When people tell you laughter is the best medicine, they are not lying. We all know how great it feels to have an uncontrolled bout of laughter, where the giggles take over your composure while you grab your stomach and wipe away tears of laughter from your face.
Hasna yoga, known as the laughter of yoga, has become a prevalent practice in the west. It Laughing yoga has been used for laugh therapy and has been around for decades. It is a yoga practice that uses movement and yogic breathing techniques with laughter that offer many different benefits.
We take ourselves far too seriously in a world that is a constant merry-go-round of stresses and problems. So finding an outlet that allows you to throw your inhibitions to the wind, let your hair down, and use laughter as a therapeutic way to heal and reap the health benefits is a great way to start a morning.
Laughter Yoga, What Is It?
Laughter yoga is a way to connect the mind a body through controlled movements and breathing techniques (pranayama).
Hasna comes from ancient Sanskrit in India, meaning to laugh. So, although using laughter in yoga is not new to the world, it is a newish form of yoga discovered by Dr. Madan Kataria, afamily physician from India, in 1995.
It uses popular yoga movements with breathing techniques while incorporating deliberate laughter and chanting.
How Does Laughter Yoga Work?
Through controlled breathing and deliberate laughter activities, the parasympathetic nervous system is activated; this is the body’s natural relaxation system.
Combining improv exercises, clapping, chanting, and citing positive affirmations promotes positivity while teaching you to laugh on cue. It’s also great to let loose, allow that inner child out, and abandon your ego.
Starting with gentle stretching, breathwork, and meditation to warm up and break the ice. Every newbie to laughing yoga has a certain level of discomfort and embarrassment. Standing with a group of strangers and fake laughing sounds more stressful than relaxing.
Eventually, you realize everyone is here to reap the benefits of laughter. What starts as a peal of fake laughter quickly becomes a genuine eruption of laughter. The term laughter is contagious has never been more accurate than when you are faced with a group of people all laughing for no reason and without any bad jokes being thrown around. The more you laugh, the louder and harder the person next to you continues to laugh.
Adults don’t allow themselves to laugh and giggle at the simple, little things. Often our laughing is controlled and limited due to social politeness, to three to five seconds. The goal of laughter yoga is to increase that short span of laughter that we allow ourselves a day into a session of ten to fifteen minutes of continuous laughter.
Laughter cultivates joy, positivity, and optimism while you start your 30 to 60 minutes class with clapping and breathing, adding a rhythmic chanting of ho, ho, ha, ha, ha on your exhales.
The addition of improv movements and affirmative gestures, such as thumps up, is used inwards to your group, pointed towards yourself, and then pointed upwards, releasing positive intentions into the universe.
Positivity attracts positivity. Sending out good vide and positive affirmations into the ether of the universe will result in a boomerang of positive vibes back into your life.
Does Laughter YogaReally Work?
Laughter yoga does really work. Think back to a time when you couldn’t stop laughing for no specific reason. How did you feel afterward?
Luckily the brain cannot tell the difference between forced simulated and spontaneous laughter. Either way, the brain releases endorphins and happy hormones like serotonin and dopamine. While at the same time suppressing the stress hormone cortisol.
Laughter affects our mental, emotional and spiritual states as well as our bodies physically.
Laughter yoga provides a safe environment where no one judges, and the people around you are there for the same purpose of reaping the health benefits this amusing yoga practice has to offer.
Who Should Partake In Laughter Yoga?
This form of yoga doesn’t rely on talent in telling jokes, having a wicked sense of humor, or special cognitive functions, nor do you need any form of yoga knowledge. People looking to increase their moods and alleviate stress and anxiety will highly benefit from the advantages of Hasna yoga.
People suffering from mental health problems can significantly benefit from a good laugh to lift their mood and ease depression and anxiety. However, laughter yoga is not limited to any age or group of people, gender, age, or physical abilities.
Benefits Of Laughter Yoga
Laughing is always the best medicine, and simulated or spontaneous laughter has the same benefits on your mind, body, and spirit. But remember that a contained chuckle is not enough to manifest the benefits that an excellent deep and loud laugh can offer, hence the need for laughter yoga classes.
Brightens Your Mood
Laughing releases feel-good hormones that lift our moods and make us happier. So starting your mornings with a quick session of laughing yoga will provide more positive energy for your day ahead.
Stress, anger, and other emotions tend to bring us down and place a heavy weight on our shoulders. Laughing enforces a feeling of positivity, relieving the burdens that weigh us down and replacing them with newfound energy.
Strengthens Your Immune System
Deep laughter coupled with deep inhales and exhales improve lymphatic system circulation, which keeps the body’s fluid levels level balanced, helping the body fight against infections.
The movements of laughter and deep breaths activate the diaphragm and massage the system to improve digestion.
Just as a strenuous workout can be an outlet to eliminate stress, so does a good laughing session help reduce stress levels and make coping with difficult situations more manageable.
Reducing Anxiety And Depression
Laughing yoga has been researched as a great alternative medicine for people suffering from anxiety and depression. It increases life satisfaction and provides a coping mechanism for dealing with difficult situations.
Although laughing yoga can be done alone and in the comfort of your own home where no one can judge you, the benefits of doing group laughter yoga for people with depression can help them overcome social anxieties and get the affirmation they need from other like-minded people.
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Improving Sleep Quality
It goes without saying that stress reduction can prompt a more peaceful sleep, so by relieving stress through laughing, you can improve the quality of your sleep.
Reducing Pain Levels
Have you ever seen people laugh when they stub their toes or is it just me? Laughter can help reduce pain by releasing endorphin hormones, increasing pain tolerance, and decreasing pain levels.
While people take their fitness and physical health vigorously, it’s just as crucial for you to take your happiness earnestly. Laughing yoga encourages laughter. Although your laugh may be awkward and forcedinitially, the contagious sound of people laughing soon turns your giggles into a genuine bout of laughter that has multiple benefits, from mental to physical.