Laughter Yoga is something that everyone can do. Laughter is the best medicine, really has some truth to it. This type of yoga was started in 1995 by a doctor, Dr. Madan Kataria and his wife, Madhuri Kataria in India. Madhuri was familiar with the yoga that was about breathing and stretching.
There are 10,000 laughter clubs in India alone, and this is testimony to the fact that the Laughter Yoga really works. Yoga breathing is combined with laughter exercises, and should be done for around 20 minutes a day. The combination of the two helps people to laugh by not telling jokes.
As children become adults, they forget how to laugh. Today most adults are couch potatoes, where all they do is sit all day long at work, and come home to sit and watch the television all night.
Laughter Yoga is different because there is no exercising. It is just a way to let loose, be playful like a child and giggle. It helps a person to be fit and free from stress. These exercises help strengthen the overall health of the people. When a person laughs deeply and genuinely their facial muscles relax creating an awareness of well-being. Laughter allows the body to let go of chemicals to help alleviate stress.
Laughing is not an antidote for illnesses, but it can help get rid of stress. The stress levels lessen when a person laughs, and then a person does not become ill as often. Everyone of all ages can do Laughter Yoga.
Dr. Kataria stated that he observed a 50 percent increase in people’s health from diabetes, blood pressure and heart disease because of the laughing exercises. Laughter Yoga is a routine set of exercises which combine unlimited chuckling with yoga breathing. Chuckling is imitated as a physical exercise while keeping eye contact with other people in a group and this bolsters playfulness like a child. This follows with full on belly laughing and becomes infectious to everyone in the room. It has been proven by science that the body cannot tell the difference between real and fake giggles and chuckles.
These yoga classes or sessions begin with moderate warm-up routines, which include body movement, chanting, clapping, and stretching. Breathing exercises are used to get the lungs ready for laughter, followed by a sequence of exercises using giggling and playfulness.
A session may finish with laughter meditation. This is where the people let loose in unregulated laughing, and instead allow their innate laughter to come out like a geyser. There is usually a deep, emotional purification, and a feeling of expansiveness and peace that can last for days.
The benefits of laughter are that it reduces anxiety, fear, and depression. It also relieves stress, enhances the immune system, boosts self-confidence, promotes compassion and deepens creativity. Finally it encourages relaxation, improves sleep patterns, benefits the digestion and elimination systems, and improves respiratory and cardiovascular systems.
Laughter Yoga’s philosophy is to laugh for no reason. Kids laugh without any cognitive or mental talent. Almost all of their laughter is a result of innate lightheartedness and playfulness. Adults need to let go of any shyness, mental blocks initiated by self, society, and family to establish the capacity to laugh brilliantly again. Laughter Yoga is for everyone, even for those people who have no sense of humor or have lost their laughter.
By Michele Enli
Photo by Quinn Dombrowski – Flickr License