WHAT IS LAUGHTER YOGA
Laughter Yoga combines laughter exercises with deep (yogic) breathing. Sessions include songs, games, laughter exercises, deep breathing and a laughter meditation. Laughter Yoga is based on the premise that the body cannot distinguish between pretend and genuine laughter (this draws on NLP), and both produce the same physiological response.
Not to mention that doing laughter exercises with others in a group will usually also product plenty of heartfelt or genuine laughter – since laughter is so contagious!
Laughter Yoga was originally founded by an Indian doctor called Dr Kataria, in Mumbai in 1995. He wanted to prescribe laughter for his patients and as laughter was not available in tablet form – he created laughter yoga – the next best thing! It is now a global phenomenon with 1,000s of laughter clubs all over the world.
Sounds silly? It is! Take you out of your comfort zone? It just might… However, when we laugh we breathe deeply and we release endorphins and it seems to be a magic combination that both energizes and relaxes, uplifts and calms and fundamentally helps us to reconnect to a more playful and fun-loving aspect of ourselves…
WHAT IF I DON'T FEEL LIKE LAUGHING?
That is the amazing thing about Laughter Yoga that even if you ‘fake’ the laughter it has been scientifically proven that the body does not know the difference between fake and authentic laughter so you body still reaps the same health benefits.
In Laughter Yoga unlike classical yoga there are no postures to master. The ‘yoga’ aspect comes into this work because of our use of breath. We do several, yogic breathing techniques to encourage more laughter.
WHAT HAPPENS IN A LAUGHTER YOGA SESSION?
A laughter session is a group of people gathering to practice laughter as a form of exercise. You don’t need to feel good first, to be happy, or even have a sense of humour. We don’t use jokes or comedy.
I begin with brief socialising and very brief history of laughter yoga. The group is then taught a few basic guidelines, breathing exercises, and laughter games.
We then move into the 1st part of the session where we do laughter exercises interspersed with yogic breathing.
The 2nd part of the session is just laughter for its own sake broken up with some silence ‘laughter deepens the silence and silence deepens the laughter’ ..this leads us into the 3rd part where we lie down and relax to a guided relaxation.
Typically this session lasts for an hour but can be adapted depending on the people I am working with.
Basically Laughter Yoga gives people the opportunity to bring out the ‘child’ in themselves and embrace a sense of fun.
SESSIONS CONSIST OF:
Chanting ‘ho ho, ha ha, he he’ (to warm up facial muscles) combined with hand claps, which touches the acupressure points to energise.
Playing out exercises of every day activities like greeting hand shake—with laughter.
Deep Pranayama Yogic breathing exercises to clear the lungs and fill with fresh oxygen.
Relaxation at the end of the session.
PARTICIPANTS NEED TO BE:
Willing to have a go.
Happy to have eye contact with others.
Prepared to ‘fake’ laughter to start with so that it soon becomes real and contagious