Table of contents:
- The history of the yoga of laughter
- Health benefits and contraindications
- Laughter yoga concept
- How is the lesson going?
- Exercises you can do yourself
- How to laugh alone?
- Feedback from participants practicing laughter yoga
What is laughter yoga? How does laughter yoga affect health? Does it suit everyone? How often should you laugh? Laughing for no reason - is it possible? How can you laugh when you are in a bad mood?
Nadezhda Akimova, a counselor psychologist, a body-oriented therapist, a full member of the Professional Psychotherapeutic League (PPL), troubleshooter and laughter yoga instructor, tells about all this.
The history of the yoga of laughter
Inspired by articles and research on the benefits of laughter, Dr. Madan Kataria from Mumbai founded his first club in a city park on March 13, 1995 with his wife and three friends.
Most of all, Dr. Cataria was impressed by the story of American journalist Norman Cousins and his book Anatomy of a Disease, in which Cousins described a potentially fatal spinal disorder he suffered.
None of the drugs worked for Norman, and so he decided to experiment with the power of humor and other positive emotions. The journalist found that ten minutes of joyful laughter gave him two hours of painless sleep. His story has puzzled the scientific community and prompted researchers to study the effects of laughter on the body. As a result, it became known that laughter causes the release of endorphins - natural pain relievers.
Dr. Madan decided to test the effect of laughter on himself and those around him. Initially, funny stories were told in the group, but soon the practice had to be abandoned as the jokes became negative and offensive. At this point, the doctor caught the eye of another study, which said that what happens to the body affects the mind, and the physical expression of emotion can cause it itself.
The next morning, he explained this to the group members and asked them to try to act out a laugh, as if they were already having fun, and laugh with him for one minute. They agreed and the results were amazing. For some, fake laughter quickly turned into real laughter. Developing the concept of yoga of laughter, the doctor began to alternate breathing practices and laughter.
Today, yoga of laughter is a unique set of exercises that is practiced in 110 countries. In the classroom, the participants begin to laugh in an exercise format, but very soon this laugh turns into a real laugh.
Health benefits and contraindications
Laughter yoga is a gift for everyone's physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being. It helps to maintain a positive attitude during difficult times and can even replace cardio training. Just 10 minutes of laughter equals 30 minutes on the rowing machine.
How can this be? When we laugh, we are actually breathing out. The main thing is to make the laughter "come out" of the abdomen in order to activate the diaphragm. When you laugh, the exhalation lasts much longer than with normal breathing. Laughter and deep breathing exercises “turn on” the entire volume of the lungs and open the airways.
Laughter yoga is one of the fastest ways to reduce stress and is a great way to release emotions. It helps to reduce the manifestation of symptoms in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, autoimmune disorders, and also improves blood circulation, maintains emotional balance, strengthens the immune system, helps to overcome stress and depression, relieve anxiety attacks and panic attacks.
But she also has contraindications: hernia, incontinence, bleeding hemorrhoids, heart problems, chest pains, pregnancy, major surgeries, colds and flu, displacement of the intervertebral disc. People with such diseases should definitely consult a doctor before class.
Laughter yoga concept
The idea of laughter yoga is based on the fact that the body does not distinguish whether laughter is real or artificial, and a person receives the same psychological and physiological advantages as with sincere fun.
How is the lesson going?
Each laughter yoga class consists of 3 parts:
- greeting, deep breathing warm-up;
- laughter meditation is laughter in its purest form: we just start laughing slowly and easily, gradually increasing the intensity of laughter, soon it becomes infectious for everyone;
- relaxation - yoga nadra - a relaxation and recovery technique that lasts 15 minutes and helps to quickly recuperate. It is equal to an hour of sleep.
Exercises you can do yourself
The most popular self-practice exercises and life hacks in emergency situations.
- Aloha. Raise your hands and chin and start talking, stretching out: "A-a-a-lo-o-o", then, speaking loudly: "Ha-a-ha-ha-ha," laugh. Keep laughing as long as you have your breath. Repeat three times.
- Laughing cocktail. Pick up imaginary glasses of cocktail, pour the liquid from one to the other three or four times, then pretend to drink one of the cocktails and laugh at the same time.
- Telephone. Hold an imaginary phone to your ear and laugh, pretending to hear something funny.
- Laughter at the bills. Pretend you are holding a rent bill or whatever. Imagine that this is a large enough amount. Point to the count and laugh.
- Laugh with cream. Pretend to put some cream in your hand and laugh as you rub it on your face.
Phone, laughter with a bill and with cream can be used as life hacks in everyday life and difficult emotional situations.
How to laugh alone?
Laugh on your own for 40 days - and it will become a new habit. You can start with five minutes, gradually increasing the duration of the exercise to 10-15 minutes with breaks for breathing practices.
Open your mouth wide. Stretch your arms forward, then inhale, clench your hands into fists and pull them back to your chest. Hold your breath for two or three seconds and, exhaling in the letter "ah-ah-ah" and imitating a cough, burst into laughter. Repeat 2-3 times.
The following exercise makes it easier to move the diaphragm upward by squeezing the press. Lie on your back, hold your bent knees together with both hands and slowly bring them closer to your chest. While you are doing this, lift your chin up and, opening your mouth slightly, exhale. Then let go of your knees and inhale, breathe deeply for some more time.
Feedback from participants practicing laughter yoga
Those who have tried laughing yoga can experience the benefits from the very first session. Here are some feedback from participants after my class.
Alexander, 49 years old: “As a child, I was a funny child, a teenager. They constantly interfered with me: this is not allowed, do not interfere, they do not laugh at this. And from childhood something remained unmocked. Here I opened this gap, where there is joy, laughter, calmness. With what feeling am I leaving today? This is the release of emotions of joy, happiness, the ability to share them with others and free ourselves from the oppressive, that which hinders us. You leave and you are calm."
Alexander, 37 years old: “This is some kind of miracle, even when you don't feel like laughing at all, you still laugh”.
Svetlana, 31 years old: “This is great practice. I really liked it. A sea of positive, a charge of energy. I recommend everyone to try to feel like a child."
Nadezhda, 38 years old: “I feel like after a bath. Pleasant relaxation in the whole body, really as if it cleansed itself and renewed itself. You can feel lightness and joy inside."
All you need is to allow yourself to laugh, and no one can stop you. “When you laugh, you change, and when you change, the world changes around you,” says Dr. Madan Kataria.
Are you into traditional yoga? Then read which mat is best for her, which asanas help to relax and how yoga helps fight cellulite.
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