‘Laughter Yoga’ is More than Funny

‘Laughter Yoga’ is More than Funny
I admit to being skeptical about "laughter yoga" before I tried it. I worried it might require pretzel-like poses I’m unable to perform even on a good day. Or someone would tell bad jokes I didn’t find funny — especially on a day when I was feeling low. Or, even worse, I would be expected to be funny. Most days it's a struggle to be present, never mind funny. Then I remembered feeling better when I laughed, and I decided to find out why. From research done by the late William Fry, MD, of Stanford University, I learned that laughter increases endorphins, the feel-good hormones. It also decreases cortisol, the stress hormone. Most importantly, it deepens respirations. Taking deeper breaths strengthens the immune system and provides a true aerobic workout. Fry claimed that one minute of hearty laughter was the cardio equivalent of 10 minutes of jogging or rowing. That sounded almost too good to be true for someone like me who is often too sore or too fatigued to exercise. I decided to give laughter yoga a try. On arrival, I joined other participants sitting on chairs in a circle. We were instructed to pretend we were in a serious place where silence is expected, like a religious service or a chamber music concert. Suddenly a word or sight reminds us of something hysterically funny. It had the desired effect. Someone snickered. It spread. Snickers became giggles. Soon everyone was affected. I, too, struggled to hold back audible laughter. It couldn’t be done. Then everyone was laughing. It is contagious after all! The harder we laughed, the funnier it became. Hilarity filled the room and continued for several minutes. Gradually the laughter receded to giggles, then to snickers. Finally, there was silence once more. Everyone sat back, tired and hap
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  1. Ann Flynn says:

    This is so true and really works… I remember 4yrs ago when my yoga teacher mentioned laughing yoga I thought it was a bit strange…. Thank you so much for the reminder and I will be taking up laughing yoga again.. Especially on my low mood day’s…. Please try it everyone x

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