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Laughter Yoga can reduce blood pressure, increase circulation, reduce muscle pain and tension, reduce stress, and strengthen the immune system.
By Tina Gallagher
Laughter is not only contagious but it’s also the best medicine. Laughing releases endorphins and signals the brain and body to be happy. The same thing happens when you exercise; the body becomes happier as adrenaline and endorphins are released. Laughter Yoga blends the spiritual and physical well-being of yoga with laughter’s emotional stimulation.
“Scientific studies have shown that our bodies can’t tell the difference between real laughter and fake laughter,” says Jeannine Luby, Certified Laughter Yoga Leader and owner of Laugh to Live!, an organization that offers presentations to individuals, corporations and the community to promote laughter. “You gain all the physical, mental, and emotional health benefits of laughter, even when you’re faking. Although, most times the laughter turns real once it gets started. So my motto is ‘fake it ‘til you make it’.”
Laughter Yoga was founded in 1995 by Dr. Madan Dataria of Mumbai, India while he researched the use of laughter in his medical practice. His discovered the brain’s inability to decipher between real and simulated laughter, opening the doors to the applications laughter can have in our lives.
Through a series of laughter exercises and yogic breathing, Laughter Yoga can reduce blood pressure, increase circulation, reduce muscle pain and tension, reduce stress, and strengthen the immune system. Also, laughter burns about 50 calories in 15 minutes and helps reduce the stress hormone Cortisol. Too much Cortisol can play a role in craving "comfort" foods, overeating, feeling fatigued, and storing excess body fat. And the great thing about Laughter Yoga is that it’s not strenuous and people of all ages and abilities can do it. All you need to be able to do is let yourself laugh.
While termed Laughter Yoga, laughter exercises do not involve yoga poses. They’re silly and playful and utilize clapping and sounds like “ho-ho-ho” and “ha-ha-ha.” Although many adults may initially find the exercises senseless, by the end of the session they’ll feel better and most likely want to do it again. Children, on the other hand, take to Laughter Yoga like ducks to water and see similar benefits as adults.
According to Luby, “Kids love Laughter Yoga because they’re already into doing silly things and they love to laugh. Not every kid is athletic or physically capable of performing strenuous exercise, but they all know how to laugh.”
Children laugh more than 400 times a day. It’s part of the way they communicate from a very young age. However, in our competitive world, children face challenges and pressures that can strip away the joy of childhood. Because, while children are natural laughers, a serious school environment and other stress factors in their lives can stifle their reflex to do so. Laughter Yoga not only gives them permission to laugh, it also shows them that exercise can be fun, which can help keep them on track to stay more active throughout their lives.
“The great thing is that Laughter Yoga is an activity parents can do with their kids that offers so many benefits beyond bonding,” says Luby.
With all the proven benefits of laughter, Laughter Yoga is definitely the best medicine for both young and old alike.
How can you put more laughter in your life? Laugh to Live offers:
• Fundraisers – Laugh to Live offers Laughter Yoga sessions, comedy performances, and combination sessions that encourage audience participation to relieve stress and to keep them entertained.
• Private Parties – Host a Laughter Yoga party or your own customized comedy performance in your backyard, on your deck, or in your living room.
• Corporate Presentations- Healthy employees mean a healthier bottom line. Laugh to Live! offers wellness presentations to help reduce stress and promote good health using laughter.
• Conferences – lighten up your organization’s next conference, workshop, or training session with Laughter Yoga and/or a comedy performance.
Laugh to Live’s headquarters are located in Scranton with a satellite office in Carbondale. Jeannine likes to laugh locally and in your neighborhood. She travels to clients, wherever laughter is needed. Call Jeannine today at 570-650-7518 to talk laughter or visit http://laughtolive.net.