- Dr Laura Stix, ND
Laughter Yoga: Promoting Joy and Health
One of the easiest ways to create more joy in our lives is to laugh more! It's also true that laughter is medicine and this is why I did training to become a Laughter Yoga Leader.
Did you know that children laugh approximately 300-400 times a day while adults laugh a mere 10-15 times a day? It’s true!
Laughter Yoga combines unconditional laughter with yogic breathing, helping to cultivate childlike playfulness.
Laughter Yoga is no joke. Seriously! In this practice, laughter is simulated as a physical exercise, and since the body cannot tell the difference between real and fake laughter, no sense of humour is necessary! And it really is exercise for the body -- I've heard instructors say that 10 minutes of laughing is equivalent to 30 minutes of exercise.
It does NOT involve the yoga poses people typically think of when they think of “yoga”! Yogic breathing emphasizes expanding the lungs and extending the exhale longer than the inhale. This is what we do naturally when we laugh!
The good news is that we can shut off stress by simply laughing!! By stimulating the diaphragm and abdominal muscles, Laughter Yoga is a physical exercise that turns on the relaxing (parasympathetic) nervous system, and turns off the stressful (sympathic) nervous system.
There are MANY benefits to Laughter Yoga….It elevates mood, boosts health, increases circulation, increases oxygen, reduces stress, boosts immune function, decreases blood pressure, is a natural pain killer and improves productivity, personal development, social connectivity, resilience and emotional balance.
Given the list of benefits, you may not be surprised to hear that Laughter Yoga is commonly incorporated as a form of therapy in cancer care centres and nursing homes.
Here's just a 1 minute clip from a full 10 minute laugher session during a workshop I held. Laughing is hard work but brings so much joy and wellness. Consider checking out a Laughter Yoga group near you, or even online!