Laughter is the best medicine, thus goes the age old adage. Right from the Zen monks of yore to the modern medical practioners, it is commonly accepted that belly laughter is what it takes to drive away most of your blues.
Origins of Laughter Yoga
The modern day laughter yoga was developed by Dr. Madan Kataria, the Mumbai doctor who hit on the idea of a laughter club, after being impressed by the physiological and mental benefits of laughter. The first laughter club was formed in early 1995 in Mumbai with just five people onboard. Also known as laughter therapy, the present day laughter yoga can be considered as a blend of pranayama and laughter.
Laughter yoga is based on the fact that our body is unable to distinguish between real and stimulated laughter and hence, both kinds of laughter are beneficial to the body.
Here are some simple laughter techniques which you can do all by yourself.
- Inhale for a couple of seconds, hold your breath and exhale. Repeat this twice. Then continue with your inhalation, but as you exhale, say ‘Hahaha’. Continue this exercise till you’re comfortable.
- Imagine that everything you touch gives you an electric shock. Touch an object and remove your hands saying ‘aeee’, as if you got an electric shock.
- Take your phone and walk inside your room. Pretend that you’re talking over the phone. But, instead of talking, say ‘Ha Ha Ha’
Benefits of laughter
An International research team, led by the University of Oxford, found out that the physical exertion which accompanies laughter makes the brain trigger endorphins, which in turn, promotes happiness and manage pain.
Laughter yoga helps
- Improve moods
- Beat stress, anxiety and depression
- Strengthens immune system
- Decreases pain
- Relaxes muscles
- Protect against cardiovascular ailments