About Laughter Yoga
"I don't laugh because I'm happy...I'm happy because I laugh"
What is Laughter Yoga?
Laughter Yoga is all about laughing for no reason, without relying on comedy or jokes, forgetting all logical thinking and rational thought and laughing purely as a form of exercise for the body and mind.
Laughter exercises are childlike and playful, and when practised in a group with eye contact, soon turns into real and contagious laughter! It has been scientifically proven that your body does not know the difference between real and fake laughter, our motto in laughter clubs is, 'Fake it, until you make it!' Our bodies don't know either way so we still get the health benefits.
The laughter is balanced out with plenty of deep breathing, going with the age old yogic wisdom of prolonged exhalation increasing the intake of oxygen to the body and brain. We are giving our bodies a great internal workout and having great fun whilst doing so.
The more you practise laughter, the more you laugh in everyday life, it helps us develop a more playful mental attitude, and not take life so seriously! Laughter Yoga is fun and easy - there are no postures or skills to learn , no special clothes or equipment required. Just an open mind and a childlike willingness to play...
"Laughter is the Best Medicine"
Why practise Laughter?
- It is great for the immune system, there is an increase in anti-viral and anti-infection cells; research has shown a decrease in the frequency of coughs and colds when laughter is practised daily.
- It is great for helping to develop a playful mental attitude towards life, the more we practise laughter, we more we laugh in everyday life. Laughter can be used to help the body cope with stressful situations.
- It is a fantastic work out for the mid body, focussing on the movement of the diaphragm and abdominal area which through laughing massages our internal organs increasing circulation and aiding digestion,
- Laughter helps with stress by reducing the number of stress related hormones and helps to build a resistance to stress. Laughter dilates the blood vessels, lowering blood pressure. Serotonin levels increase which is our bodies natural anti depressant. Endorphins are released in the brain (our happy hormones) which bring about a positive state of mind, boosting optimism and increasing feelings of self worth. And this all happens whether the laughter is real or fake!
- Laughter can reduce blood pressure, help with anxiety, tension, nerves and also great for dropping inhibitions and building self confidence. It allows us to express ourselves more clearly and can bring clarity to the body and mind.
"We don't stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing"
When did it all begin?
The benefits of laughter have been recognised in the Health industry for many years, mainly using some sort of stimulus - funny jokes/films or comedy, but it wasn't until 1995 that an Indian doctor - Dr Kataria came up with the theory of laughing for no reason and incorporating yogic breathing.
It has since spread worldwide with thousands of laughter clubs established in more than 65 countries. The whole world is laughing together!
On the Radio
I was interviewed recently by Radio Scotland and Radio Leith FM about my work with Laughter Yoga. You can listen to a copy of the audio recordings below.