Laughter Yoga

Laughter Yoga

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Laughter, Lifestyle, Health

“With the fearful strain that is on me night and day, if I did not laugh I should die.”

-Abraham Lincoln

It is a well-known fact that laughter has healing properties! Laughter Yoga is the secret to health, happiness and looking years younger. It has the power to prevent diseases besides has tremendous benefits on your physical and mental well-being.

This form of laughing gives a host of physiological benefits, from lowered levels of cortisol and epinephrine, hormones linked to stress or depression. Low stress levels leads to body’s defenses against colds or infections with better ability to withstand bacterial attacks. Laughter exercises get people to laugh for no reason, combined with simple yoga breathing techniques and laughter meditation is the essence of this form of yoga. Well, the dilemma most people face is how to laugh when nothing’s funny or laugh-worthy? This therapy is as easy as opening your mouth into a wide smile and force the breath out, clapping and chanting, a few deep breaths alongside prolonged exhalation. Not to forget, lifting your arms in the air, helps lift your mood, it can also trigger happy memories or thoughts.

Ten minutes of genuine belly laughter can have a sedating effect and would give a few hours of stress-free sleep. Hence, try a few of these laughter therapies with your kith n kin.

  • Warm-ups: Start by clapping rhythmically and chant, “Ho, ho, ha, ha, ha” a couple of times. Take a deep breath, fill your lungs with air and release with a big laugh.
  • Greet Laughter: Walk to people with your hands pressed together at the upper chest in the Namaste greeting, shake hands, laugh, look into other people’s eyes while you are at it.
  • Lion-like laughter: Push out the tongue, widen the eyes, and stretch your hands out much like claws laughing along.
  • Hearty Laughter: Move close to a person and hold each other’s hands and laugh.
  • Silent Laughter: Open your mouth and laugh sans sound.
  • Humming Laughter: Laugh with the mouth closed and hum.

Yoga & Wellness Expert Mansi Mahajan, from House Of Kapaali says, “Powerful words by Abraham Lincoln, for he understood fully well how bland a life without copious amounts of laughter perhaps may be. Laughter helps to oxygenate the body, by extending the exhalation and removing the residual air from the lungs hence triggering a cheerful mood. Laughter has cathartic effect on the body, releasing pent up emotions.

Laughter Yoga is a technique where laughter is used as therapy and combined with deep yogic breathing that act as an antidote for stress and boost immunity. It has been scientifically proven that laughter yoga improves stress levels and helps us to cope with daily life as well as improves relationships, business and overall wellness. What begins as simulated laughter soon turns into real, contagious laughter, which lifts our spirits, and mood. The basic premise being, “fake it till you make it”, since the body cannot distinguish between real and fake laughter.”

“One of the most joyful sounds we humans make is laughter. Laughter links us, connects us, heals us. Laughter reaches beyond perceived barriers of age, race, gender, culture and language. Laughter Yoga is a worldwide movement that promotes health and peace through laughter. “, says a renowned laughter yoga therapist, Robert Rivest. Mansi says, “There is wide acceptance of laughter therapy even from the medical fraternity. When we laugh, endorphins are released, making us feel better and even contributing to a positive shift in perspective. Socially as well, laughing together, bonds are made stronger that eventually act as a buffer against disappointments and stress. By being more spontaneous and incorporating laughter into our lives, we can raise our vibration, and be happier individuals. We have begun to take ourselves too seriously, dramatizing our lives, exaggerating problems, being trigger-happy, this in the long term is detrimental to our emotional well-being. With the help of ten minutes of Laughter Yoga daily, we can witness a sea change in our attitudes and perspective.’

Mansi gives us a few techniques of Laughter Yoga:

Body Scan Laughter

As you begin to laugh, let the laughter pervade through every part of your body, starting from the top of your head, your eyes, nose, cheeks through your neck and shoulders, arms, midriff, gut, down to your hips, legs and little toes. Let it burst through every muscle and cell in your body.

Breathe Holding Technique

Take a deep breath, raising your arms over your head; continue to hold your breath while extending your spine backwards. When you can almost not hold the breath any longer, burst into laughter. Practicing this overtime will create it into a reflex, where the brain learns a new connection of associating breathing, stretching and holding the breath with laughter.

It is essential to keep a few key points in mind while practicing the above:

  • Raise your arms above your head; this posture creates a happy body-mind link. It is a universal portrayal of a happy disposition; hence practicing this releases the endorphins and assists in the laughter therapy.
  • It also helps to keep the chin up, which straightens the midriff, hence creating space in the respiratory track. To clear out the residual air, it is good to keep laughing till you are out of breath. By breathing deeply, the oxygen flow into the system increases helping in the overall wellbeing and perkiness of the mood.
  • A little bit of laughter goes a long way, whether its deep belly laughter or just a giggle, be sure to incorporate laughter therapy in your day to regulate your metabolism, ensure a healthy heart, boosted immunity, and a long laughter instilled life!”

Embrace laughter or join laughter clubs for increased levels of energy and improved emotional state!

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