Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Better Breathing with Laughter Yoga~Alternative Health Trend

Hi Ya'll! The article below arrived in one of my news emails this morning and I'd like to share it with all of you. This really appeals to me and I hope you all get something from it, too. I'm thinking of having a "Laughter Yoga Party" if I can locate a qualified instructor to lead it. Won't that be fun ~ and a health benefit to boot.

Sweetest Blessings and lots of laughter,


Laughter could be your body's best medicine

Jolene Hart
September 15, 2009

There's no denying that it feels great to laugh- to let out a roar, to shriek or howl, or to burst into a fit of giggles. But do you consider laughter to be a workout for your mind and body? You should, especially if you're practicing Laughter Yoga.

A growing alternative health trend, Laughter Yoga combines laughter and yogic breathing for a unique form of mind and body therapy. As with a cardiovascular workout, Laughter Yoga increases air supply and circulation, releases endorphins and decreases blood pressure and stress.

So what happens if you're not feeling particularly jolly during a session of Laughter Yoga? You'll be laughing anyway. The key to the program's success is the idea that the body benefits from mimicked hoots and intentional guffaws the same way it does genuine laughter. So we need not be limited by sense of humor or mood. The total body therapy of Laughter Yoga is available to all.

While yoga is a centuries-old practice, Laughter Yoga is a modern creation, developed in India in 1995. It has since spread to sixty countries. Laughter Yoga is traditionally a group practice and is well-suited to target the stresses of fast-paced, modern lives. The practice also proves beneficial for anger management, social anxiety, depression and lack of self-confidence, as well as physical challenges. Supporters of Laughter Yoga say that it helps them to live life more joyfully and to deal more readily with stressful moments.

So what would you experience during a session of Laughter Yoga? Group members typically stand in a semi-circle facing the instructor, who gives directions that initiate different types of laughter. The group may chant a deep "Ho, Ho, Ho," act out silent laughter, or laugh while slowly increasing volume and speed. Group laughs last less than a minute, and deep, yogic breathing and occasional upper body stretching is practiced in between laughs. Group members maintain eye contact during laughs, which creates a feeling of comfort and support. Each session, 20-30 minutes, ends in meditation. Laughter Yoga practice benefits from an open mind and childlike playfulness.

Interested in trying an exercise for yourself? Open your eyes wide, extend your tongue and roar like a lion. You've just done the simha mudra - the lion laugh of Laughter Yoga.

To find a Laughter Yoga group in your area, check online. Or
try a session over the phone with a West Coast Laughter Yoga group called Laughter Yoga On The Phone that has set up a daily call line. During the 20-minute call (several are scheduled throughout the day) you can laugh, breathe and make noise along with an instructor from the group. Try it and you may be inspired to take up the practice! You'll join the thousands of Laughter Yoga devotees who know that laughter really can be the best medicine.