Over the past four decades, countless scientific studies have proven that laughter has a powerful and profound effect on the human body and mind. Laughter increases the supply of oxygen to body tissues, boosts immunity, relieves pain, lowers stress, and even helps protect against heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and migraines. Unfortunately, laughter has been gradually disappearing from our fast-paced modern lives, and people find it difficult to laugh amidst the endless daily stressors they face. Although various methods are available to release stress, most of them can be time-consuming and expensive. However, laughter yoga is a simple, cost-effective, and fast technique for reducing stress.
Laughter yoga combines laughter with yogic breathing called pranayama. It helps people laugh without relying on humor, jokes, or comedy. At the beginning of the practice, laughter is simulated as a physical exercise while maintaining eye contact with others in your group and endorsing childlike playfulness. Science has shown us that the body cannot differentiate between simulated and real laughter (fake it ‘till you make it!), so in most cases, this exercise leads to genuine laughter.
You may wonder why you should force yourself to laugh when other means, such as watching a comedy movie or a stand-up, can make you laugh. There are three reasons why one should practice laughter yoga:
To enjoy the health benefits of laughter, one needs to laugh for at least 10 to 15 minutes each day. In other words, it should be sustained laughter. This is because natural laughter barely lasts for more than three to four seconds at a time, which is insufficient to bring about physiological and psychological changes.
For laughter to demonstrate health benefits, it must be hearty and deep, coming from the diaphragm. In other words, it should be a belly laugh. Laughter Yoga clubs provide a safe environment where one can laugh loudly without any shame or worries.
Natural laughter may be hard to practice since laughter depends on many factors. Laughter yoga allows participants to laugh unconditionally - you do not leave laughter to chance but do it out of a commitment to enjoy its health benefits.
Laughter yoga has many benefits, such as toning your digestive system, improving your circulatory system, and strengthening your respiratory system through yogic breathing. Laughter Yoga also helps change your mood within minutes by releasing endorphins from your brain cells. Since this practice is like an aerobic exercise, it increases your heart rate and blood circulation, thereby relaxing your muscles. It’s important to remember to laugh when times are challenging. Remember, laughter is the best medicine!
Laughter Yoga by Madan Kataria (book)