Yoga is a playful and effective form of pranayama (yogic breathing), combining simulated
laughter exercises with simple breathing and stretching. We laugh for
no reason -- no jokes, comedy or sense of humor required! Laughter
Yoga is exercise, and what we practice grows stronger.
The idea that laughter is good for us is nothing new. The key to Laughter Yoga is that the body doesn't know the difference between real or simulated laughter. We are able to intentionally generate physical, mental and emotional benefits by simply choosing to laugh.
Why not use humor? Humor is a wonderful gift but it is extremely cultural and individual and also conditional. Laughter is universal and laughing for no reason is unconditional. We laugh because we choose to laugh; we choose to laugh because it makes us happier and healthier.
The real beauty of laughter however is that it is terribly contagious. What starts out as simulated laughter often becomes a hearty gut busting belly laugh. The incredible release and joy of this type of laughter-- which for many people is a rare and precious gem-- becomes an equally precious but easily accessible and regularly joyous part of our lives!
History of Laughter Yoga
In March of 1995, a medical doctor in Mumbai, India named Dr. Madan Kataria set out to write an article entitled "Laughter-- The Best Medicine" for a local health journal. Discovering a wealth of evidence documenting the benefits of laughter on the human mind and body, Dr. Kataria went to a local park and recruited four people to join him in a morning laugh. The first laughter club was born. The movement has since grown exponentially, with over 6,000 clubs in more than 65 countries. Who benefits from Laughter Yoga?
People with limited mobility: Laughter Yoga provides a safe and
accessible form of exercise that fully oxygenates the body, building
health and vitality.
People caught in the stressful grind of everyday life: Laughter Yoga
reduces stress hormones, boosts the immune system and uses the power of
play to bring delight back into living.
People facing challenging health situations: Laughter Yoga promotes the
positive attitudes and emotions that are an essential complement to
therapeutic medical care.
People facing challenging life situations: Laughter Yoga is a reminder that if you can laugh at yourself and see the lighter side of even the worst circumstances, they are easier to bear.
Groups of people in an organization, workplace or workshop who are new
to each other or lack a sense of unity: Laughter Yoga connects people
quickly via a universal "language," building trust and resilience in a playful, lighthearted way.
Note: there are some contraindications for Laughter Yoga, including uncontrolled high blood pressure, epilepsy, hernia, schizophrenia, late stage pregnancy, recent surgery, etc. This list is not exhaustive. Please consult your Doctor if you have any questions or concerns.
Enables you to laugh more easily at life's travails
Gets you out of the spinning mind
Loosens fixed identities
Cultivates insights into non-dualism and "no self"
Laughter Yoga as a Spiritual Practice? "When
laugh, aside from the endorphin rush, there's also a spiritual
opening. You're not so tight inside yourself.
--Rabbi Sydney Mintz
thing to say, 'I don't fear death', but to laugh out loud somehow drives
the idea home. It embodies our theology." --Rev. Laura Gentry
become silent after your laughter, one day you will hear God also
laughing, you will hear the whole existence laughing -- trees and stones
and stars with you." --Osho
Hasya means "laughter." Yoga means
"union." Hasya Yoga moves us out of our anxious and judging minds and
into a state of celebration and wonder. We breathe life into the body. We explore the edges of non-dualism in a light hearted, playful way. We accept ourselves in all our glory and our messiness. We
connect with one another via the universal language of laughter-- Ha Ha
Ha! And as we do, we begin to break down the barriers that keep us
separate and disconnected from our natural state of wholeness.
"What is this precious love and laughter
budding in our hearts? It is the glorious sound of a soul waking up!" --Hafiz
Content copyright . Rebecca Foster. All rights reserved.