Laughing Yoga is a combination of laughing and yoga breathing. In fact, the word “yoga” means union, as in the integration of body and mind. Laughing (or Laughter) Yoga is a fairly new concept based on the idea that laughter is beneficial to your health and that anyone can laugh without external stimulus.
It uses physical movement such as clapping and chanting, simple yoga postures like stretching, breathing exercises, voluntary laughing and positive affirmations. Performing this on a daily basis can help you boost your immune system, reduce stress, and feel more joy in your life.
So how do you laugh without hearing a joke or watching a comedy? As adults we have been trained to laugh as a conditional, mental response. In other words, we hear a joke, process it in our minds to determine if we “get” it, and then decide to laugh as a result. Children’s laughter, on the other hand, is instinctual and mostly physiological. They don’t need a carefully constructed punchline to tap into humor; kids laugh when they’re playing, and because they don’t need a reason, they laugh up to 400 times a day. Adults, on the other hand, laugh only an average of 16 times a day. The idea of Laughing Yoga, therefore, is to re-teach adults to laugh without a reason and to cultivate the playfulness of childhood again.
How has it started?
In 1995, family physician Dr. Madan Kataria knew that laughter really is the best medicine, and formed a Laughing Club of just five people to laugh for twenty minutes each day. The results were terrific and everyone felt good for the rest of the day, but after a few weeks the group’s repertoire of jokes dried up and the club was ready to disband.
Undaunted, Kataria did more research and found that the body cannot tell the difference between real laughter and fake laughter, so whether you bust a gut watching stand-up comedy or “fake it ‘til you make it” by simply saying “ha ha ha” over and over, the physiological effects are the same. So Kataria went back to the group and suggested they “act as if” – pretend to laugh. This pretend laughter quickly turned into real laughter, and then became contagious, and next thing they knew, the group was in stitches. And thus Laughing Yoga was born.
Health Benefits are obvious…
Breathing is vital to our health, not to mention our existence, and yet most people don’t breathe properly. They breathe so shallowly that carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs. But when you breathe deeply and slowly, you take in more oxygen which clears out the carbon dioxide and allows more oxygen to flow into your cells and your brain. Laughing Yoga incorporates two great ways to bring in more oxygen: yoga breathing and laughing.
Simply by doing these laughter exercises the brain will be tricked into thinking it’s happy and produce the same chemical reaction in your body that happens when you truly are happy. After a while this response will become habit and you will find yourself feeling happy more and more, regardless of your external circumstances.
Get these laughter yoga ebooks or watch this movie to find out more.