Laughing is a non-verbal expression of understanding
and laughing at aging is, in a sense, the very same.
Laughing at Aging
If humans really were rational animals, we would be laughing at aging, together.
In simplest terms, laughing at aging involves people sharing child-like exercises and eye contact, fake laughing until contagion and brain chemicals combine to inspire spontaneous laughter. This is the technique of laughter yoga, recommended for health and wellness by, among others, the Mayo Clinic.
In larger terms, laughing at aging is a viewpoint that recognizes humans may age consciously, and that laughter and numerous other techniques empower us to enjoy wellness as our bodies mature. Science now shows manifold ways we can keep both body and mind at a high level if we remain active, physically, socially, intellectually and spiritually. Laughing is a way to do all of these simultaneously. Laughing at aging is an attitude, that combines knowledge and willingness to explore conscious aging, fomenting wellness, wisdom and happiness.
From left to right Jim Gordon, laughter yoga instructor Vishwa Prakash and Dr. Madan Kataria, originator of Laughter Yoga
Laughter Yoga is an elixir for modern life.
On the Mayo Clinic’s website they have a healthy lifestyle section that lists laughter’s short term effects; activating hearts and lungs, stress reduction, and lowering blood pressure. Longer term, it states laughter also reduces pain and enhances well-being. “Consider trying laughter yoga,” the Clinic’s website advises. “In laughter yoga, people practice laughter as a group. Laughter is forced at first, but it can soon turn into spontaneous laughter.”
The most famous proponent is Dr. Madan Kataria, the cardiologist from India who invented laughter yoga in 1995, when he was seeking ways to help his heart patients exercise safely.
Dr. Kataria is not the only medical man lauding laughing, though terminology may notably differ, (another example of language diverging from laughing), Western researchers are also extolling laughing.
Dr. Lee Berk of Loma Linda University has done studies showing “repetitive mirthful laughter,” (Laughercise©) causes the body to respond in a way similar to moderate physical exercise. Berk finds laughter enhances one’s mood, decreases stress hormones, enhances immune activity, lowers bad cholesterol and systolic blood pressure, and raises good cholesterol (HDL).
The techniques of laughter yoga effectively evoke “repetitive mirthful laughter.” It’s a simple combination of brain chemistry and group dynamics. No equipment needed, just willingness to laugh purposely, which results in laughing spontaneously.
Laughter yoga is a form of laugh therapy. This increasingly influential idea derives from the normal benefits of laughter, combined with intent to reap those benefits. There are three major types of laughter. Intentional laughter is most common, which Dr. Robert Provine found we use for interpersonal communication. There is also familiar spontaneous laughter, that erupts from the mirth connected to a funny insight or joke. Finally, there is purposeful laughter, laughing intentionally to promote well being and feel better. It works because the brain releases dopamine, endorphins and serotonin, whatever laughter issues forth.
Laughter yoga works by combining childlike exercises that work the body with breathing and imagination, right-minded laughers look each other in the eye, share smiles and intentionally laugh. These stimulants spur brain chemistry, and those effects multiply in group settings, causing spontaneous laughter.
For more information, click on ‘about us’ and then laughter yoga. Enjoy
"You don't stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing"
George Bernard Shaw
"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
Laughing at aging is understanding people are able to age well.
There is a growing trend toward conscious aging , empowering ourselves to live fully even as we age. Psychology, neurology, and gerontology are giving new meaning to the term "growing" older.
Ways of aging well abound.Growing interest in laughing coincides with a new awareness of human resiliency, of brain plasticity and wide spread prospects for living healthier far longer into the human life course. Aging may be cultivated as the culmination of a fantastic voyage, using methods ranging from tai chi and yoga to learning languages and taking up new games.
Laughing is a modern shortcut to mind and body health, reducing blood pressure, improving cardiac performance, boosting the immune system... and ultimately even producing gamma brain waves of the sort produced by monks in deep meditative states. In short if humans were rational animals, they would be laughing at aging.
April 13 2019-The Yoga House
57 Crown Street, Kingston, NY
2pm-3pm-$16-Laughter yoga class,Joy in the Moment
"The central message is that the aging process is, in part, a social construct."
Dr. Rebecca Levy - Yale School of Public Health