What is Laughter Yoga?
Laughter Yoga is a unique concept that combines laughing without benefit of jokes, comedy or humor in the traditional sense.
Laughter is initially simulated as a physical exercise while maintaining eye contact and conducted with imaginary visual exercises in a playful childlike way. In most case simulated laughter leads to real and contagious laughter without cognitive thought.
The concept of Laughter Yoga is based on a scientific fact that the body cannot differentiate between unintentional or real laughter if done with willingness. One receives the same health benefits, whether laughter is real or not.
The term ‘Yoga’ refers to breathing techniques used and the actual process of sessions start with gentle warm-up techniques which include stretching, chanting, clapping and body movement. These movements help to break down inhibitions and develop feelings of childlike playfulness. Breathing exercises are used to prepare the lungs for laughter followed by a series of ‘laughter exercises’ that combine the method of acting and visualization techniques.
The concept of Laughter Yoga was developed by a medical doctor, Madan Kataria, MD in Mumbai, India, in 1995 when he was writing an article about laughter asthe best medicine for a health journal. He discovered many modern scientificstudies that described in great length the many proven benefits of laughter on thehuman mind and body.
He and his wife, a yoga teacher and 4 frients started Laughter Yoga in a local park and formed the first ‘Laughter Club’. New clubs are forming every day and total over 12,000 members worldwide, with over 600 in the USA alone.