We can all do with a little more laughter in our lives. Do you remember the days before you hit adulthood with full force?
Back in the days when stress was just a word that you heard your parents say, and your biggest responsibilities were to make sure your school homework was done.
Back when adulthood sounded like freedom rather than a never-ending list of things to do?
You probably laughed all the time then, right? Children find fun in the strangest of places, our spirit, imagination, and innocence during our formative years are unmatched.
And, ultimately, we were probably much happier then than we are right now.
Well, as the saying goes, laughter is the best medicine. So, it’s unsurprising that laughter yoga has become so popular amongst us busy and stressed-out adults.
This relaxation technique has an emphasis on not only movement and breathing that will keep you clear-minded and calm, but also on cultivating joy and happiness.
And, as the other saying goes, laughter is contagious. Which is probably why this form of yoga has transformed from just a small group in Mumbai, India into more than 5,000 laughing yoga clubs across the globe.
If you’d like to learn more about laughing yoga, and unleashing your happy-go-lucky inner child spirit, you’ll want to keep on reading.
What Actually Is Laughter Yoga?
As the name suggests, laughter yoga is a form of yoga where participants will deliberately laugh as they go through a selection of breathing and movement exercises.
Many individuals believe that stimulated laughter has a ton of amazing benefits that are actually equal to spontaneous and unforced laughter.
The practice is meant to be quite the remedy for a whole host of different physical, psychological, and spiritual ailments and illnesses.
This practice dates back to 1995 when Dr. Madan Kataria, a Mumbai physician discovered it.
Laughter yoga, according to Madan Kataria, helps to lift the mood of the participating individual as well as reduce stress, increase your energy, strengthen your immune system, and more.
He also is a firm believer that laughter can bring an individual much optimism and positivity, and since there won’t always be cues to make you laugh when you’re feeling down, mastering the ability to laugh on cue can be a very vital tool to survival.
Plus, considering this laughter is used alongside yoga which is a practice already known for decreasing stress, clearing your mind, and making you feel more energetic and rejuvenated, the two techniques combined are sure to have you bounding around with positive energy for hours.
How Do You Practice Laughter Yoga?
Okay, so now that we are a little more clued in as to what laughter yoga is and what its main aims and goals are, you might be interested in giving it a go.
As you should! But, you might be a little stumped as to how to go about it.
Well, that’s what we’re here for.
Usually, if you want to start practising laughter yoga, you’ll need to find yourself a club or workshop that is taught by a qualified instructor. They’ll then walk you through all the exercises and movements that are beneficial.
In terms of what you can expect to happen at these clubs, well, it involves a lot of specific breathing techniques, along with some chanting and clapping, and similar exercises to get you nice and relaxed.
The important thing to remember about laughter yoga is to leave all reservations, judgments, and embarrassment at the door.
Sure, it may seem a little foolish, silly, or uncomfortable to begin with but you are in it together as a collective, and you’ll feel a lot better for it afterward.
It’s almost cathartic to be able to go against the norms of society and unleash your inner child.
Don’t take anything too seriously, the whole point of laughter yoga is to get involved in a few gentle and calming activities that encourage you to laugh and let loose.
It’s meant to be fun, and it will be as long as you get involved with an open mind.
Does It Even Work?
The next question you might have is, does this type of yoga actually work? Does it do the things it claims to do? And the answer is yes!
When you laugh, your body releases endorphins and hormones such as dopamine and serotonin and these are known for making you feel happier.
Not only this but laughter has been linked to suppressing hormones such as cortisol which create stress.
You can also expect to find yourself in a better mood, in less pain, lowered rates of depression, lowered blood pressure, and a stronger immune system.
And when you laugh in a group setting, it also helps to strengthen your relationships, increase your ability to bond, and your social connectedness.
There are even links between laughter and relaxation, a sense of security, and a feeling of safety.
The best part about this forced laughter and yoga combination is that studies show that your body can’t actually tell the difference between real and fake laughter.
So, whether you laugh deliberately or not, you still get all those added benefits.
However, it is worth considering that these studies have only been used on small sample sizes and some argue that for these benefits to be truly proven there needs to be work done on much larger scales.
I think we can all agree that everybody needs a little more laughter and a little less stress in their lives. So, really, there isn’t a better option than attending a laughter yoga class.
The whole experience is based around enjoyment and letting go – something that we often don’t have a lot of time to do.
And there seem to be plenty of benefits from giving it a go. So, we’d definitely recommend signing up for a laughter yoga class and unleashing that inner child inside of you who is dying to be let out.
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