• – By Kathryn Kimmins

Healthier ~ One giggle at a time


Laughter Yoga is a fun body-mind exercise that is designed to increase a healthy lifestyle, and reduce stress and anxiety in your everyday life.

Studies show that 60 seconds of laughter equals 10 minutes on a rowing machine or any other cardio-vascular workout.

One of my new clients came to class very stressed out and in a rush to get to the next meeting of her day. We started the class with our warm-up, then a combination of laughter and breathing exercises, followed by a cool down and a laughter/relaxation meditation to close. At the end of the class she was no longer in a hurry, relaxed and more focused for her next meeting of the day.

Laughter Yoga is quickly spreading into many different areas, as people come to realize how the benefits can improve their lives. Its mission is to provide good health, joy, and create a world without pain and illness. Laughter Yoga helps people to deal positively with mental, physical and emotional stresses that can otherwise lead to a breakdown in the workplace and in their private lives. It seeks to build an international community of like-minded people who come and laugh together and receive multiple health benefits.

Laughter Yoga is a unique form of exercise that was founded in 1995 by Dr. Madan Kataria, a medical doctor from Mumbai, India, where anyone can laugh for no reason without the need for jokes or comedy. Dr. Kataria, and his wife Madhuri, developed a program that combines laughter as a physical and playful body exercise with Pranayama, deep yogic breathing (no poses). Scientific research shows that the body does not know the difference between real of fake laughter. So, while the laughter often is initially forced, it soon becomes real due to eye contact and the contagious nature of laugher in a group. What started as one group of five people in a park in Mumbai on March 1995, has now become a worldwide phenomenon with more than 6500 clubs in over 60 countries.

Laughter Yoga for the Business World

Realizing the effectiveness of laughter, corporations and organizations have introduced Laughter Yoga into their routines and have reported dramatic changes in interactive behavior and attitude towards others.

Stress and negative emotions reduce communication skills and the motivation to communicate. Laughter Yoga is a perfect exercise routine that exactly counters these effects.

As it induces unconditional laughter through group dynamics and childlike playfulness, Laughter Yoga enables people to communicate and freely express their emotions. As it is an instant stress buster, it generates positive feelings and alleviates all negative strains of thought. Laughter breaks down barriers and creates an instant connection.

Laughter Yoga Helps to Express Oneself

Laughter Yoga allows people to be more open with each other. It creates a feeling of safety where issues seem less important. It allows them to express themselves more clearly because laughter helps one to think more clearly and creatively. When we laugh with others we are fun to be with and provide good company.

Laughing makes us more likeable because it reduces our tendency to gain self-confidence by analyzing and judging others. When we laugh with others, criticism and sarcasm seem to evaporate. It also promotes good will and cooperation between generations, between those with opposing viewpoints and between nations.

Job stress got you down? Try laughing the tension away. Besides being fun, humor makes work seem less like work in a number of ways. Laughter stimulates the release of endorphins, which are your body’s natural relaxants. A good laugh increases productivity, teamwork, employee retention, and job satisfaction. Humor also increases communication throughout the workplace and decreases stress levels.

Laughter Practice for School Children

It is said that children may laugh 300 to 400 times in a day, yet most adults are lucky if we laugh 15 times – on a good day. (Can you remember the last time you laughed 300 or even 200 times in one day?)

The stressors of daily life – including the school environment - can stifle the natural stress-reducing reflex of laughter. But give children permission to laugh – especially within the usually serious academic environment – and there is a welcome relief of stress and tension that can produce dramatically positive results.

Hearty laughter can improve circulation and oxygen supply to the brain and internal organs, rid the lungs of stale air, improve concentration and increase learning ability and academic performance.

Children will suffer fewer attacks of coughs, colds, throat and chest infections, as laughter helps to build good immunity against common infection. When children are put in the right conditions to laugh at school, their confidence is boosted and their ability to handle stress can improve. They develop a positive attitude, even in challenging times. Laughter Yoga also stimulates their right brain hemisphere, enhancing their creative abilities.

Imagine what a short laughter session can do prior to a high-stakes exam, sports competition, or public speaking event. So increase your laughter by engaging in daily laughter exercises one giggle at a time.

Very good, very good, YEAH!

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Kathryn Kimmins is a Certified Laughter Yoga Leader who presents seminars on living healthier lifestyles through Laughter Yoga.www.laughyourselfhealthy.ca 905-574-1765

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