Laughter Yoga: Yoga for every one but a must for Seniors !

BBC and Google have used it in their offices Oprah Winfrey promoted it on her show Aamir Khan loved it on Satyamev Jayate Mira Nair filmed a documentary, The Laughing Club of India, on it Laughter yoga is a revolutionary idea: simple and profound. A practice involving prolonged voluntary laughter, it is based on scientific studies that have concluded that such laughter offers the same physiological and psychological benefits as spontaneous laughter. Today, laughter yoga has become popular worldwide as a complete workout. It is practised in more than 100 countries, with as many as 2.5 lakh people laughing out loud in India alone. 

Laughter yoga is a modern twist on an ancient tradition.  It is an unconventional practice initially designed to deal with the stresses of modern living. 

Dr Madan Kataria, Founder Chairman, Laughter Yoga International. 

“I used to write articles and realized that people were in lot of stress. So I decided to do something about it. I had heard laughter i”

With the emphasis on childlike playfulness, Dr. Kataria took inspiration from his days as an amateur theater actor to develop exercises and techniques that were similar to role-play. Deepening his research, he continued to find ways to stimulate laughter and deepen its impact with deep breathing.

Benefits of Laughter Yoga the Best Medicine

A researcher at Stanford University Dr. William Fry, a called laughter ‘internal jogging.'” One of the benefits of laughter is that it can help you burn a few calories and tone your abs.  Even if you do not feel like laughing at first, laughter is contagious and when done in a group usually becomes more organic and starts to flow more freely and naturally. When you force yourself to laugh, you’ll eventually reach the point of genuine laughter because of how silly you feel.  

Hundreds and thousands have benefited by Laughter Yoga, a great therapeutic alternative that combines Laughter Exercises with Yogic Deep Breathing, for a complete workout of wellness. 

It is found that laughter yoga has the following benefits:

1.Boosts Immune System

Laughter boosts the immune system by decreasing stress hormones and increasing immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease. Laughter provides a physical and emotional release. Also, positive thoughts and feelings, such as those released with laughter have the potential to release neuropeptides (chemical signals in the brain), which help fight illness.

2. Lowers Stress

Laughter provides a full-scale workout for your muscles and releases a rush of stress-busting endorphins. Since our bodies cannot distinguish between real and fake laughter, anything that makes you giggle will have a positive impact. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your body relaxed.”

3. Relieves Pain

Laughing can release endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers, which can help ease chronic pain and make you feel good all over. Laughing, in fact, has been shown to increase the body’s natural killer cells and T-cells, which are types of cells that attack foreign material in our bodies. Laughter also keeps away negative emotions such as anxiety and depression, which tend to weaken the immune system.

4. Gives an Internal Workout

When you are laughing, the muscles in your stomach expand and contract, similar to when you intentionally exercise your abs. Meanwhile, the muscles you are not using to laugh are getting an opportunity to relax. It also works out your shoulders and exercises the diaphragm and heart. 

5. Protects Heart

Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases the flow of blood through your arteries, which can help lower blood pressure and protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems. Laughter is a great cardio workout, especially for those who are incapable of doing other physical activity due to injury or illness.

Books on Laughter Yoga 

Laughter Yoga

This comprehensive book by the founder of the laughter yoga club movement, Dr Madan Kataria, tells you what laughter yoga is, how it works, what its benefits are and how you can apply it to everyday life.

The Inner Spirit of Laughter 

At school of Laughter Yoga

Where is it done ?

The practice is done in groups, and it involves playfulness and fun between participants. Laughter is contagious and triggers the release of endorphins, which promotes an overall sense of well-being. Not only does it increase happiness, it has also been shown to strengthen the immune system, reduce pain and lower stress. 

Give It a try and we are sure you will never give it a miss !  

Laughter yoga was first started in the early ’90s by Dr. Madan Kataria, who became interested in the connection between laughter and mental and physical health. Convinced that laughter was a necessary tool for dealing with the stresses of modern living, he sought out ways to prescribe laughter to patients. Upon discovering various scientific studies that confirmed the health benefits of laughter, Dr. Kataria launched the first Laughter Club in his neighborhood in Mumbai, India. Through trial and error, he found that genuine laughter and forced laughter are actually one and the same to our body. 

Being high among strangers can be awkward enough, but being high and doing laughter yoga with strangers takes discomfort to a whole new level. As a recent guest of Ganja Goddess Getaway, a female-only cannabis retreat, I was introduced to the unconventional practice of laughter yoga for the very first time, and it was an interesting experience, to say the least. We were led by certified laughter yoga instructor Claire Powell, who guided us through a series of exercises that called for forceful laughing. Instead of poses like Downward Dog, think exercises that are more similar to what you may expect in an acting class like saying “thank you” to the person next to you while laughing.

Factors Affecting Seniors and How Laughter Yoga Helps

As the joint family structure crumbles and youngsters steer away from parents, the seniors, particularly in the India find themselves alone. They are prone to frequent bouts of depression that often leads to a debilitating condition. (Alziemer)  Apart from it, it seen found that Retirement is also one of the biggest stressors for seniors. The feeling of being ‘useless’ after retirement often leads to major depression and mental agony. Lack of importance creates frustration and many a times proves extremely detrimental to physical and mental health. Not only this Elderly people also suffer from a variety of diseases due to reduced immunity.

All These negativities can be faced with Laughter Yoga. Extended Hearty Laughter helps to reduce stress and generate a positive attitude. Laughing together in a group helps to boost self-esteem and overcome feelings of insecurity. Although not all diseases can be cured, laughter brings several positive changes. It is an instant stress buster, which helps to reduce the risk factors for cardiac diseases arising due to stress. Laughter helps to reduce blood pressure and lowers cholesterol levels. 

Laughter Yoga : A must for every parent, every senior. Here is the reason why : 

Lack of Bonding: Seniors are always in need of human contact. While most of them are surrounded by like minded peers, they still miss the bonding of a family. They need someone close with whom they can share their emotions.

Laughter Yoga sessions have the power to reach beyond the healing of laughter. The effective network of caring-sharing relationships is the key to a happy and healthy life. Relationships with people become very strong and the feeling of loneliness dissipates. Seniors enjoy the daily meetings as it generates a sense of belonging. Laughter Yoga can give seniors that much needed feeling of closeness and fraternity.

Physical immobility: Sedentary lifestyle, illness and lack of physical exercise cause stiffness of limbs and muscles, leads to immobility and pain and aches. Laughter Exercises coupled with deep diaphragmatic breathing are simple, structured and a lot of fun. They are easy, safe, and economical and provide a genuine form of physical exercise. 

Regardless of any limitations – cognitive or physical, they are appropriate for all. Extended Hearty Laughter is known to increase muscle movement, mobility and boost the immune system. It increases disease fighting cells and proteins, and triggers release of endorphins (body’s natural painkillers)

Decline of cognitive faculties: Faced with age and age-related troubles, seniors find that their physical and mental faculties decrease. With the beginning of certain diseases like Alzheimer’s and Senile Dementia, the capacity to comprehend humor declines. The degeneration of the brain cells makes it difficult for many seniors to understand and organize facts, let alone humor. Simple tasks become difficult, frustration levels rise making it harder for them to laugh.

Under such conditions Laughter Yoga is ideal for seniors to reap the scientifically proved benefits of laughter to improve their health and well-being. It helps to provide an emotional bonding and is one of the most powerful tools against depression.

Since humor is an intellectual phenomenon, seniors find it difficult to laugh without a reason. This is where Laughter Yoga helps them to be able to laugh and start living a life full of joy once again. Being a physical process, it does not require any mental abilities thus helping the older people to understand humor without using their cognitive faculties. A few hours of laughter every day will increase your memory, thinking ability and intellectual capacity.

Physical illness: Scientific studies have proven that the reason of frequent sickness is because there is a lack of oxygen in the body cells. Laughter Exercises and Deep Breathing help to attain good health by increasing the supply of oxygen. People in the Laughter Clubs with chronic pain, migraines, headaches and asthma have found attacks to become less frequent, and in some cases, to disappear completely. Many members with high blood pressure, severe spinal, neck or shoulder problems and even diabetes have found their life normalizing eventually requiring no medication. Many members with depression, anxiety and chronic stress related diseases have reported moving from debilitating fear and anxiety to a more positive state of mind, transforming their quality of life.

Social Laughter Clubs – A Boon for the Elderly

The simple fact is that, for humans to be happy, we need a network of healthy emotional relationships with a group of people who care about us and about whom we care. Social Laughter Clubs have the power to reach beyond the healing of laughter. The effective network of caring-sharing relationships is the key to a happy and healthy life. Relationships with people with whom one laughs with regularly becomes very strong.

Happiness through Emotional Networking

Sadly, for many elderly people, modern life does not include a network of caring and sharing relationships — The lack of two-way emotional dialogue and relationship leaves them without emotional grounding, often resulting in feelings of isolation and loneliness.

The amount of time spent with others is not what matters; it is the quality of interaction that is important. If there is lack of warmth and friendliness, it leads to anxiety and stress among the elderly. To facilitate better physical and mental health, Laughter Clubs provide a rich social network of people who care about one another, and perhaps even more importantly, a way of getting to know new people who we care about. This provides a sense of emotional security which resists stress and depression – the number one sickness in seniors.

The session with seniors is not just about laughter. It entails creating a connection with them, building a rapport by talking, listening and physical touch. A smile goes a long way to establish a bond with seniors who are in need of care and empathy. It creates an ambience of belonging and generates the much needed feeling of closeness and fraternity. Laughter sessions help them to share similar interests and instill familiarity and intimacy. It gives them the opportunity to confide their emotions and express themselves freely.

Laughter Yoga exercises are simple, structured and entertaining. They are easy and safe, and provide a genuine form of physical exercise. They appropriate for all, regardless of their cognitive, sensorial or motor abilities/limitations. People’s participation is invited and not imposed. Laughter Yoga appears to lift depression and replace it with a positive outlook. Health improves, many chronic ailments disappear, the exercise improves mobility, and communication and relations also improve.

Due to advances in medical science, there is distinct rise in life expectancy of senior citizens is likely to triple by the year 2020 

hence Laughter Yoga is indeed the best medicine to be prescribed for seniors to keep them in good cheer. A good Hearty Laughter gets rid of stress, worry and depression. It touches the emotional core and alleviates feelings of loneliness and isolation. Besides being the panacea for good health, laughter generates positive thoughts and reduces the negative strains. Contact us at 9810448555 if you want to attend a laughter club. We shall get you in touch with one. 


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