Laughter is the best medicine. How true indeed! Have you noticed how freely children laugh? Statistically, children laugh between 300 and 400 times a day, compared to adults who laugh 15 to 17 times a day.
There are over 6,000 laughter yoga clubs around the world in over 60 countries. Laughter has never been more important than it is now. Free laughter clubs aside, Laughter Yoga Therapy sessions are being conducted in companies, schools, retirement villages, community groups and elsewhere. The more people learn about laughter yoga the more it’s being used. Laughter truly is the best medicine, especially when used to uplift oneself, connecting the body, mind, emotions and spirit.
As we grow older, we become serious and lose the beneficial habit of laughing frequently. Laughter gives an immediate release of tension and uplifts the spirits.
Laughter yoga benefits
The benefits of laughter yoga are many, partly why it’s considered a form of yoga.
- It’s an aerobic exercise, where 100 laughs equal 10 minutes of rowing, giving our internal organs a massage.
- Laughter strengthens the immune system, releases feel-good endorphins and lowers blood pressure.
- Deeper breathing oxygenates the blood.
- Laughter also brings people together. It helps to open our hearts and feel connected, first with each other, then with ourselves, our body, mind, emotions and spirit.
- With regular laughter also comes the ability to renew one’s sense of humour, get in touch with the inner child and increase feelings of joy. Children have fun and we need to give ourselves permission to be silly, through which we release inhibitions and learn to laugh again.
Laughter yoga exercises
Our subconscious mind doesn’t recognize the difference between fake laughter and real belly laughter. So any kind of laughter can be used as a practical daily exercise to improve our health and well-being.
Smile and laugh – Smiling has a similar effect on the subconscious mind and body, so when you see yourself in a mirror, smile and wave. You can break into a laugh and give yourself positive affirmations or compliments, which will also increase positive feelings of self-love and self-esteem.
Traffic lights – When you miss the traffic lights while driving, point your finger at them and laugh wholeheartedly until they turn green. While making the bed or walking, consciously laugh for one full minute. When done as a full belly laugh several times a day it’s equivalent to 20 minutes of rowing.
Pretend talk – Dr Madan Kataria is the Indian medical doctor who started the Laughter Yoga movement 15 years ago. He developed a laugh which you can do in public when you feel like a good laugh and don’t want to be seen laughing alone. Simply pretend to be talking to someone on a mobile phone, laughing as if you are listening to something hilarious.
Developing a laughter practice
Choose to ground more laughter into your daily life. Make it a habit, which if repeated for 28 days becomes a set, beneficial one. Besides the fabulous experience of coming together and sharing laughter with friends, why not consciously laugh more with yourself each day? The intention of laughter is to provide health and healing benefits to your body, as well as to develop relationships through community and team building opportunities.
Laughter can also simply be an exercise in having fun by focusing on ordinary things to laugh at. Our children can assist us in this endeavour and as they become older, we can help them keep their laughter habit rather than lose the natural ability. What a precious and valuable gift to each other laughter can be.
image: laughter yoga via Shutterstock