Greeting Laughter: Join your hands together in a namaste gesture, walk around greeting people with laughter. Make sure to maintain eye contact with the other person.
2. Humming Laughter: Press your lips together and hum while faking a laugh.
3. Gradient Laughter: Start with a smile then slowly start to chuckle. Gradually increase the intensity of your laughter until you achieve a belly laugh.
4. Hearty Laughter: Stretch your arms above your head, turn your face skywards, and laugh as heartily as you can.
5. Bored Laughter: Start by fake laughing (as if you’re bored) and keep trying until you achieve a real belly laugh.
6. Silent Laughter: Open your mouth wide and laugh without making any sound. You can try making funny gestures while maintaining eye contact with the other person.
Laughing Yoga Benefits
Scientifically, laughter yoga has many benefits. Some of them are:
1. Boosts Immunity
Laughter helps reduce cortisol levels and releases endorphins and other happy hormones such as dopamine and serotonin. Some studies have shown that laughing yoga is as effective as an aerobic exercise in decreasing stress and improving the immune system.
2. Reduces Stress
As mentioned before, laughter helps in reducing cortisol levels thus reducing stress. Many researchers believe that our bodies cannot tell the difference between a fake laugh and a real laugh. This means that by forcing a laugh our body releases happy hormones which can reduce depression, stress, and improve mood.
3. Alleviates Pain
Endorphins are our body’s natural painkillers so in a way, by faking or not faking a laugh, we are providing our bodies with what it desires to help alleviate chronic pain, naturally.
4. Reduces Blood Pressure
When we laugh, our heart rate and oxygen level are raised which can improve the circulation of blood in our bodies. Laughing can also help reduce blood pressure, improve breathing, and decrease the risk of heart and other cardiovascular problems.
5. Increases Positivity
Some studies have shown that yoga reduces cortisol levels, increases energy levels, and provokes a positive mental status. Laughing yoga can also promote a better sense of well-being, improve community relations, and improve your lifestyle.
Laughing is a wonderful way to communicate to your body that the stress is just temporary. A typical laughing yoga session combines various breathing techniques and physical movements to induce laughter, positivity, optimism, and enjoyment. It can help take your mind off your stress and promote mindfulness.
While the evidence suggests that laughter yoga is beneficial for all, there is still a lot of research to be done to conclusively prove its effectiveness.
Whether you’re stressed, anxious, or in a low mood, laughing can help you improve your mood nonetheless. Laughter yoga is a great way to let go of your adult responsibilities for a while, have fun, and enjoy the moment like a child.
If you need additional support or assistance in learning more about breathing techniques, yoga, or meditation, you can always write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“As soap is to the body, so laughter is to the soul.” – Jewish Proverb
Keep laughing, keep loving!