After a very rough week with multiple tooth extractions, a root canal, and numerous emotional issues that arose from nowhere, I found myself in need of something to pick my spirits up. My physical activity has been down; no mountain hikes, no long bike rides…sadly even walking jars my mouth too much. Am I whining…? Six days of fasting on fruit juice and barley green tea has certainly helped, but I needed more. It turns out ‘they’ may be right…Laughter really is the best medicine.
The first formal Laughter Club meeting took place in a park in Mumbai on March 13, 1995. The brainchild of Dr. Madan Kataria, laughter groups have been around in India for so many years that no one can pinpoint the exact time they began. Today, there are over six thousand laughter clubs in over sixty countries.
Hee Hee Hee!
Laughter Yoga is based on the scientific concept that the human body cannot differentiate between real laughter and fake laughter – the results on our body and our state of mind are virtually the same. Combined with Pranayama (Yogic breathing, for those who may be unfamiliar with the term), laughter is first simulated as a physical exercise in a group setting with playfulness and eye contact. Very quickly, the laughter becomes genuine and spreads through everyone who is present.
Throughout India and many other countries, thousands of Laughter Yoga clubs meet in public parks every morning to share in the benefits of Laughter Yoga. Enthusiasts say that Laughter Yoga makes them feel happy, healthy and energetic. Through practicing Laughter Yoga daily, positive energy is created making it easier to cope with the stresses of daily life – many in fact have ceased the need for anti-depressant medications simply by making this practice part of their morning routine.
Laughter as natural medicine
Through laughter, common infections that gnaw away at our state of health and well-being such as colds and flu are reduced, and chronic medical problems are often cured if not relieved. Clinical research shows that laughter lowers stress hormone production in the blood and fosters a positive mental outlook making one less likely to fall victim to depression or feelings of helplessness. Further research has revealed that laughter can help resolve workplace issues, improve memory and performance, as well as productivity in any task.
In Canada and abroad, Laughter Yoga has demonstrated itself to be an ideal exercise routine for seniors and those with compromised cognitive abilities. As humour is not required to stimulate the laughter, it transcends mental states and levels of awareness and allows laughter to occur in a child-like state – free of language barriers or need for conscious understanding.
Laughter Yoga moves past language, creed, color and race. I love the concept! It is often laughter that is the first to go when we experience stress or difficulties in our lives. We were given the gift of laughter as a self healing method to lift our spirits and renew our hopes, and best of all, no prescription required!
For more information about Laughter Yoga, you may visit their website at http://www.laughteryoga.org. Article cover image copy the same.
And now…a few yoga jokes to get you started chuckling!
What did the yogi say to the hotdog vendor?
Make me one with everything! (veggie dog, of course!)
Time is the best teacher…although it kills students
How many Yogis does it take to change a light bulb?
And my favourite joke of all…When Mahatma Gandhi was asked about what he thought of Western civilization, his answer was “I think it would be a good idea.” Priceless! J