Laughter Yoga (Hasyayoga) is a form of yoga employing self-triggered laughter. The concept of Laughter Yoga is based on the scientific observation that the body cannot differentiate between fake and real laughter, and that both provide the same physiological and psychological benefits. Laughter Yoga combines unconditional laughter with pranayama (yogic breathing).
Laughter is simulated as a body exercise in a group; with eye contact and childlike playfulness, initially forced laughter soon turns into real and contagious laughter.
The "laughter" is physical in nature, and does not necessarily involve humour or comedy. Laughter is easily stimulated in a group when combined with eye contact, 'childlike playfulness' and laughter exercises. Fake laughter quickly becomes real. Laughter Yoga brings more oxygen to the body and brain by incorporating yogic breathing which may result in deep diaphragmatic breathing. It is believed and observed that anyone can laugh without needing to rely on humor, jokes or comedy. Scientific studies have demonstrated that the body does not differentiate between simulated and real laughter.
Laughter Yoga is the only technique that allows adults to achieve sustained hearty laughter without involving cognitive thought. It bypasses the intellectual systems that normally act as a brake on natural laughter.
Laughter Yoga sessions start with gentle warm-up techniques which include stretching, chanting, clapping and body movement. These help break down inhibitions. Breathing exercises are used to prepare the lungs for laughter, followed by a series of ‘laughter exercises’ that combine the method of acting and visualization techniques with playfulness. These exercises, when combined with the strong social dynamics of group behavior, lead to prolonged and hearty unconditional laughter. Laughter exercises are interspersed with breathing exercises. Twenty minutes of laughter is sufficient to develop full physiological benefits.
A Laughter Yoga session may finish with "Laughter Meditation." This is a session of unstructured laughter whereby participants sit or lie down and allow natural laughter to flow from within like a fountain. This is a powerful experience that often leads to a healthy emotional catharsis and also a feeling of release and joyfulness that can last for days. This can be followed by guided relaxation exercises.
The goal of Laughter Yoga is to bring good health, joy and world peace through laughter.
Laughter is universal with no language and cultural barriers. Laughter Yoga Clubs are fast growing into a worldwide community of like-minded people who believe in unconditional Love, Laughter and Fellowship. Every first Sunday of May is celebrated as World Laughter Day. In the year 2000, nearly 10,000 people laughed together in Copenhagen, Denmark to set a Guinness Book Record.
Laughter yoga enthusiast, Jacquie Dorchester will be leading a fantastic Laughter Yoga workshop at Yogalife Studios Edmonton South on March 16, 2013! Register today to discover more about this wonderful, hilarious, practice, and experience the benefits of a full, healing laughter fit.