They do say that laughter is the best medicine. An Indian physician, Dr. Maden Kataria, pioneered the concept of laughing yoga in 1995 and has been spreading his message via “Laughter clubs” around the world since that time.

Laughing yoga is a real thing and the idea that mirth and humor can help relieve stress and tension is a universal truth.

A typical laughter yoga session gathers a group of individuals in one space. They begin with some simple stretching and mindful breathing before the real work begins. The group sits comfortably and simply laughs for no reason at all. This forced laughter quickly becomes genuine laughter and after 15 to 20 minutes, the session ends. The participants leave with a sense of well-being and honest joy.

Of course, laughter has long been a stress reliever throughout cultures. However, Dr. Kataria and other experts believe that laughing yoga can help in a number of additional ways. It helps to exercise both the heart and the lungs. It releases endorphins into our blood stream, which are the same feel-good hormones responsible for the “runner’s high” experienced by individuals who tackle marathons regularly. A study in Japan even showed that laughing yoga can lower blood pressure.

Are you thinking about trying laughter yoga? Join a group near you. Meet-up.com offers ways to connect to others in your area. Remember, a key to the success of laughing yoga is to be together with other people.

Consider the mantra:

“May all beings everywhere be happy and free. May the thoughts and actions of our lives contribute to that happiness and to that freedom for all.”

As you prepare for to add laughing yoga to your life, consider these easy steps:

  • Know that laughter doesn’t need a reason
  • Hold your hands to your heart and laugh
  • Hold your hands to your head and laugh
  • Hold your hands over your belly and laugh
  • Stretch your hands above your head and laugh

How can laughing yoga help reduce your stress and pain? 

Image by nosha via Flickr