I first came across laughter yoga at a festival where people of all ages, cultures and abilities were united by an infectious laugh it was contagious so I went off to train with Lotte from United Mind and later with the founder Dr Madan Kataria MD and Madhuri Kataria.
Laughter Yoga is a unique concept where anyone can laugh for no reason without relying on humour, jokes or comedy.
Laughter is initiated in a group with eye contact and childlike playfulness.
Laughter yoga combines laughter exercises and yoga breathing. This brings more oxygen to the body and the brain which makes you feel more energetic and healthy.
The concept of laughter yoga is based on a scientific fact that the body cannot differentiate between fake and real laughter, if done with willingness. You get the same health benefits whether laughter is real or simulated. However through the exercises the laughter soon becomes real and contagious!
The health benefits :
Elevates mood laughter yoga can change your mood within minutes by releasing endorphins from your brain cells. Feel good factor.
Reduces stress and strengthens the immune system. If your immune system is strong you will not fall sick easily and if you have chronic health conditions it will help the healing process.It has been scientifically proven that laughter reduces the level of stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine and enhances positive emotions and happy hormones
Fitness, best cardio workout according to Dr William Fry 10 minutes of hearty laughter is equal to 30 minutes on the rowing machine!Research has shown that that laughter causes an internal jogging that massages and promotes circulation to the digestive and lymphatic systems. It increases circulation to flush the body and organs of waste products leaving us ready to operate at peak performance.
Communication skills , it enables people to express their emotions freely. It is non judgemental and people are free to be themselves.
Maintains emotional balance
Makes you look and feel younger, laughter is an excellent exercise for toning facial muscles and improving expressions. When you laugh the face becomes red, due to increase in blood supply, which nourishes the facial skin and makes it glow. It also adds a sparkle to the eyes by sqeezing the tear glands through laughter.
Natural pain killer, laughter yoga releases endorphins, natural opiates that are more potent than equivalent amounts of morphine
Social connector, our quality of life depends on the quality of our friends and our relationships.
Laughing through challenges, anyone can laugh when times are good, but laughter yoga teaches people to laugh unconditionally so that they can laugh even when times are hard. It provides strength in adversity, a coping mechanism to help people keep a positive mental attitude regardless of circumstance.
(this information has been taken from Dr Madan Kataria’s school of laughter yoga handbook with much gratitude)