Take a deep breath. Hold it, hold it, hold it...and exhale with a giant, joyful belly laugh! You are about to experience the worldwide health phenomenon known as Laughter Yoga!
Founded in 1995 by Dr. Madan Kataria, who started a laughter club with only five people in a local park in Mumbai, India, this interactive form of yoga for all ages and abilities, has inspired over 7000 laughter clubs in over 100 countries. And as research on the psychological and physiological benefits of laughter continues to grow, Laughter Yoga is gaining endorsements from the medical community (Dr. Mehmet Oz, Dr. Andrew Weil), media (Time Magazine, Wall Street Journal, Psychology Today, CNN, BBC) and celebrities (Oprah Winfrey, John Cleese, Ellen DeGeneres).
Even though we all "think" we know how to laugh, the practice of Laughter
Yoga teaches us how to "laugh for no reason," without relying on jokes or humor or our critical mind. We learn to let our body and our right brain lead us through playful, child-like exercises so that we can chuckle long enough to reap the health, emotional and social benefits of spontaneous laughter. But not only do we need to learn this new way to laugh, which emphasizes yogic breathing, acupressure clapping and hearty belly bursting guffaws, we also need to practice uninterrupted laughter for at least 15 minutes to reap the benefits! Laughter Yoga sessions are popping up all over the world because, in the words of Dr. Kataria, "Laughter is too important to leave to chance!"
The physiolological benefits of Laughter Yoga may incude exercising and relaxing muscles, improving respiration, stimulating circulation, decreasing stress hormones, increasing immune system defenses, elevating pain threshold and tolerance and enhancing mental functioning.
The psychological rewards can be reduction of stress, anxiety, tension and
symptoms of depression. Laughter can elevate mood, self esteem, energy and vigor and enhance memory and creative thinking. It improves quality of life by strengthening interpersonal relationships and builds group identity, solidarity and cohesiveness. And laughter gives us hope and optimism to deal with difficult and negative situations that may challenge us.
Laughter Yoga is a "total" workout for body, mind and soul. And one that
must be experienced to understand how it's simple practice can give us the balance and tools we need to handle whatever life sends our way. The happy hormones released through laughter help us follow a path that is not only healthier, but also more playful, joyful, positive and compassionate. And since laughter is a language that is universal, it can unite us all to create a mission of world peace ... because when we laugh together, we see the best in ourselves and none of our differences really matter!
Laughing My Angst Off is dedicated to teaching and spreading the practice of Laughter Yoga EVERWHERE! Please continue on this site if you are "laughter curious," and if you are not.... well, you probably should keep