You’ve no doubt heard the term “Laughter is the best medicine”. Well, combine that with the health benefits of yoga and you’ve got one very powerful form of yoga – laughter yoga. This new take on an old practice combines laughter exercises with gentle yoga breathing techniques, and practitioners claim that it can ease stress, enhance immunity and just make you feel good.
The practice of laughter yoga combines the pranayama exercises of yoga with the rapid diaphragmatic contractions of stimulated laughter. This is said to provide the benefit of a genuine belly laugh. And though the laughter is stimulated, it still has the same benefits of real laughter, namely that it can lower stress, relieve tension and elevate the mood. Furthermore, it can lead to real laughter. By combining laughter with yoga, this exercise flushes the lungs, and in turn the bloodstream and entire body, with fresh oxygen while also strengthening the immune system. Laughter yoga also increases “happy” chemistry. You need not be happy when practicing laughter yoga because going through the motions of happiness creates the chemistry of happiness.
Laughter yoga is intended as a group practice and is appropriate for just about anyone. It is being practiced across the country and around the world, and there may very well be a class near you. There’s even an Annual Laughter Yoga Conference which is in its third year, as well as Laughter Yoga workshops. While some find the practice a bit awkward at first, by the end of a class most are amazed by how great they feel and how enjoyable the experience is.