Laughter yoga is a combination of laughter exercises focusing on deep centering breaths and calming movements. It is kind of a fun, effective stress relief program designed for all ages and abilities.
Have you ever noticed that a laughter can drive your blues away? Laughter not only relives the stress it also helps to stay in a good mood. It is an emotion that has the power to heal illness and prevent diseases. It can change our lives and ensure health and happiness. This is why laughter yoga is gaining popularity all over the world.
You can wander about the connection between laughter and a yoga therapy and if there is one at all. But there is a connection between them. And the connection is called “breath”.
Laughter yoga teaches some yoga breathing exercises. They promote the use of breathing activities in-between laughter procedures as a way to relax the body and mind. This is very important because when you deepen your breath, you calm both your body and mind.
Besides its calming effect, laughter yoga is an effective method to cure many mental and physical health disorders in a natural way. It has a wide range of benefits. It strengthens the immune system, reduces pain and lowers stress.
What is laughter yoga?
Laughter yoga combines laughter with yoga breathing exercises . . . It approaches laughter as a body exercise so it is easy to laugh even if you’re depressed or in a bad mood. I’ve tried it, and it works.
This is what Oprah Winfrey thinks of this therapy. But let’s try to define it a little bit more scientifically.
Laughter yoga is a new concept in body and mind exercise. The therapy combines simulated laughter exercises with gentle breathing techniques. It teaches your body how to laugh without relying on jokes or humor.
Where and how did the laughter yoga originate?
Laughter yoga is a relatively new therapy. It has quite an interesting history of origins. It was developed in 1995, in Mumbai, India. by Dr. Madan Kataria who decided to help the citizens of big Indian cities. That help was not about inventing a new gadget or something like that.
The doctor was looking for ways to relieve the stress people face by living in the over-crowded city. So he decided to create a laughter club to test out the theory that laughter truly is the best medicine. Dr. Kataria tested this by gathering a group of people in a public park to tell jokes.
At the very beginning, it looked like an amazing experience. The first week everyone enjoyed the humor and laughed. Not long after that, the response of people changed to the core.
However, Dr. Kataria managed to observe that whether something was humorous or not, people laughed when they saw others laughing. This meant that the laughter was visually contagious.
Realizing that he was on his way to discovering something special, Dr. Kataria created and perfected simulated laughing techniques and incorporated breathing exercises into the routine.
This is how laughter yoga started. Soon after the techniques were improved the laughter therapy took hold and spread to all corners of the world. Currently, there are nearly 8000 laughter yoga clubs in 65 countries.
Who is laughter yoga good for?
Some people may think that laughter yoga is for people with poor health. Here is good news for you, guy. Laughter yoga can be performed by anyone. People of all ages can participate in it.
What’s cool about laughter yoga is that one doesn’t have to be happy, have a sense of humor or be in a good mood to take part and gain the benefits. There is no special clothing or equipment required as well.
All that is needed is a space for a group to gather and laugh. It’s fun, exciting and easy to learn. The positive effects can be felt right after two or three yoga classes.
What is the therapy about?
A typical laughter yoga therapy lasts between 30 minutes to an hour. The class begins with warm-up exercises which include stretching, chanting, clapping and breathing activities.
This is followed by a series of laughter exercises combined with breathing techniques. The sequence of clapping, breathing, and laughing is repeated over and over again. The process is mixed with more and more childlike playfulness.
What starts out as forced or fake laughter turns into an original one and individuals relax and have fun with the experience. Often a laughter meditation follows this portion of a class. During this time, the group sits or lies down and spontaneous, free-flowing laughter ensues. The class generally concludes with a relaxation technique and a very calm, happy, mellow group!
Benefits of laughter yoga
Perhaps you wonder why you would want to do this. There are a bunch of benefits that will convince you to crave for the therapy. Besides increasing happiness and keeping in a good mood, this yoga also strengthens the immune system, reduces pain and lowers stress.
It triggers the release of endorphins and promotes health. Combining laughter with yogic breathing has fantastic effects on the body and mind, and it does not require the participants to master any of the traditional yoga postures.
Laughter yoga is known to increase oxygen intake and blood flow as well. It improves blood vessel function, and lower blood pressure. To be more precise here are some amazing benefits of laughter yoga.
Laughter yoga benefits #1: Stress Reliever
It goes without saying that laughter is an effective anti-stress emotion-filled activity. Besides, it one of the best muscle relaxants. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and supplies more blood to the muscles all over the body. A good laugh also reduces the levels of stress hormones.
Physically laughing does not require any conscious thought process or hardships. Our senses effortlessly combine resulting in joy, peace, and relaxation. Laughter is the easiest form of meditation, which can bring instant relaxation. Whereas, other types of meditation require undivided concentration and involves avoiding distracting thoughts.
Laughter yoga Benefits #2: Boosts immune system
Who doesn’t know that the immune system is responsible for maintaining our good health and preventing infections, allergies, and diseases?
Negative emotions like anxiety, depression or anger weaken the immune system and reduce its ability to fight illnesses.
However, laughter helps to increase the number of natural killer cells. It is scientifically proved that laughter therapy increases antibodies which are believed to have a protective capacity against some viruses, bacteria and other microorganisms.
The polls carried out among the members of laughter clubs come to show that there is a tangible reduction in common colds, sore throats, and chest infections.
Laughter yoga benefits #3: Improved mental health conditions
The stress and strain caused due to the mechanical modern life adversely affect our mind and body. Mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, nervous breakdowns, and insomnia are at an all-time high because of stress.
However, laughter has caused positive changes in many people who take anti-depressant pills and tranquilizers. Laughter has helped such patients achieve better sleep and helped them overcome depression.
Even people with suicidal tendencies begin to love life, see hope and learn to be happy.
Laughter yoga benefits #4: A natural painkiller
If you have terrible headaches do not rush to take pills. Just laugh! Laughter increases the levels of endorphins, which are our body’s natural painkillers.
Endorphins released as a result of laughter may help in reducing the intensity of pain in people who suffer from arthritis and other muscular spasms of the body.
Many women have even reported a reduced frequency of migraine headaches.
Laughter yoga benefits #5: A good way to control your breath
Breathing in a correct important is very important for our health. Many people, however, are shallow breathers or breathe deeply. So how does laughing help to deal with this? Laughing helps people take in more air and activate the lungs completely.
Laughter therapy can immensely benefit singers and actors. It increases lung capacity and exercises the diaphragm and abdominal muscles, which result in better speech and vocal cord control.
Singers will tell you how important breath control is. Moreover, even actors must know breath control for efficient dialogue delivery. Laughter also enhances self-confidence and helps overcome stage fear by relaxing the body.
Laughter yoga benefits #6: An effective exercise for facial muscles
Exercise has been designed for all the muscles of the body. But for the facial muscles, no exercises exist except those for laughter yoga. Laughter is an excellent exercise for facial muscles. It tones the muscles of the face and improves facial expressions.
Laughter also increases blood supply to the face, which nourishes the facial skin and makes it glow. Laughing makes people look more cheerful and attractive. Laughter exercises the facial muscles and makes one appear young and healthy.
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