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Laughter Yoga 101


Who would dispute that a good belly laugh is not only vital for the soul but one of the top, foolproof ways of getting de-stressed, revitalized, and energized from the inside out? Enter ⸺ Laughter Yoga: a unique, mindful-inspired approach based on the premise that we can obtain the same physiological and psychological benefits from voluntary laughing just as involuntary, spontaneous laughter does. This distinctive, reliable system of breathing and movement exercises, also known as hasyayoga, allows everyone to laugh by stimulating deliberate hilarity for its own sake.

No sense of humor, jokes, or funniness is required, but rather an open disposition to breathe and laugh as a collective, heartfelt experience. So inhale in and laugh it out!

A Little Background Of Laughter Yoga

In 1995, when Indian physician Dr. Madan Kataria and his wife, Madhuri, embarked on a journey to understand why many of his patients had seemingly low moods despite their respective treatments, husband and wife combined forces, and Laughter Yoga was born. A family physician for 18 years, Kataria observed that laughing “for no reason” uplifted his patients’ morale and boosted their moods and overall paths to healing. 

Shortly, Madan and Madhuri developed a reliable, helpful method for instilling more laughter into people’s lives through easy-to-do, satisfying exercises, laughter techniques, and breathing practices such as deep yogic breathing, which aim to bring more oxygen to the body-brain. As a result, individuals felt better, vibrant, and healthier too. 

Laughter Yoga Techniques & Exercises

Laughter activities, breathwork, and clapping are some of the primary, super fun, and pleasant components included in a typical Laughter Yoga class. Usually practiced in a group setting and led by a certified coach or yoga instructor, these sessions begin with simple breathing cues and clapping to foster relaxation and release any inner resistance out the door. 

Deep belly breathing (also known as diaphragm breathing) is pivotal to the practice because it asks students to exhale longer than the in-breaths, which helps to release stale air out of the lungs and ease the parasympathetic nervous system along the way. On the other hand, clapping stimulates every body part and organ by activating several acupressure points found in the hands.

Benefits Of Laughing

Considering that laughter is an unequivocal, shared language spoken worldwide, it is no surprise to discover why Laughter Yoga has become a global phenomenon, with hundreds of thousands of people practicing it today. Amid life’s daily stressors and the turmoil that touches our grown lives, incorporating an activity that purposefully strives to lighten our spirits seems indispensable. 

Here are a few expert-approved benefits of laughing your heart out, ⸺sore core included!:

  • Stress reduction
  • Improved memory and sleep
  • Strengthened immune system
  • Increased energy levels
  • More optimism, joy, and zest for life
  • More positive social interactions
  • Better heart health

The Takeaway

Beyond its numerous physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual benefits, laughter is an intricate expression of our raw, universal humanity. Thus, whether you are looking to infuse more happiness into your life or become a part of a large international community of laughing souls, Laughter Yoga seems like a captivating, delightful way to cultivate better health and well-being.

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