Can you laugh your way to health? Common wisdom has always said that laughter is the best medicine and in fact scientific studies have found that laughter helps boost immunity, promotes a healthier heart and contributes to better mental health by reducing stress and anxiety. And the best part? Even deliberate laughter has amazing benefits!
Physician Madan Kataria, author of ‘Laugh for No Reason’ and founder of Laughter Clubs International, developed Hasya Yoga or Laughter Yoga as a technique that involves controlled breathing and forced laughter. Kataria began practicing his therapy with small groups of people in parks around Bombay, India. The therapy caught on fast and even spread internationally with there being over 400 laughter clubs in the US alone.
Laughter yoga is a cardiovascular exercise especially beneficial for regulating blood pressure, strengthening abdominal muscles and the digestive system and improving lung capacity. It also enables the practitioner to have a more positive outlook on life.(1)
According to Kataria, laughter yoga involves 4 steps:
- Breathing exercises (pranayama)
- Childlike playfulness
- Laughter exercises
The laughter exercises have names like ‘Greeting laughter’, ‘Milkshake laughter’ and ‘Argument laughter’ which may already prompt some giggles in you. While laughing for no reason may seem strange at first, as we all know, laughter is infectious and you may soon find that you are enjoying it, especially in the social setting of a laughter club.
In the video below, Kataria demonstrates a number of laughter yoga exercises. So why not give it a try? Just for a laugh?
(1) https://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/what-s-so-funnyTo receive newsletters sign-up here. ॐ
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