Laughter Yoga FAQ

Laughter Yoga

What is Laughter yoga about?
What happens in a Laughter yoga session?
What are the health benefits of laughter yoga?
Are there any contra-indications to Laughter Yoga?

What is Laughter yoga about?
The basic principles of Laughter Yoga are that we can laugh for no reason. Laughter is innate whereas humour is learnt. Babies laugh, naturally, even blind babies do. The brain cannot differentiate between what’s real or fake. That’s been scientifically proven. Fake it, fake it until you make it is the Laughter Yoga motto. Before you know it,  you will laugh for real because laughter is contagious. Laughter balances the stress hormones just like crying does. With daily laughter you connect to your inner joy which is totally unconditional. Even when your circumstances are challenging you have the right to laugh for no reason. The only theory needed is the theory of silliness!!! When you allow yourself to get in touch with your inner child and ask your logical brain to have a snooze! 

‘Laughter is the sun that drives winter away from the human face’ Victor Hugo

 
What happens in a Laughter yoga session?
Laughter yoga is yogic breathing combined with laughter exercises.  In a Laughter Yoga session, we’ll typically start with a warm up, lots of breathing exercises, laughter exercises, a laughter relaxation, lying down on a mat followed by a body/mind relaxation and lots of fun!!!

‘Do something wonderful, people may imitate it.’ Albert Schwiezer

What are the health benefits of laughter yoga?
Deep breathing gives an inner massage to the diaphragm. That relaxes the body, balances the hormones and the neurological centres connected to it and stimulates the lymphatic system and the immune system.
Laughter yoga reduces stress, relieves pain,relaxes muscles, empties the lung at a deeper level, oxygenates the body, reduces anger, enhances communication, bolsters morale, inspires creativity, boosts immunity, decreases anxiety, maintains hope!! 
 Dr Lee Berk of Loma Linda university found that ‘people expecting to watch a funny movie had 27% more beta endorphins and 87% more human growth hormones hurtling around their blood compared with a control group’. He said that ‘laughter diminished the secretion of stress hormones, cortisol and epinephrine, while enhancing immune response. The physiological effects of a single one-hour session viewing a humorous video has appeared to last up to 12 to 24 hours in some individuals’
Alok Jha, science correspondent, Monday April 3, 2006, The Guardian

In the program The Young Ones, broadcast on the BBC in September 2010, scientists measured how a 1 hour laughter yoga session would affect the stress level and blood pressure level of a team of highly stressed ambulance people. As you can see in the link below, the scientist measured a decrease in both stress levels and blood pressure.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00txwgq/The_Young_Ones_The_Science_of_The_Young_Ones/

Norman Cousin is the pioneer of laughing to help our health. He wrote his book about his experience called ‘Anatomy of an illness’. Suffering from a degenerative disease of the spine, he checked himself out of hospital were they were filling him with steroids and booked into a hotel room. There he spent time watching funny videos from the era, late 60’s, and taking large doses of Vitamin C. He noticed that following a hearty bout of laughter he could have two pain free hours of sleep. In time, he was able to recover from his potentially fatal disease.
Humour therapy is used in hospitals in some countries like India and the United States

‘Laughter is a tranquilizer with no side effects.’ Arnold Glasow 

Are there any contra-indications to Laughter Yoga?
Laughter Yoga is not a miracle cure and should not be considered as a substitute for medical consultation for physical, mental and psychological illnesses. However, it is a powerful natural complementary form of healing.
Laughter may not be suitable for everyone. It involves some physical strain and rise in intra-abdominal pressure. It is contraindicated for people suffering from diseases that are a severe and uncontrolled stage such as:

Advanced (bleeding) piles and haemorroids,
Any kind of hernia,
Any persistent cough,
Anything with acute symptoms,
Epilepsy,
Heart disease,
High blood pressure, (although the blood pressure is decreased after an hour, there is an initial increase),
Incontinence,
Major psychiatric disorders,
Severe backache.
People who have undergone major surgery should wait at least 3 months before doing Laughter yoga. If in doubt, consult a medical professional for guidance.
Anyone undergoing physician-prescribed therapy that experiences improvements through laughter should seek the advice of their doctor before reducing dosage or stopping treatment.

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