At a first glance, a typical Laughter Yoga class looks a bit silly: A group of adults standing in a circle giggling, cackling uncontrollably and laughing to tears for no reason, is slightly embarrassing. You might wonder, are they sloshed? But they definitely are not. The group laugh they share is spontaneous, contagious and one hundred percent therapeutic.
Laughing your way to a healthy body and a peaceful mind is becoming an exercise trend of late. Laughter yoga has existed for more than two decades, but with an ever-increasing number of us modern humans suffering from depression, isolation, and chronic stress, it is now gaining traction.
People realize that mental health is far more important than a six-pack. Or a fit booty for that matter. Various yoga trends have popped up, from aerial yoga and hot yoga to goat and dog yoga. These are not just fitness fads, but playful ways to let go of toxic stress that is plaguing our bodies and minds. Laughter yoga is no different. It was created by a doctor in India in 1995 to help stressed people feel better.
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Laughter Yoga helps bust belly fat
For centuries we have known that laughter is the best medicine. Laughter activates the body’s natural relaxation response, and it massages our internal organs. While doing this there’s a hidden bonus: It tones our abs.
Let’s not forget that our stomachs are the place where the yuckiest type of fat is stored. This is the fat caused by the hormone cortisol, otherwise known as the stress hormone. People who are constantly wracked with stress and worry have belly fat, even if they are not considered overweight. Excessive cortisol is also known to eventually cause memory loss.
Laughter Yoga has been described as “internal jogging”. When we laugh, the muscles in our belly expand and contract, giving our abs a workout. We can burn as many as 40 calories for every 10 minutes of laughter. Other benefits of Laughter Yoga include improving our metabolism and boosting our immune system.
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Laughter Yoga this Saturday January 12th, 12pm – $10 Suggested Love Donation, Class Pass & Members welcome 🌟 Laughing Yoga is the practice of using laughter exercises and yogic breathing to foster health and happiness. Through the use of Laughter Yoga exercises we bring to life our childlike playfulness, no matter how old we are. In order to get scientifically proven health benefits of laughter, we need to laugh continuously for at least for 10 to 15 minutes. Laughter Yoga provides a fun safe environment, where we can sustain the type of laughter that enriches our mental, emotional, and physical health. 🌟 Health Benefits of Laughing Yoga: 🌟 Laughter lower your stress levels. 🌟 Laughter increases serotonin levels. 🌟 Laughter helps regulate blood sugar. 🌟 Laughter lowers blood pressure. 🌟 Laughter helps relieve pain. 🌟 Laughter improves respiratory function. 🌟 Laughter burns calories. 🌟 Laughter boosts your immune system. 🌟 Laugher provides a great abdominal workout. 🌟 Laughter decreases anxiety and fear. 🌟 Laughter eases depression. 🌟 Laughter improves your mood and enhances both emotional and physical resilience. 🌟 Beyond Health: 🌟 strengthens relationships. 🌟 Laughter is attractive and draws others to us. 🌟 Laughter promotes group bonding. 🌟 Laughter breaks down walls between people. 🌟 And… 🌟 Life is better When we laugh! 🌟 Laugh your way to health and a more joyful life ❤️ 🌟 #yoga #laughingyoga #laughter #joy #fun #happiness #highfrequencyloft #taos #NewMexico #local #lovelife #lifeisbeautiful
The goal is simple: keep breathing and be happy
Behind Laughter Yoga’s seeming frivolousness, there are thousands of years of wisdom. It is nothing but a smart and creative way to teach yogic breathing, also known as Pranayama. ‘Prana’, according to Yogi tradition, is the cosmic energy from the Universe that gives us life and vitality. When we are stressed and experience negative thoughts, our breath becomes shallow and irregular. The energy in our bodies stagnates, and we become depressed.
During a Laughter Yoga session, participants go through a series of breathing and clapping exercises. Standing all together in a circle, they are encouraged to chant, clap, laugh, dance and speak gibberish, while they maintain eye contact with one another. To warm up, participants chant “ho ho ha ha ha”, to activate the diaphragm and prepare the body to breathe deeply.
Talking and cracking jokes is actually not allowed. The purpose is to let go of your inhibitions and allow yourself to regress to a child-like state, where, like children, you aren’t embarrassed to laugh for no reason.
Fake it till you make it
The founder of Laughter Yoga, Dr. Madan Kataria believed that our bodies can’t tell the difference between real and fake laughter. After experimenting with different ways to make people laugh, he concluded that “voluntary laughter” isn’t such a bad idea. Laughter is after all contagious, so faking it isn’t counterproductive. On the contrary, the mantra “simulate laughter to stimulate laughter” works best.
The ultimate goal is to encourage people to replace stress with laughter.
“You can react from a laughter place, as opposed to a stress place. How does that sound?” Laughter Yoga Atlanta Celeste Green asks her students.
How awesome is that?
The laughter exercises are hilarious
Don’t feel bad if the following exercises make you giggle. That’s the whole point! Nervous, silly, or embarrassed, there’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ laughter. Any laughter is good!
The most popular Laughter Yoga exercises include Driving Laughter, Cell Phone Laughter, and Argument Laughter.
My personal favorite is Driving Laughter when participants pretend that they are driving a car and laugh. Because come on, let’s be honest. Don’t you sometimes feel like bursting into laughter while driving alone in your car? But then you feel totally self-conscious? This is because our culture has vilified laughter. Unless there’s someone cracking a joke, we feel embarrassed when we laugh “for no reason”.
The Cell Phone Laughter is pretending to hold an imaginary cell phone and laughing into it. You may even pass the phone to other people and share ‘the joke’ with gestures and gibberish sounds. Let’s not forget that laughter helps us to bond with others.
During Argument Laughter, participants pretend to squabble with one another. But instead of using anger and swearwords they do it with laughter.
To wrap up the session, the class gradually reduces the laughter, and participants breathe deeply and calmly. By the end of the class, everyone is in a state of meditation and tranquility.
So if you’re looking for a way to beat the Winter blues (that doesn’t involve Netflix and a bottle of wine) Laughter Yoga might be your Winter go-to wellness activity. But even if you decide that it isn’t for you, don’t forget to worry less and laugh more!