It really feels good to laugh, but most of us don’t know that laughing wholeheartedly comes with a long list of health benefits. Studies have shown laughing relieves pain, lowers stress, and boosts our mood.
Moreover, since April is celebrated as the National Stress Awareness Month, there is no better time to talk about the amazing benefits of laughter yoga.
It is also an interesting fact that our body cannot identify the difference between spontaneous laughter or laughter that is stimulated. Even it is real laughter or fake laughter, our body still responds to that emotion by releasing endorphins, thereby lowering our stress.
Laughter Yoga: What Is It All About?
Laughter yoga is not just laughing at jokes or others; it is a type of mind/body concept which uses a combination of deep laughing, deep breathing, and exercises.
Laughter yoga is usually held in a group setting. Most cases are guided by a laughter yoga instructor who guides everyone through a set of exercises that induce forced laughing.
These forced laughter exercises encourage all people to laugh even if they are shy, introverted, or uncomfortable around others.
The best thing about laughter yoga is that it reinforces that laughter is indeed infectious; these forceful exercises in laughter yoga later turn into genuine, organic laughter during the whole process.
Origin Of Laughter Yoga
Dr. Madan Kataria, a medical doctor from India, originally came up with laughter yoga in the early 1990s. He researched the various studies that established a connection between laughter and the overall wellness of a person.
Over time, he understood that laughter was indeed the best tool to deal with the stress caused by modern life. So, he developed a set of breathing techniques and exercises into a forceful laughter session, which he coined as ‘Hasya Yoga.’
Dr. Kataria then came up with laughter yoga clubs and laughter yoga sessions with a few people who would share funny, silly jokes and laugh their hearts out. Passersby found it amusing to see a group of people laughing together and join in. Soon, they ran out of jokes. People started leaving, and that is when Dr. Kataria came up with the concept of laughter without humor.
Since then, there has been no stopping Dr. Kataria, and he took his laughter yoga to prisons, orphanages, schools, senior homes, and many other such places. Though he came up with this practice, he decided not to license the brand and only charges for teacher training services for a nominal fee.
Even most laughter yoga instructions offer training for free or at a nominal cost.
8 Amazing Benefits Of Laughter Yoga
Laughter Yoga comes with a long list of scientifically proven benefits. Some of how it benefits us include:
1. Improves Immune System
A weak and fragile system is the main reason for most of the problems caused in our body. Laughing wholeheartedly causes a rise in the flow of lymphatic fluid in our body which, in return, increases the number of lymphocytes, a type of cells that fights infection in our body. As the count of lymphocytes cell increase, our immunity also increases.
Oxygen also serves as one of the main catalysts for metabolic reactions in our body. Laughter yoga fills the lungs and fully oxygenates our blood and other organs, thus having an overall good effect on our body, making us free from many possible diseases.
Research studies have also shown that laughter improves our immune system by about 40% and positively impacts our body and mind.
2. Reduces Stress
Stress holds the top spot for most illnesses in today’s world. Especially with changing times and situations, there is hardly anyone free from stress and anxiety, and things are only getting worse day by day.
Laughter yoga serves as an instant stress buster has a positive impact on the body’s overall well-being. While practicing laughter yoga, our body releases epinephrine and dopamine, stress-busting hormones. Apart from that, this form of yoga also oxygenates our body, removes all our tensions, and has a relaxing effect on the body.
During laughter yoga, the internal worries and problems are driven out, and a new, happy mindset is instilled in people. It has a positive impact on not just our mind but also our body.
3. Lowers Blood Pressure
Studies have shown laughing your heart out every day reduces blood pressure and reduces the risk of a heart attack. Too much cholesterol in our blood can lead to toughening and thinning of arteries, leading to many vascular system problems.
Practicing laughter yoga daily opens up our arteries and leads to effective blood flow in all parts of our bodies, preventing any forms of cardiac diseases in the future.
4. Improves The Health Of The Heart
Laughing makes you happy. When you become happy, your heart also immediately becomes happy.
One of the main benefits of laughter yoga is a healthy heart. When we laugh, our blood vessels dilate, resulting in a warm feeling all over the body. The pulse rate and blood pressure of the body rise because of the stimulation of the circulatory systems.
5. Serves As A Workout
Laughter Yoga is a form of light workout that helps us burn a few calories and develop abs. When we practice laughter yoga, our yoga expands and contract muscles, similar to a normal workout. Few experts have also dubbed laughter as “Internal Jogging.”
Laughter exercises can also add be added as a part of our regular fitness regime. They are very easy, short, and can be practiced for about 10 to 15 minutes. Laughing for just a minute alone is the same as a 10-minute cardiac workout on a rowing machine.
For people with belly fat, this exercise is very effective more than other intense workouts.
6. Helps With Mental Health Problems
A huge population of the whole world suffers from mental health-related problems, and depression tops the list as the major cause. Depression affects our mind and our whole body, creating a loss of appetite, insomnia, immobility, feelings of despair, heart-related problems, and so much more.
Depressed people hardly laugh, and laughing people are hardly depressed.
Practicing laughter yoga for a few days continuously helps resolve some of these problems by boosting our heart rate, easing pain, and reducing blood pressure. Laugh wholeheartedly, even just for a few minutes, has strong healing effects on the body and mind.
It creates a positive mindset and attitude among us. Apart from this, laughing together with a group of people creates a community and fosters a feeling of trust and friendship.
7. Helps Overcome Grief
Grief is the emotion shown by our body naturally when it experiences loss. It could be any form of emotional distress such as the death of a close one, a messy breakup, loss of job, leaving home, or economic problems which could cause pain or grief.
Laughter Yoga is one of the best methods to deal with the anguish or sadness in our hearts. It connects us with people, helps to release our emotions, and reduces pain.
Apart from grief and pain, this practice also greatly helps with anger management issues. It helps to release the positive hormones and calms down the negative reactions of the body.
8. Improves Sleep
Laughter yoga improves our life’s overall quality and aids in our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. It instills a positive outlook towards life and helps us get a peaceful sleep, which is the main source of many problems like blood pressure, heart problems, insomnia and so much more.
Read more about the other benefits of laughter yoga
Best Laughter Exercises For You:
Laughter exercises are easy, funny, and silly, and they must be practiced like a playful young child with an innocent heart. Some of the most effective laughter exercises practiced everywhere include:
1.Namaste Laughter Exercise
This exercise involves folding both the palms of your hands in front of your heart and then laughing at the other people while maintaining eye contact.
2.Handshake Laughter Exercise
As the name suggests, this exercise involves shaking hands with other people and laughing your heart out.
3.Cellphone Laughter exercise
This exercise involves holding an imaginary phone near your near and laughing at what you hear.
4.Bird Laughter Exercise
This exercise requires you to extend your arms like a bird, flap your wings and move around like a bird in all directions while laughing.
5.Argument Laughter Exercise
In this exercise, you need to pretend like you are arguing with others by pointing your fingers at each other, all while looking into the eyes of each other.
Read more about the different laughter exercises.
Over the years, the popularity of laughter yoga has soared as this practice comes with an added advantage of absolutely no disadvantages.
For any normal person, laughing is the way to reconnect with their inner child, and we really need laughter to get through this crazy thing called life.
Laughter yoga will definitely be a life-changing experience when practiced regularly and comes with a long list of scientifically proven benefits. So laugh your heart out and live longer!
Any information found on the site does not constitute legal or medical advice. Should you face health issues, please visit your doctor to get yourself diagnosed. Icy Health offers expert opinions and advice for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice.