May 7, 2018

Laughter Yoga

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Laughter yoga is misunderstood many times as people think you have to do yoga poses like downward dog, etc. Not true, but there is a yoga connection. Yoga breathing or Pranayama, is the foundation of a laughter yoga practice. Laughter yoga is a unique exercise routine, which combines unconditional laughter with yogic breathing. Laughter yoga sessions start with gentle warm-up techniques which include stretching, chanting, clapping and body movement. This helps break down inhibitions and develop feelings of childlike playfulness.   Forced laughter soon turns into real and contagious laughter.

Science has proven that the body cannot differentiate between simulated or forced and real laughter. The physical benefits are exactly the same, and simulated laughter usually leads to real laughter. It has been proven scientifically that twenty minutes of laughter is sufficient to have physiological benefits. This experience leads to release of emotional tensions and joyfulness, which can last for days. Laughter yoga is the only technique that allows adults to achieve sustained hearty laughter without involving cognitive thought.

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Some benefits of laughter yoga

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makes you feel good

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helps you keep a positive, optimistic outlook

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supports you to relax and recharge

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gives you the courage and strength to find new sources of meaning and hope

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you can’t feel anxious, angry, or sad when you’re laughing

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shifts your perspective

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brings the focus away from negative emotions

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gives us a more lighthearted perspective and help us view events as challenges

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connects us with others

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produces a sense of well being

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has a profound effect on all aspects of your mental and emotional health

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provides a physical and emotional release

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reduces the level of stress hormones

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increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies

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boosts T cells and the number of antibody-producing cells

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improves your resistance to disease

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triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals

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generates the release of oxytocin, aka the love hormone

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enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air

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stimulates your heart and lungs

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provides a good workout for the heart

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exercises the diaphragm, contracts the abs, and even works out the shoulders

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works your muscles and leaves muscles more relaxed afterward

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provides a natural workout for many muscle groups

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decreases blood pressure

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improves sleep patterns

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increases blood flow and oxygenation to the cells and organs

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been shown to increase memory, intelligence, and creativity.

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Breathing exercises are used to prepare the lungs for laughter, followed by a series of ‘laughter exercises’ that combine the method of acting and visualization techniques with playfulness. These exercises, when combined with strong social dynamics of group behaviour, lead to hearty unconditional laughter.

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An old Yiddish proverb says,

“What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul.”

Sunday May 6 is World Laughter Day. It takes place the first Sunday in May every year. Dr. Madan Kataria is the founder of the worldwide laughter yoga movement. Laughter yoga has all the ingredients required for individuals to change themselves and to change the world in a peaceful and positive way.

Contact me if you want to try a class or have an organization who wants to add a little humour into the mix.

To your good health.

Charlene

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To read more about Laughter Yoga:

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About the author 

Charlene

I’m a Canadian, gluten-free, tai chi loving, great-grandmother. I live in Ontario and love helping people get healthy again.   I use all the experience I have gained in the almost 5 decades to help you live a life full of vitality with great clarity and focus.

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