Laughter Yoga: A Preventative Medicine

I can honestly say I truly feel laughter is the best medicine. Over the past year I have been very blessed to be spending time travelling around Ireland hosting Laughter yoga workshops in a variety of different circumstances, from festivals to hospitals.I am practicing yoga teacher & holistic therapist based in Co. Wicklow. I have spent some time exploring clowning in the past and have always felt very curious about the power of laughter in one’s life and how this not only affects our own mind, body and spirit but it also affects those we spent time with.

I began welcoming laughter yoga into my yoga classes in the form of a short laughter exercise prior to relaxation .The response I embraced was very positive and inspired me to run a couple of workshops and go deeper into this practice. An Indian medical physician Dr Madan Kataria and his wife who is a Yoga teacher first introduced laughter yoga to the world as an exercise routine. Dr Kataria was inspired by the lack of smiling he witnessed in his home city of Mumbai and after deeper research into the benefits of laughter. Dr.Kataria and his wife launched the first Laughter Club at a Park on March 13, 1995, with merely a handful of persons. Today, it has become a worldwide phenomenon with more than six thousand Social Laughter Clubs in about sixty countries. Laughter Yoga combines Unconditional Laughter (laughing for no reason, humour free and playful), with Yogic Breathing (Pranayama), deep relaxation and positive visualisation and meditation. Anyone can laugh for No Reason, without relying on humour, jokes or comedy. Laughter is simulated as a body exercise in a group; with eye contact and childlike playfulness, it soon turns into real and contagious laughter. The concept of Laughter Yoga is based on a scientific fact that the body cannot differentiate between fake and real laughter. One gets the same physiological and psychological benefits.

I was truly amazed as I began to research deeper into laughter what I discovered. Here is a fun sample of just some of the many benefits of laughter:

Laughter releases endorphins; giving us the ‘feel good factor’ 
Acts as aerobic exercise and is like ‘internal jogging’
Unleashes inhibitions, breaks down barriers
Great team building tool encourages better communication
Helps boost our immune system which helps us resist disease
Tones muscles, improves respiration and circulation
Encourages positive thinking and creativity
Relaxes the whole body by reducing stress and tension

And here’s the science bit ‘Clinical research on Laughter Yoga methods, conducted at the University of Graz in Austria; Bangalore, India; and in the United States has proven that Laughter lowers the level of stress hormones (epinephrine, cortisol, etc) in the blood. It fosters a positive and hopeful attitude. It is less likely for a person to succumb to stress and feelings of depression and helplessness, if one is able to laugh away the troubles. May all beings be happy and well and feel free to laugh there way to a healthier, lighter life.

 

About the author: 

Angie Kinsella is available to run workshops nationwide. Angie also runs a weekly laughter session at No.4 whitefriars, Augier st, Dublin city centre.(few doors up from Avalon hostel, next door to St Vincent de Paul) Anyone’s welcome, no yoga experience necessary.

Email: yogaway108@gmail.com

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