They say that laughter is the best medicine, but did you know that it’s also a form of Yoga? Usually associated with feelings of calmness and Zen, Yoga is actually a way that we can alter our states of mind and open ourselves to feelings of energy and wellbeing.
Laughter Yoga is recognised by many as a legitimate form of meditation and has a worldwide following that’s chortling its way into the mainstream. So what is laughter Yoga exactly,how does it help, and just what is so bloomin’ funny?!
How it all started
Laughter Yoga was developed by an Indian physician by the name of Madan Kataria and was originally practiced in parks and public places. People would congregate en mass and laugh at nothing in particular which must have made for an interesting scene for passers-by. Just like laughter itself, the concept soon spread and it’s now an established form of group therapy.
Does it actually work?
We all love laughing – there’s no better feeling than the moment after a good ol’ guffaw where our eyes water and we’re out of breath. Whenever we laugh, our bodies are flooded with endorphins and feelings of wellbeing and happiness are temporarily boosted. The trick with Laughter Yoga is that our bodies can’t tell the difference between fake and real laughing, so the physiological effects happen regardless.
It’s also an effective cardiovascular exercise as our lungs are working overtime to deliver oxygen around the body in between the cackles of glee. There have been some claims that it also helps alleviate illnesses such as colds and flu, and people have reported a genuine ‘buzz’ and increased happiness after a session.
What happens during Laughter Yoga?
Anyone walking past a room where Laughter Yoga is taking place will most certainly stop and wonder what on earth is going on. Shrieks, howls, babbling and hooting will echo through the corridors as participants let go of any shyness and embrace the funny. At first, the laughter will be forced and people may feel self-conscious, but walking around, making funny faces and hearing other people’s attempts at babytalk will soon melt away inhibitions.
Exercises include talking to each other in gibberish, laughing and clapping to rhythms, giving each other silly high fives and making hilarious faces. Before long, you will be genuinely laughing at how ridiculous everything is, and feeling all the better for it. Sessions usually end with all participants lying on the floor, thinking of something that has made them laugh in the past. Like a volcano, laughter will soon erupt and the whole room will be cackling with falling, then rising intensity for minutes on end.
After all is said and done, you will genuinely feel elated and energetic, with a strange buzz from all of the endorphins in your body. We really recommend you have a go!