WHEN AND HOW DID LAUGHTER YOGA ORIGINATE?
In March 1995, Indian physician Dr Madan Kataria decided to write an article called ‘Laughter – The Best Medicine’ for a medical journal. Through his research he discovered a large number of modern scientific studies that described in great length the many proven benefits of laughter on the human mind and body.In particular, Dr Kataria was impressed by Norman Cousins book "Anatomy of an Illness " and the research work by immunologist Dr Lee Berk from Loma Linda University in California. Whilst researching the subject of laughter, Dr Kataria was astonished to discover that our bodies cannot differentiate between acted and genuine laughter, meaning both produced the same ‘happy chemicals’! Inspired by these facts, Dr Kataria developed a range of laughter exercises, with the focus on role-play, breathing and playfulness. And so, Laughter Yoga came into being spreading around the world. Today, Laughter Yoga has grown to become a worldwide phenomenon with more than 7000 Laughter Yoga clubs in over 100 countries.
IS THERE A SCIENTIFIC PROOF BEHIND THE STATED BENEFITS LAUGHTER ?
Laughter research began in 1979, after Norman Cousins published his “Anatomy of an Illness”/see below 1/, an essay about how he fought the pain of a crippling disease with funny videos. Humor has since been prescribed by medical professionals. Laughter just like the practice of yoga establishes the mind–body connection/see below 2/.
Our emotions have profound impact on our physical state of health/see below 3/. If the cause of our disease is ultimately emotions, then LY can offer the solution to curing ourselves from within through also our emotions.
Numerous studies(4,5,6,7,8,9,10) show that laughter vastly reduces the stress response in our bodies:
Norman Cousins “A Laughter/Pain Case Study”:
The transcription of a radio interview where Norman Cousin talks about the impact of positive emotions on health:
Neuroendocrine and stress hormone changes during mirthful laughter:
Reduced pain and lower stress hormone production:
Effect of Workplace Laughter Groups on Personal Efficacy Beliefs:
The Serious Benefits of the “Joy-Care Factor” – Humor, Laughter, Fun, Optimism and Love in Service of the Workplace:
Effect of laughter yoga on mood and heart rate variability in patients awaiting organ transplantation:
Laughter helping with physical healing to patients and caregivers:
I HAVE NEVER DONE YOGA AND I AM NOT FLEXIBLE, IS IT FOR ME?
LY is for everyone and does not require any flexibility just the willingness to show up and try something new.Although the word “yoga” is used in the name of this wellbeing activity, it is purely to indicate the use of breathing exercises ( pranayama ) that help to oxygenate the brain and other organs.
DO I NEED TO WEAR WORKOUT CLOTHING?
No need for special clothing just wear comfortable clothes that are quite loose around the belly area .
ARE THERE ANY CONTRAINDICATIONS?
Laughter Yoga is not a substitute for medical consultation for physical, mental
and psychological illnesses, but is a powerful natural complementary form of
healing. It is like any other aerobic exercise and may not be suitable for everyone
as it involves some physical strain and a rise in intra-abdominal pressure.
Some people may have pre-existing medical conditions and one should take
reasonable precaution before doing laughter exercises. All pregnant women must consult their doctors before doing Laughter Yoga exercises.
It is contraindicated for people suffering from:
Any kind of hernia, Heart disease with angina pain, Persistent cough with
breathlessness, Uncontrolled high blood pressure, Incontinence of urine,
Epilepsy, Advanced (bleeding) piles and haemorrhoids or any bleeding tendencies
in any part of the body, Severe backache, Any acute symptoms of cough, cold
People who have undergone major surgery should wait at least three months
before doing Laughter Yoga. If in doubt first consult a medical professional for
Anyone undergoing physician-prescribed therapy that experiences
improvements through laughter should seek the advice of their doctor before
reducing dosage or stopping treatment.
• Those suffering from heart disease and high blood pressure but are stable
on medication and can take a brisk walk for 30 minutes without any symptoms
can do Laughter Yoga with advice from medical specialists. People who have
undergone bypass surgery can also do Laughter Yoga after their stress test is
• Pregnancy is also a relative contraindication. Women with previous history
of miscarriages and also those who are in advanced stage of pregnancy should
take medical advice from specialists before doing laughter exercises.
People suffering from minor and major psychiatric disorders can participate
in a laughter session except those who suffer from schizophrenia, Hyper mania (manic part of bipolar depression)
I AM NOT SURE I CAN LAUGH EASILY, IS IT FOR ME ?
In Laughter Yoga we laugh for no reason. Laughter is inborn whereas humour is something we learn. The baby starts discovering the voice through laughing and it happens naturally. It has been scientifically proven that the human brain cannot differentiate between what’s real or fake. In Ly we begin with simulating laughter but without forcing it.Before you know it, you will laugh for real because laughter is contagious and works as catharsis releasing emotions and stress in a way like crying does. With frequent laughter you can establish a more profound connection with own inner balance and joy .
DO I HAVE TO BRING ANY EQUIPMENT WITH ME?
We don't use any equipment in LY, just turn up!
WHAT HAPPENS IN A LAUGHTER YOGA SESSION?
In a Laughter Yoga session the facilitator begins by leading the participants through warm up and breathing exercises initiating a fake laughter to begin with. The emphasis goes on eye contact and "childlike playfulness" to turn fake laughter into contagious real laughter for the participants to feel the benefits. Laughter for no reason is emphasized and it does not matter whether you feel sad or happy on the day, as you will be led through a series of fun exercises. Laughter Yoga does not rely on jokes or require the participants to have a sense of humour, just the willingness to PLAY.
Most of the exercises we perform will require standing and moving, however, some are done seated or lying on the floor (permitting the venue has the facilities and space, and that the participants are willing to try)