Laughter Yoga (Hasyayoga) is a form of yoga employing self-triggered laughter. The "laughter" is physical in nature, and does not necessarily involve humour or comedy. It was made popular as an exercise routine developed by Indian physician Madan Kataria. Kataria writes about the practice in his book Laugh For No Reason.Yoga arises from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’ which means to get hold of, integrate and harmonize.
Scientific research shows that the body cannot differentiate between fake and real laughter (or fake smiles and real smiles). One gets the same physiological and psychological benefits from ‘faking it’ as from doing it for real. In Laughter Yoga, the “motion” of fake laughter, creates the “emotion” of joy. Trust us, it’s true! Laughter Yoga was developed by Dr. Madan Kataria, a western trained medical doctor, in 1995. Laughter Yoga groups and classes are held in over 60 countries worldwide. Laughter Yoga has been reported in the news at CNN, Associated Press, Good Morning America, National Public Radio, ABC and Oprah, to name a few.
Some additional benefits of laughter: stress reduction, blood pressure reduction, improved breathing, increased tissue oxygenation, feel good hormone release (endorphins), improved immune function, improved circulation (blood and lymphatic), improved social interaction, increased positivity and release of blocked emotions.
Relative Contraindications/Medical Advisory:Laughter Yoga is not a substitute for medical consultation for physical or mental illnesses.***Remember that Laughter Yoga is aerobic exercise and it is not suitable for people suffering from uncontrolled high blood pressure, who are recovering from surgery, have internal bleeding, have severe heart disease, have epilepsy (or seizure disorders), have any kind of hernia, have severe backache or have psychotic disorders.***Note this list is not exhaustive.
Guidelines for Laughter Yoga: There are a few guidelines for a successful and restorative Laughter Yoga session: ·Sit comfortably within your group ·Make eye contact ·Do not try to converse, sit silently and be aware of your own breathing ·Initiate the laughter in a slow, gradual manner, and begin to follow the laughter exercises ·Accept that your laughter may be mixed with tears and emotional breakthroughs
Steps for a Laughter Yoga Session:
1. Clapping Rythmic actions that stimulate acupressure points in hands.
2. Breathing Deep breathing brings about physical and mental relaxation. The most important part of any yoga practice is the breath. Yoga (in any form) cultivates deep breathing. Deep breathing increases oxygen delivery to the body, specifically, to your cells, and aids in detoxification and stress relief. 3. Laughing Many of the Laughter Yoga exercises originated from traditional yoga poses but the possibilities of creating new variations of laughter yoga exercises is limited only by the imagination of the participants. Laughter Yoga combines breathing (pranayama – breathing with a longer exhalation) with rapid diaphragmatic contractions involved when we laugh from the belly. 4. Meditating This step is to re-ground the group from the stimulation (and internal workout) of a Laughter Yoga session.Deep breathing, humming, and spontaneous laughter is allowed as the energy of the group diminishes to a gentle lull and conclusion.