Laughter Yoga started in 1995 in a Mumbai park in India, when a medical doctor – Dr Madan Kataria became interested in the power of laughter in curing illness. It started with just 5 willing participants but there are now over 1000 laughter clubs across the world. http://laughteryoga.org
Evidence has shown, that making yourself laugh provides the same physiological and psychological benefits as real laughter because “the mind does not know we’re faking it.” Laughter yoga sessions generally start with gentle warm-up techniques which include stretching, chanting, clapping, eye contact and subtle body movement to break down inhibitions and encourage childlike playfulness – something we adults don’t have enough of in my professional view. Breathing exercises are also used to prepare the lungs for laughter,
Laughing is brilliant way to strengthen our immune system, completely reverse the symptoms of depression & anxiety alongside many other health benefits. How does this happen? By bringing more oxygen to the body and brain, which in turn, enhances positive feelings and improves interpersonal skills. Just 15 minutes a day of real belly laughter is proven to be the equivalent of 100 sit ups in the gym – it’s perfectly natural, has exactly the
same effect as an anti depressant (minus the side effects of course) & costs absolutely nothing. You might wonder though, how laughter and Yoga are connected (if at all) but there is one significant link – the breath. Whilst Laughter Yoga doesn’t put much emphasis on the ‘yoga breath’ it does promote the use of breathing activities in-between laughter exercises as a way to relax the body and mind. Yoga teaches how breathing links the mind and body together which is massively important as when the breath deepens, it calms the body and slows the heart rate.
When we laugh, a chemical called Serotonin (also known as the body’s happy chemical) is quickly released into the system lifting our mood. Research on the brain has proven you cannot be physically relaxed and mentally stressed at the same time. When your body and mind are relaxed you start becoming more aware of the present/the here & now which is important because it’s the only place we can experience true happiness.