About Laughter Yoga

Laughter Yoga makes one feel better, anytime and anywhere one chooses to try it. From health classes to laughter clubs, from business conference ice breakers to traffic jams, laughter yoga elevates mood and sparks energy and creativity by releasing brain chemicals associated with fun.

Laughter Yoga uses ideas, eye contact and easy exercises among fellow laughers to start intentional laughter that stimulates spontaneous laughs. The heart, lungs, diaphragm and brain, the whole body and so of course the mind are all stimulated in ways certain to inspire well being.

Invented by Dr. Madan Kataria, a cardiologist in India who was researching health benefits of laughter, laughter yoga has evolved into an array of simple exercises simply by making a workout out of laughter. The key physical elements are simple, intentional laughter releases dopamine and endorphins and the action of laughing uses many key muscles, this effectively cleanses the lungs and stimulates the heart in beneficial ways.

“The endothelium is the first line in the development of atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries, so, given the results of our study, it is conceivable that laughing may be important to maintain a healthy endothelium, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease,” says principal investigator Michael Miller, M.D., director of preventive cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center and associate professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “At the very least, laughter offsets the impact of mental stress, which is harmful to the endothelium.” (University of Maryland 2012)

Laughter yoga does more than help the body. It cleanses the mind as well. One cannot laugh and think simultaneously, so laughter yoga helps quiet and soothe the mind. Laughter yoga promotes better and deeper breathing, increasing oxygen and blood flow, so laughter yoga connects one closer to prana, breathe of life. Deeper breathing may indeed lead to deeper living.

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Since everything in life is but an experience perfect in being what it is, having nothing to do with good or bad, acceptance or rejection, one may well burst out in laughter.

~ Long Chen Pa ~

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Laughing Seniors

Laughter yoga empowers aging. Laughing seniors are sage elders.

People are increasingly rejecting myths of old age as a time of decline and drugs and doctors and indeed, the facts are on their side. Science latest findings show that humans may live happily and healthily for decades after retirement, by exercising one’s body, mind and soul in active interesting ways. The regimen of drugs and doctors is not inevitable.

“The refocused research has shown that positive and negative age stereotypes held by older individuals can have beneficial and detrimental effects, respectively, on a variety of cognitive and physical outcomes…The central message of the theory, and the research supporting it, is that the aging process is, in part, a social construct.” Dr. Rebecca Levy of Yale (Levy, 2009)

The physical fun of laughter yoga, the mental exercises and social interaction inherent in the laughing class comprise a triangle of wellness. The extraordinary feeling of well being one enjoys after a laughing session is an ideal tonic for people of every age.

Laughter yoga is easy for all, even those with chairs, walkers or canes, because exercises are easy to customize. Laughter yoga is particularly fun in a mixed group of people, mobile and seated, young and old, because mobility is less important than willingness to share laughter.

And everyone likes to laugh.

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With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.

~ Shakespeare~


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Company Laughter

How does better teamwork, better chemistry and brighter ideas from happy employees sound to the bottom line? Laughter yoga is seriously effective at building workplace cohesion and productivity. Laughter yoga relieves tension in real time. Got a big meeting with a lot on the line coming up? Landed a contract that means long hours? Want to help ensure it goes well? Spur your team with a laughter yoga class, before, during or while matters are being settled, helping foster cooperation and personal alignment and improving concentration and creativity. People who laugh together work better together.

Additionally the health benefits of bi-weekly laughter yoga sessions may lower company health care costs over time. While studies are as yet few, there is already strong evidence laughter yoga promotes heart health (see above), reduces blood pressure and promotes stress reduction. It's worth a try, what have you got to lose but your frown?

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Really, for a man who had been out of practice for so many years it was a splendid laugh!

~ Charles Dickens,
A Christmas Carol~


Laughter for All

Laughter, naturally, is for everyone. Young children take naturally to laughter yoga’s childlike view of how natural it is to laugh. Laughter yoga is for children of all ages. But adults love laughter yoga too. Adults laugh more often than you might suspect, for laughter is a sort of social WD-40, lubricating our daily interaction as we move among family and friends, colleagues and strangers. One researcher found most laughter from adults is not in response to a joke, but serves as a response in given social situations. So, we all know how to laugh at need. And how often hear it said, we all need to laugh more. Laughter yoga frees us to learn to laugh for enjoyment. It is easy and fun and best of all, portable as a smile. Laughter yoga is easy to learn and easy to practice, Laughter yoga is a fun icebreaker at parties and laughter yoga is good for all.

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Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.

~ Victor Borge~


copyright Jim Gordon 2013
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