A mainstay in natural health news, yoga has swept across North America at a furious pace over the last few decades. There are many types of this alternative therapy, but one might slip under the radar, though you might really like to know about it. Laughter yoga. Seriously.
Yoga was born in India, let’s say a very long time ago. Very recently, laughter yoga was born. In it, exercise is not the focus but instead laughter. It has become very popular in yoga’s birthplace; in the capital of Delhi, there are more than 20 laughter yoga studios set up by one doctor alone. It is based on the principle that one of the best stress-killers is the body’s innate ability to laugh.
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Laughter has long been recognized as a way to help the body, particularly the circulatory system. In addition, the chemical effects of positive energy keep your mood elevated and help shield you from illness (in the same-but-reverse way that stress can trigger illness). Combine that with yoga and you can see where this is going. It doesn’t require the flexible moves seen in most yoga classes, but instead is about simple movements and things that come out of your mouth.
There are chants, such as “Very good, very good, ho-ho, ha-ha-ha.” And there are different types of laughter, like these:
— Bow and Arrow: Drawing an imaginary bow while giggling hysterically
— Roller Coaster: Moving your body up and down above the waist while laughing
— Balloon: Blowing up an imaginary balloon, then bursting it and giggling like a child
— Metro: Laughing like the sound of a train
And on and on it goes. This entire idea is traced back to 1995, when an Indian physician prescribed controlled breathing exercises mixed with forced laughter. Laughter works out the abdominal muscles, tones the digestive tract, boosts the lungs, gets the blood flowing, and empowers the immune system. When combined with yoga, it can certainly lead to benefits.
Fake laughter does might fool your mind, but not your heart. The body doesn’t know you’re faking it. And after practicing it for a while, the laughing becomes real. Laughter yoga now joins many other types of the 5,000-year-old meditative exercise that have pulled in the masses. To find out more, use Google to search for “laughter yoga” on these shores. There are probably few alternative therapies more enjoyable than this one.