What is laughter yoga?
Laughter yoga is a type of yoga that involves prolonged voluntary laughter by utilising a series of guided techniques that involve eye contact and spontaneous playfulness among groups of participants. It is based on the belief that laughter can provide physiological and psychological benefits.
Laughter yoga was developed by Indian physician Madan Kataria and is founded in scientific findings that show that the human body is unable to differentiate between fake and real laughter. A person can receive the same health benefits. Research shows that laughter releases hormones called endorphins which help in lowering stress levels in the blood which results to a strong immune system, improved healing, and improved recovering from illnesses.
How to do laughter yoga
Laughter yoga can be practiced alone or together with a group of people. When practicing alone, start warm up exercises by clapping the hands. It helps stimulate the acupressure points on the hands and increase the energy level. Then, perform the lion laughter exercise which is derived from the lion posture in yoga. Another key element is stimulating deep breathing to help with the release of big belly laughs. It allows the practitioner to access deep laughs. Perform or try playful exercises that encourage joy and laughter. This exercise helps motivate the person to laugh for no reason other than bring out joy and fun. Lastly, try to perform value based exercises. These laughter exercises help the person practice laughing and deriving positive feelings from certain situations or emotions. It allows the person to confront a strong emotion and learn to laugh at it, which is about finding the joy and fun in negative emotions.
When performing in a group, the session usually starts with a greeting exercise to help everyone get used to laughing in front of each other. Next, do a hearty laughter exercise to get accustomed to deep, hearty laughter. The laughter should come straight from the heart. Then, try an argument laughter exercise to get the group to communicate through laughter. Lastly, practice the good job laughter exercise to reinforce the positive effects of the session and help the group bond with each other.
Laughter yoga benefits
Laughter yoga has several benefits which include:
- Boosts a person’s mood by releasing hormones called endorphins
- It is an aerobic exercise that helps bring more oxygen to the body and brain
- Strengthens the immune system
- Boosts healing
- Reduces stress
- Improves quality of life and relationships with other people
- Creates a positive mental state in dealing with negative people or negative situations
- Gives hope and optimism to handle difficult situations
What to expect from laughter yoga
Laughter yoga is a simple wellbeing routine that anyone of all ages can participate. This type of yoga is always started with warm up exercises to help the body get prepared for laughter. Then, the laughter workout will be carried which will alternate between laughter exercises, rhythmic clapping, and deep breathing exercises.
Laughter exercises, which are playful in nature, are designed to simulate laughter to flow from the body. Rhythmic clapping helps stimulate the acupressure points and increase energy level. Deep breathing exercises bring relaxation to the mind and body.
Laughter yoga sessions usually lasts for around 45 minutes or longer if it included a laughter meditation. Laughter meditation is inclined more into spontaneous laughter and a deeper level of laughter. During this stage, it creates an opportunity for the participant to release repressed emotions from the body to bring out a healthy, emotional catharsis.