Heard About The Healing Power of Laughter Yoga?
Recently, while watching a David Suzuki TV program exploring the healing power of happiness, I learned about a global, world wide movement known as ‘The Laughter Club’. Originating in Bombay, India, Dr. Madan Kataria, a qualified physician and author of ‘Laugh For No Reason’, has explored the physical and psychological benefits of how ‘laughter has been proven to reduce stress, pain, and depression while improving creativity, physical vitality, and a sense of well being’.
Picture a group of Bombay elders coming together in a local park to do 15-20 minutes of Laughter Yoga, involving a series of movement and breathing exercises based on Hasya Yogic practices that introduces or reintroduces the physical body to genuine laughter without jokes or humour.
Gathering in large groups, members of the Bombay Laughter Club are encouraged to make eye contact to stimulate natural laughter while doing deep breathing exercises similar to ‘Pranayam’ in Yoga to increase vital lung capacity. Add in chanting using Ho-Ho, Ha-Ha-Ha syllables which stimulates the diaphragm and abdominal muscles, stretching and waving arms freely in the air, and the odd New Zealand Maori-like pose of tongues sticking out with eyes bulging or something equally as flamboyant, and you’ve pretty much got the ingredients for contagious, spontaneous group laughter to occur. Plus with everyone participating in a playful manner, people’s inhibitions and shyness just melt away ~ How perfect is that!!
Laughter Yoga is immensely beneficial on a number of holistic healing levels, focusing on:
Encouraging people to laugh more frequently, which in turn reduces inhibitions and invites more joy and creativity to emerge. It also invites people to look for the humour in life that is not at someone else’s expense
Reducing stress and depression as more oxygen is inhaled through genuine laughter, blood flow throughout the body is increased, stress hormones are decreased, and the body begins to relax any tense muscles
Strengthening the Immune System by reducing negative emotions that weaken this System, and increasing antibody levels that protect against viruses and other physical aliments
Helping to control high blood pressure and heart disease by reducing the release of stress-related hormones while inviting relaxation
Encouraging internal, aerobic exercise as laughter stimulates heart and blood circulation can be used by anyone regardless of physical ability, and one minute of laughter is equal to ten minutes on a rowing machine!
Acting as a natural pain killer as laughter increases the levels of endorphins in our bodies
Toning facial muscles which in turn improves facial expressions, increases blood flow to the face, and helps people look younger
Instilling self confidence by removing inhibitions and inviting people to become more social and outgoing
In summary, Laughter Yoga can be done almost anywhere, by anyone, and promotes good health and deep healing on all four holistic levels: Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual.
Excerpts Taken From: What is Laughter Yoga?
Post Script: Up-Coming Laughter Yoga Opportunity
In Spring 2006 if enough interest is shown, there is a good possibility that provincial facilitators would be willing to come to Nanaimo and put on a ‘Laughter Leadership Training Workshop’. If you are interested in learning more about Laughter Yoga and/or putting your name on a potential workshop registration list, please contact Jeanie for more information.