Laughter Yoga is a unique concept, in which anyone can laugh for no reason, without the use of humor, jokes or comedy. We initiate laughter as an exercise in a group and with childlike playfulness and eye contact it soon turns into free flowing contagious laughter. We intersperse the bouts of laughter with yogic breaths and rhythmic clapping. This brings more oxygen and endorphins to the body and the brain which makes us feel more energetic, healthy and vibrant. This is based on the scientific fact that the body responds favorably to laughter no matter how it gets started!
In Laughter Yoga we use laughter as a form of exercise, to train the muscles of the diaphragm to engage in the process of deep breathing, through the use of hearty laughter. The increased oxygen and endorphins flowing to the brain and throughout the body, sends 'calming chemicals' through the nervous system, turning off the 'Fight or Flight' response, thereby reducing stress. In Laughter Yoga we are training our minds and bodies to laugh at will, while building up muscle memory. Our brain develops new neuro-connections that produce 'Happy' chemistry in the body. These reactions can be triggered simply by laughter exercises, which lead the mind to experience the emotion of Joy! Over time, members of laughter clubs become conditioned to be more joyful throughout the day simply by having the bodily experience of doing Laughter Yoga.
What's A Typical Session Like, You Ask??
A session of Laughter Yoga usually lasts an hour with the hearty belly laughter lasting about 20 minutes.
The Laughter leader makes suggestions
for different laughter, breathing and stretching
There are four steps in Laughter Yoga:
~ Rhythmic Clapping
~ Yogic Breathing
~ Childlike Playfulness
~ Laughter Exercises
It starts with warm up exercises to get the laughter muscles in the belly activated, followed by
the various imagination-based laughter exercises which help people to laugh loud and heartily from the belly.We intersperse these silly scenarios of childlike playfulness that induce the laughter with rhythmic clapping and yogic breathing. And along with the clapping we chant Ho! Ho! Ha! Ha! Ha! or Very Good! Very Good! Yay! or even perhaps Hip! Hip! Hooray!!
How Did This Wacky Idea Ever Get Started?!
The year is 1995. The setting; a Mumbai park in the early hours of the morning. Laughter Yoga began the moment a medical doctor took "Laughter is the best medicine" seriously. Dr Madan Kataria, along with his wife Madhuri Kataria, a Yoga teacher, and 5 of their friends showed up that day. Now there are over 7,000 Laughter Yoga Clubs in over 75 countries, with 500 of them in the USA.
Come join me in Laughter Yoga and have more Joy in your life!!
Go on! I dare you! Give me 3 good reasons to do Laughter Yoga!
Numero Uno - In order to get scientifically proven health benefits of laughter, we need to laugh continuously for at least 10-15 minutes. Since in Laughter Yoga we do laughter as an exercise, we can prolong our laughter as long as we want; it brings measurable physiological changes, like oxygen levels in the blood, muscle relaxation, increased blood circulation and the release of certain hormones in the body.
Numero Dos - To reap the health benefits of laughter, laughter has to be loud and deeeep, coming from way down in the diaphram. It should be a giggly belly laugh! It might not be socially acceptable (yet) to laugh loudly and heartily without any 'good' reason! (Take them away! Ha,Ha, Hee,Hee!) By laughing together we're saved from a fate worse than living lifelessly!
Numero Tres - Natural laughter, that courses through our life depends upon many reasons and conditions, but there are not many reasons which make us laugh. When we're babies we laugh more than 400 times a day, but as adults we often lose the laughter from our lives. In Laughter Yoga we are not leaving it to chance! We are doing it out of commitment!! This is a guaranteed way of getting all the health benefits of laughter!
Supporting Evidence that Laughter makes better Brains:
In the book A Better Brain At Any Age, by Sondra Kornblatt, there's a list of ... "tips, tricks and techniques to help your brain learn and remember:" One of the items in the list is "join a laughing group, listen to comedy records, see a comedy film." It goes on to say about these activities: " ... they've proven effective in strengthening memory, increasing creativity, and enhancing overall mental agility." So let's have the never-ending last laugh together, as soon as possible!!