I was listening to Radio Bristol last Saturday and John Hoare from the Bristol Laughter Club, the oldest Laughter Yoga Club outside India, was being interviewed about Laughter Yoga and inevitably there was lots of laughter!
Laughter Yoga is the brainchild of Dr Madan Kataria, a physician from Mumbai, India and was started on 13th March 1995. In the radio interview John Hoare talked about Dr Kataria visiting England and addressing the Bristol Laughter Club.
I found an article outlining Dr Dararia’s address in Bristol courtesy of Hemispere’s Magazine:
“There were around 40 invitees who joined in to do various laughter exercises with the guru himself. But, for some, this was not as easy as it seemed. Many felt they could not laugh without any reason.
However, Dr. Kataria explained the concept of Laughter Yoga and said that by faking laughter, people can trick their bodies into replicating the neurochemical and aerobic responses generated by actual laughter. Eventually, even the most stubborn and resistant gigglers succumbed, and the room descended into cheerful chaos. Now that said Dr. Kataria, wiping tears from under his specs, is happiness on demand!
This mutual exchange of merriment continued and the participants realized how laughter gives so much positive energy and even helps in lowering blood pressure and boosting the immune system. It is indeed an ideal tool for complete wellness.”
So what exactly is Laughter Yoga?
According to Wikipedia” Laughter yoga (is a practice involving prolonged voluntary laughter. Laughter yoga is based on the belief that voluntary laughter provides the same physiological and psychological benefits as spontaneous laughter. Laughter yoga is done in groups, with eye contact, jokes and playfulness between participants. Forced laughter soon turns into real and contagious laughter.”
Laughter Yoga (Hasayoga) is a combination of Laughter Exercises with Yogic Breathing (Pranayama), so that you increase the amount of oxygen in your body whilst being playful. The result is an increased feeling of wellbeing, energy and vitality. This combination of laughter and breathing actually triggers neurological and physiological changes, leading to an increased level of endorphins (the feel-good hormone) in the body so that you start to feel happier.
Laughter releases endorphins, giving us that ‘feel good factor’.
Acts as aerobic exercise and is like internal jogging.
Unleashes inhibitions, breaks down barriers.
Great team building tool and 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.
What’s so funny?
A common misconception is that we laugh because we think something is funny.
Research has estimated that only 1 in 5 laughing occasions involves any humour.
Babies laugh, yet don’t have to watch comedy first! In fact, toddlers on average laugh 300-400 times a day, whereas by the time we’re adults we’ve learned to laugh only around 15 times a day.
Some would say we’ve become more discriminating about what we laugh about as we grow up, but maybe we have forgotten how to use a truly natural and very effective healing method. [Extract from Yoga Journal 2013]
Laughter Yoga with Geri:
I consider myself blessed that there’s always so much laughter and pure joy at Yoga with Geri but we sometimes include a brief session of Laughter Yoga as a warm-up session or for some light-relief, but perhaps I should consider running a short workshop or laughter club. Please let me know your thoughts and whether you’d be interested in such an event.
Remember they say “Laughter is the best medicine.”
Geri – 21st November 2018