World Laughter Day: Practice laughter yoga to improve your health

If you’re feeling stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed and want a quick way to lift your mood, turn to laughter yoga. Every year on World Laughter Day, founded by Dr. Madan Kataria, who launched the Laughter Yoga movement, aims to raise awareness of the importance of laughter and the benefits of staying happy. Well, you may not realize it, but your emotions play a huge role in your overall health. Considering that laughter is touted as the best medicine, laughter yoga is a natural tool that can relieve stress and restore calm. Read on to learn more about it.

Health Shots spoke with Himalayan Siddhaa Akshar, founder of the Akshar Yoga Research and Development Center, to understand the benefits of laughter yoga.

What is laughter yoga?

Laughter yoga, also known as hasya yoga, is a type of exercise that involves voluntary laughter. This type of yoga is based on the belief that voluntary laughter has similar physiological and psychological benefits to spontaneous laughter. It is usually done in groups, involves a lot of eye contact and light-hearted interaction between the participants. This intentional laugh often turns into a real and contagious laugh, making you feel relaxed and happy.

Laughing has a positive effect on your health. Image courtesy: Freepik

Laughter yoga is now practiced by many people all over the world. Let’s explore how its health benefits.

Also read: Do you ever laugh or cry involuntarily? The pseudobulbar effect could be at play

Laughter yoga health benefits

Laughter yoga is popularly practiced by people, especially in groups in studios, parks, and gardens by individuals. There is no age restriction for laughter yoga. Due to its beneficial effects on physical and mental health, it is gaining recognition as an important aspect of yoga. These are its health benefits:

1. Reduce stress: This unique exercise has a number of health benefits, including lowering levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine (adrenaline), reducing discomfort, burning calories, and stimulating the organs. Its main objective is to promote health and happiness, promoting general well-being.

2. Check blood pressure: Practicing laughter yoga is one way to improve your heart health. The American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine cites studies that found laughter therapy to have various physiological effects on things like blood pressure (BP), life satisfaction, anxiety reduction, and more. Therefore, if you are a BP patient, practice laughter yoga every day.

3. Improves Mental Health: According to Akshar, “Laughter yoga serves as a preventative step against mental health issues such as depression, stress, and anxiety, while also fostering a sense of enjoyment and curiosity. It helps release endorphins (happy hormones), build confidence and promote a relaxed attitude.”

laughter yoga
Laugh, baby! Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

4. Boost the immune system: The ability to fight disease, bacteria, and viruses is improved when you practice laughter yoga because it reduces stress hormones and stimulates immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies.

5. Manage pain: When you practice laughter yoga, your body naturally produces endorphins or happy hormones, which are our body’s natural pain relievers. Plus, it’s a great way to divert your attention from discomfort and stress.

Laughter yoga has been shown to have a relaxing effect on the nervous system, leading to feelings of relaxation as well as bringing joy to our lives. Laughter yoga also strengthens the muscles of the face.

How to practice laughter yoga?

1. To begin, stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
2. Take a deep breath as you raise your arms above your head.
3. Lower your arms to your sides and laugh out loud as you exhale.
4. Repeat this exercise five times to warm up your body and get into the spirit of laughter yoga.

You may not realize it, but laughter yoga has a lot to offer you. Practice it daily and you will see the results!

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