LAUGHTER YOGA IN A NUTSHELL
Laughter Yoga is a breakthrough technology created in 1995 by a medical doctor from Mumbai, India Dr. Madan Kataria. It started as a social club but today there are thousands of laughter clubs around the world. A rapidly growing global phenomenon, Laughter Yoga is now being practiced in companies, old age homes, schools, colleges, fitness centers, community centers, prisons, hospitals, homes for the physically and mentally challenged and cancer self-help groups. It is one of the best alternative health therapies for complete body-mind wellness and a complete package for physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being of an individual.
Laughter Yoga is a unique concept where anyone can laugh for no reason, without relying on humor, jokes or comedy. We initiate laughter as an exercise in a group, but with eye contact and childlike playfulness, it soon turns into real and contagious laughter.
The reason we call it Laughter Yoga is because it combines laughter exercises with yoga breathing. This brings more oxygen to the body and the brain which makes one 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. One gets the same physiological and psychological benefits.
In order to get scientifically proven health benefits of laughter, we need to laugh continuously for at least for 10 to 15 minutes. Since in Laughter Yoga we do laughter as an exercise, we can prolong our laughter as long as we want. Such laughter brings measurable physiological changes like oxygen levels in the blood, muscle relaxation, blood circulation and release of certain hormones in the body
To reap the health benefits of laughter, laughter has to be deep and loud, coming from the diaphragm. It should be a belly laugh. It might not be socially acceptable to laugh loudly, but Laughter Yoga clubs provide a safe environment where one can laugh loudly and heartily without any social implication.
Natural laughter throughout our daily life depends on many reasons and conditions, but there are not many reasons which make us laugh. That means we are leaving laughter to chance. We may laugh or we may not. In contrast, in Laughter Yoga club we are not leaving laughter to chance. We are laughing intentionally with a commitment and dedication. This is a guaranteed way of getting the health benefits of laughter.
5 SECRETS OF LAUGHTER YOGA
SECRET 1: We Don’t Need Sense Of Humor to Laugh
Most people believe that one must have a sense of humor to laugh, but Laughter Yoga has proven otherwise. To develop the ability to laugh joyfully, it is important to remove all inhibitions and conditioning created by self, family, and society. Laughter Yoga facilitates this cleaning process and helps to release natural joyful laughter inside of us. The techniques are effective even for people who have lost their laughter or have absolutely no sense of humor. People often say, “I am depressed”, “I cannot laugh”, or “I don’t feel like laughing”. We tell them, “It doesn’t matter. Just bring us your willing body and we will make you laugh.” So, even if you don’t have sense of humor, don’t worry. Just join a Laughter Club and you will develop a sense of humor.
SECRET 2: Motion Creates Emotion
“How do you laugh when you’re in no mood to laugh or don’t have any reason to laugh?” The answer is – Theory of motion creates emotion. There is an inherent link between the body and mind. Whatever happens to the mind happens to the body. Therefore, if one changes the quality of thoughts, one can feel a change in body behavior. Conversely, if one can bring a change in body behavior one can experience the change in mental state. Laughter Yoga has the ability to synchronize both body and the mind, maintaining a mutual harmony.
SECRET 3: You Can Laugh Even If You Are Not Happy
There is an old saying, “If you are not happy, act like a happy person and you will become one.” There is great wisdom and science behind “acting out happiness”. Medical research shows that even if you pretend to laugh or act happy, your body produces happy chemicals. Laughter yoga emphasizes ‘fake it until you make it’, which clearly states that there is hardly any difference, between thinking about doing something, and actually doing it. Therefore, whatever may be the source of laughter; it leads to the same physiological changes occurring in the body.
SECRET 4: Cultivate Childlike Playfulness
Laughter is not about laughing. It is actually about cultivating childlike playfulness. Once you learn to play, you don’t have to laugh. Laughter will be the natural outcome of your playful inner child. Though laughing in a group provides a stimulus, a childlike behavior by adults helps them to get over their inhibitions and actually loosen up. Therefore, we incorporate a lot of childlike actions in the laughter clubs like producing funny sounds by swiveling the tongue inside the mouth, tapping air-filled cheeks, laughing like a child and talking Gibberish. We keep reminding our members about the importance of being like a child.
SECRET 5: You Can Train Your Body and Mind to Laugh
Our body and mind can be trained to laugh at will. By repeating any bodily behavior over a period of time, the mind begins to generate a predictable response. Thus, by doing laughter exercises on a regular basis, people become conditioned to be joyful. With Laughter Yoga, the brain develops new neuronal connections that produce happy chemistry in the body. These reactions can be triggered simply by laughter exercises, and doing certain actions of the body, which lead the mind to experience the emotion of joy.