Have you heard of Laughter Yoga before? In this week’s guest post, Noreen Braman shares with us what laughter yoga is and why it’s great for you!
Laughter: … the activity of laughing;
the manifestation of joy or mirth…
Yoga: … a course of related exercises and postures
designed to promote
physical and spiritual wellbeing…
Laughter Yoga: laughter exercises, yogic breathing,
health benefits and FUN!
A physician in India, Dr. Madan Kataria became interested in the healing properties of laughter after reading Norman Cousins’ book, “Anatomy of an Illness.” Impressed at how Cousins relieved his intense pain and broke his need for pain medications by spending time each day laughing at funny movies and shows, Dr. Kataria began exploring the benefits of laughter.
Starting with just a handful of people, Dr. Kataria created a “laughter club,” and everyone took turns telling jokes. The first day, the jokes were hilarious, the second day they were kind of funny — but Dr. Kataria quickly realized that a laughter club based on jokes could not sustain itself.
Since humor and laughter research was blossoming, Dr. Kataria soon learned that the human body will get physical and psychological benefits from laughter, regardless of whether that laughter is real, or feigned. He developed Laughter Yoga, which combines laughter exercises with yogic breathing (pranayama) and other fun activities that help participants “fake it, ’til they make it.” Laughter Yoga can enable a person to laugh continuously for 15 to 20 minutes with short breaks of Yogic Breathing.
This laughter not only improves the mood, it lowers blood pressure, provides pain relief and stimulates the immune system. One recent study even found that regular Laughter Yoga can help maintain stable levels of blood sugar. It is adaptable for groups of children or seniors, and is stress relieving in the workplace.
Typical Laughter Yoga sessions last 45 minutes to an hour. They include laughter exercises, laughter chanting and laughter meditation. Each session ends with guided relaxation that leaves participants feeling relaxed and renewed. Participants can expect to learn how to “laugh for no reason” both in a group or when alone. Local certified Laughter Leaders can be found on the website www.laughteryoga.org
Noreen Braman is a Certified Laughter Yoga Leader who helps individuals and groups “live on the smile side of life” in New Jersey. She is a member of the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor and a published author. Her most recent book, “Treading Water” is available on Amazon.com and other places. More information about her Laughter Yoga work and her books can be found at her website at: www.noreensdigitaldreams.com
Photo Credit: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net