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Laugh Yoga Benefits for Adults and Children

written by: Tania Faria • edited by: Cheryl Gabbert • updated: 6/29/2011

With the uprising of alternative medicine’s popularity, alternative exercise methods are the next logical step. Laugh yoga was developed to blend the spiritual and physical well-being of yoga with the emotional stimulation that laughter brings.

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    What is Laugh Yoga?

    It’s not a secret that smiling and laughter improves the overall mind and body of a person. Laughing releases endorphins and signals the brain and body to be happy. The same thing happens when you exercise, adrenaline and endorphins are released and the body is “happier”. This is one of the many ways exercise benefits the mind and body.

    Laugh yoga incorporates these two very healthy practices together. If the person is not feeling overly funny, they are encouraged to force the laugh within the exercise to trigger the reactions in the brain that will make it real. “It is now indisputable that laughter plays a role in healing, staying healthy, controlling stress reactions, and maintaining emotional balance. Laughter has been re-discovered as a Powerful Arsenal in the battle against many mental and physical diseases,” says Laughter Yoga America, a group dedicated to the education of Laugh Yoga.

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    Health Benefits for Adults and Children

    Adults and children benefit from Laughter Yoga in many of the same ways. Many workplaces are incorporating Laugh Yoga into their retreats, and in some cases they have incorporated 20 minute laughter sessions into their standard work day. A study done in Mumbai India resulted in lower stress, more productivity, and lower blood pressure rates. “Participants in the laugh group had an 18% improvement in positive emotions and a 28% reduction in negative emotions (P<0.001 for both) and a significant reduction in perceived stress scale score (P<0.01),” says study conductor Madan Kataria, M.D.

    Children see similar results, including whole body wellness, reduced stress, and more emotional happiness. Children also gain the benefits of learning that exercise can be fun. Having children perform laugh yoga in a social setting gives them the opportunity to participate in healthy exercise that will spark a lifelong love of exercise. Early exercise programs have been proven to keep children on track to stay more active throughout their lives.

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    Exercises to Try

    Though initially the exercises seem silly, that’s part of the exercise. The inherent “silliness” of being with other people and laughing for no reason is part of the healthy reaction. If the person beginning laugh yoga is shy, simply try a few exercises at home alone. Remember though, a key part of the process is laughing, and if it’s not coming naturally the person may need to force it.

    Jumping frog laughter is appropriate for children or adults. This exercise starts by squatting on the floor, bending at the knees with the butt very low to the ground. Extend the knees, jumping once, and on the way up say very loudly, “ha.” Allow the body to fall back down into the same squatting position and repeat in rapid succession 5-10 times.

    Another great exercise is simply to try different laughters. With hands covering the abdomen, the subject should begin with a “ho ho ho” and then begin to move the hands to the throat and do a “he he he”, focusing on where the laugh originates.

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    Resources

    http://www.laughteryogaamerica.com/learn/benefits-laughter-yoga-258.php#more-258: Explaining the benefits of Laugh Yoga among all people and professionals.

    http://www.laughteryogaamerica.com/learn/research/laughter-yoga-research-unconditional-laughter-workplace-stress-423.php: Studying including professionals and the reduction of stress with the use of Laugh Yoga.