What is Laughter Yoga?
Laughter Yoga is a process that allows us to laugh, without the use of jokes, comedy or humor. It is a body-mind practice that involves rhythmic clapping, deep breathing exercises and laughter exercises.
The History of Laughter Yoga
Laughter Yoga was created by Dr Madan Kataria, a Medical Doctor from India. He was researching the topic ‘Laughter is the Best Medicine’ and decided to put the idea into practice. The first laughter club took place in a Mumbai park on the 13th of March, 1995. It involved 5 members, including Dr Madan Kataria and his wife Madhuri Kataria, a yoga teacher, who incorporated yogic breathing into the process. Laughter yoga is now practiced around the world.
Benefits of Laughter Yoga
- Reduces Stress – Laughter and deep breathing exercises lower cortisol ‘stress hormone’ levels in the body. They activate the body’s parasympathetic nervous system, making us feel calmer and more relaxed. We can’t feel stressed whilst we’re laughing.
- Boosts Mood – Laughter releases endorphins, which are natural feel-good hormones and natural pain killers.
- Strengthens the Immune System – Laughter and diaphragmatic breathing boost the lymphatic system, an important part of the immune system and produce more immune cells, maintaining the health and wellbeing of the body.
- Enhances Relationships – Laughter creates positive energy in the body, which makes us feel good. When we feel good, it can be felt by the people around us. It has a ripple effect. Smiles and genuine laughter signal safety and wellbeing and can make people feel comfortable and more relaxed. This creates more positive environments. People bond through the display of positive emotions.
Laughter has many benefits and is too important to leave to chance. In a laughter yoga session, we choose to laugh, because we can. Simulating laughter leads to stimulating the feel good chemistry that comes with it and often leads to genuine, contagious laughter.