Hi, and welcome to our articles series on laughter as therapy. We’re very happy to have you and hope you learn a great deal of valuable information.
Laughter therapy can take a number of forms, from sessions with a therapist to laughter yoga sessions. The goal is to laugh, have fun, and improve your health. Laughter releases stress and tension, and improves your physical fitness and mental health at the same time.
One of the most popular forms of laughter therapy is laughter yoga.
What Is Laughter Yoga?
The theory behind laughter yoga is that laughter is the best medicine. It was developed in 1995 by an Indian doctor whose wife was a yoga teacher. The goal is to feel joyful, and through that joy, to get fitter physically and mentally.
People love to go to class to tone, trim and socialize. But if you don’t have time to attend class, or there aren’t any classes near you, there are a number of laughter yoga exercises you can do at home.
Laughter Yoga Exercises
We breathe in different ways when we laugh in different ways. Laughter yoga is a combination of stretches, breath work and poses. Here are a few exercises to try.
1. Long, deep breathing
Try to fill your entire diaphragm until you can feel the stretch in the muscles around the ribs and you feel as though your lungs are full right up to your shoulder blades.
2. Lion breath and lion pose
Take a deep breath and then open your mouth wide, tongue out and down towards your chin, and roar out your breath as you would if you were a lion.
If you want to do the pose as well as the breath, sit cross-legged and roar. Or, sit up on your heels and rest your palms down on the floor, arms straight. Picture yourself like a mighty lion standing on top of a rock and roaring to make everyone pay attention to him.
3. Puppy breath
Sit cross-legged. Breathe in and out of the mouth in short, sharp, panting breaths, as if you were a happy puppy playing. You can also go down on your hands and knees and imitate a puppy if you wish, which should promote natural laughter.
4. Santa laugh
Try to really laugh as you sound out "ho, ho, ho." Make each sound sharp. You should feel your abdomen going in and out as you do so.
5. Train engine
Laugh as if you were a train, starting slowly and building up speed, using the sound "ha." "Ha, ha, ha, ha," etc. You can also move around the room, chugging with your arms and legs. Enjoy a couple of train whistles as well, whoo! whoo!
6. Dr. Evil
Rub your hands together like an evil villain plotting against people, accompanied by an evil laugh such as "mwah, hah, hah, hah."
These are fun, easy and will get you started. Practice them now and look for our next article.
Until next time,