My CHOOSEday online laughter club is available on zoom at 12:30pm (UK time) every Tuesday. We CHOOSE to laugh instead of being stressed. This zoom session gives people from around the world, the opportunity to laugh with me as an exercise programme, ha ha!
Laughter Yoga is a combination of deep yogic breathing and stretching, plus volunteered laughter and playful exercises. Laughter Yoga was created by a medical doctor, Dr Madan Kataria, in Mumbai 1995.
Dr Kataria discovered that laughter based on comedy or jokes, was short-lived. Also, humour is often interpreted culturally and so not all topics are amusing to all nationalities. Laughter itself is universal. Based on numerous scientific papers, he knew there were several health benefits to laughter, and he wanted to get people laughing every day as part of a healthy régime. Dr Kataria started with a group of five people laughing every day in a park in Mumbai and now there are 110 countries with laughter clubs (the number is growing all the time). Even more scientific studies have been conducted, conclusively verifying the physiological and psychological health benefits of laughter.
As adults we laugh much less than children who laugh and play for hours—even if they live in stressful environments. In society, polite laughter is moderated in volume and expression and only lasts from three to five seconds. Many people report going for days, weeks, months—even years without laughing.
You’ve heard the adage; prevention is better the cure and you’ve probably found it resonates in your life. Since stress is a factor in most illnesses, being able to manage or even prevent stress is essential for our wellbeing. Laughter can diffuse tension in the moment, but it can also prevent us from being so easily triggered. The mind likes the familiar and avoids the unfamiliar. By making laughter more familiar, we can tap into our innate ability to laugh despite difficult situations.
Laughter is even more powerful than just a de-stressing technique— it can actually boost confidence, resilience, and immunity. Through deep, belly laughing, we can clear the lungs of stale air and draw in more oxygen to power the brain and the muscles. Making laughter unconditional means that we can start laughing for no reason at all. Try it right now, as you’re reading this. Take in a deep breath, hold it, hold it and now say, “Ha ha ha ha ha ha,” repeatedly. Somewhere along the line, you might move from the volunteered, “Ha ha,” to a spontaneous, “HA HA HA,” where the genuine laughter springs to life. Simulated laughter is better for us since it’s possible to sustain the laughter with certain techniques like laughter exercises. The body and the brain don’t the difference between volunteered laughter and spontaneous laughter, and you get to enjoy the benefits of an increase in dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins.
I often say I have the best job in the world to teach Laughter Yoga. I have so much fun leading laughter exercises but so do those participating. We also benefit from increased blood circulation and lowered blood pressure—plus it just feels good to laugh, to connect with others and to share the experience! Yes, there is always some mental resistance at first, the reluctance to make a fool of ourselves is a strong force that often restricts us from trying new stuff. I interact a lot with people on my zoom sessions and was surprised to hear from one of my participants, “I’m writing a paper on molecular biology in one hour”. We all did some fun exercises related to recall and brain power and telling those molecules who was boss. It was a fun session, and she wrote to me afterwards saying she got awesome results as well as feeling super-calm before the exam. Laughing it off before her exam, gave her a mental break from preparing. She could increase the oxygen to her brain and the grounding meditation at the end of all the laughter, enabled her to feel relaxed and confident to do her best. Join my next class to experience the happy hormones created through laugher.
Meeting I.D.: 93950205071