Laughing Yoga
About Laughter Yoga

Laughter Yoga was created in 1995 by Dr Madan Kataria from India, along with his wife, Madhuri Kataria a Yoga Teacher. Dr Kataria, after doing some research into the power of laughter for health benefits, went out to test the research by going to his local park in Mumbai and persuading four people to join him in laughing together and he called it a 'Laughter Club'. That small group quickly grow to more than 50 participants within a few days.

 

Realising after a number of days when the jokes started to run out that he needed another way to keep the laughter going. Dr Kataria went onto do some more research and found out the the body cannot differentiate between acted and genuine laughter, both of them produced a 'happy chemistry'. He went back to the group to try it out and the results were amazing. Later combining breathing techniques, childlike playfulness and developing a range of laughter exercises, created the birth of Laughter Yoga. Laughter Yoga is now a worldwide phenomenon with thousands of Laughter Clubs worldwide.

Laughter Yoga is usually done in a group, although it can be done on your own at home.  It has a unique exercise routine which combines unconditional laughter with yogic breathing (Pranayama), unconditional being that we laugh for no reason, so we don't need to rely on humour, jokes or comedy, as described above. It starts off as a physical exercise, faking the laughter, until the laughter becomes real and all the benefits we receive from laughing so much and freely can be realised. 

The Benefits of Laughter Yoga:

Laughter Yoga helps to stimulate the immune system to release endorphins, the body's natural painkiller, giving you a sense of wellbeing whilst reducing stress, depression and anxiety. Laughter Yoga is also good to help control blood pressure, it increases oxygen supply, helps you sleep better, alleviates pain.   It has been scientifically proven that twenty minutes of laughter is sufficient to develop full physiological benefits. 

Preparation
  • You might not want to eat a heavy meal just before doing Laughter Yoga

  • Have some water to hand during the session. 

  • You can wear everyday clothes to a Laughter Yoga session as long as they are comfortable. 

  • You might want to bring a blanket for the relaxation at the end but it isn't necessary, as long as you know you will be warm enough.  

  • You will need to sign a form at the start of class which declares that you are fit to attend a Laughter Yoga session, as just like any other exercise class, it is a physical workout and there are actually contraindications for certain people were a Laughter Yoga session might not be appropriate, for example if you are in your 1st or 3rd trimester of pregnancy, if you have a hernia or a weak bladders.

  • Please let me know before the session begins if you have any other  medical condition or injury that I would need to be aware of. 

A Laughter Yoga Session
  • Laughter Yoga sessions start with gentle warm-up techniques which include stretching, chanting, clapping and body movement. These all help to break down inhibitions and develop a person's childlike playfulness. 

  • Breathing exercises are used to prepare the lungs for laughter followed by a series of 'laughter exercises' that combine the method of acting and visualisation techniques with playfulness.

  • These exercises when done in a group, can lead to prolonged and hearty unconditional laughter. The laughter exercises are interspersed with breathing exercises. 

  • A Laughter Yoga session may finish with 'laughter meditation' or 'free laughter' which is a period of unstructured laughter whereby participants sit or lie down and allow natural laughter to flow from within. As we all know laughter is contagious, so when one person starts laughing like this it can have a habit of setting off everyone else, laughter going through the group like a tidal wave. 

  • We usually finish the session with a guided relaxation to ensure everyone feels relaxed and grounded at the end. 

Happy Teens

"The Laughter Yoga class was fantastic. I left feeling I had just realised months of stress that had built up. Looking forward to more. Thank you Carla!"

Helen

After the session
  1. Drink plenty of water after the Laughter Yoga session, just like another exercise class you will need to hydrate.  

  2. Giving yourself time after session to integrate any changes or shifts that you have experienced and ensuring that you feel grounded.

  3. If you wish take time to reflect on what you experienced by writing in a journal. 

  4. Be gentle with yourself, particularly if you have had a deep cathartic release which can sometimes happen. 

  5. The feelings after a Laughter Yoga session can last a while, notice how you are feeling over the next few days following your session. It is amazing when we start to practice regularly, one of the things we notice is that we laugh naturally much more easily, there may also be other benefits you are seeing.

Studying at Home

Be in harmony, be you!