Humor & Laughter
Many of us have heard the saying, “Laughter is the best medicine”. Research supports the idea that laughter is good for our health. According to the Laughter Yoga Institute, “Laughing feels great, and it is good for your health, too: laughter can enhance the immune system, undo many of the negative effects of stress and improve cardiovascular health. The benefits laughter can range from providing physical exercise to the muscles, lungs, and inner organs to enriching the blood, increasing respiration and blood circulations, and improving digestion.
The positive physiological effects of laughter can lead to overall life benefits as well. The Laughter Yoga Institute reports, “Frequently-reported benefits include relief of depression and anxiety, and better resistance to disease. Participants live life more joyfully, and find themselves better able to cope with whatever stresses life may bring them.”
About Laughter Yoga
According to the Laughter Yoga Institute, “Laughter Yoga is a revolutionary new technique whereby anyone can laugh, without the need for comedy, jokes, or humor. Yogic breathing is integrated with laughter as a form of exercise; the resultant practice delivers numerous health benefits.” Dr. Kataria discovered that the human mind does not make a distinction between fake and genuine laughter. Even if laughter is faked, the body detects no difference between this and "real" laughter, and the health benefits of laughter are still delivered.
Laughter yoga is quite becoming popular and is practiced in more than 5000 social laughter clubs around the world. It is now being offered commercially in yoga and fitness centers, aged-care facilities, schools, hospitals, business and government offices.
Practice Laughter Yoga
Laughter yoga combines 15-20 minutes of simple laughter exercises and gentle yogic breathing and is practiced in a group. At first, laughter exercises may feel a bit awkward. Try to challenge yourself to get past any uncomfortable feelings. Whether or not you are “faking” the laughter, you receive health benefits.
Try these Laughter Yoga techniques:
- Gradient laughing: Start laughing quietly, and then become louder and louder!
- Hearty laughter:
1. Look at ceiling, throw arms in the air, and laugh
2. Look straight ahead, hold arms out and let out a laugh, then move arms upward, let out another laugh, move arms up further and laugh, finally arms point towards ceiling and you look at ceiling and laugh a lot!
- Age laughing: Pretend to laugh like an 80-year old, then laugh like a 2-year old, and then laugh like a 5-year old.
- Pass the laugh: One person starts laughing in a style. Then, everyone imitates it, passing it on to another person who creates a new way of laughing
More About Laughter Yoga