About Laughter Yoga
Laughter Yoga (Hasyayoga) is the practice of achieving unity through unconditional laughter, which provides the same physiological and psychological benefits as spontaneous laughter. Laughter Yoga can be practised alone or in groups, often with eye contact and playfulness between participants. Intentional laughter soon progresses to real and contagious laughter.
In 1995, laughter yoga was conceived as a concept by the Indian physician Dr Madan Kataria who created laughter clubs in parks in Mumbai. The evolution of these laughter clubs was later documented in 2002 by Dr Kataria in his book ‘Laugh For No Reason.’
Laughter Yoga is performed for happiness, health and wellbeing without any humorous reason to laugh and is based on the concept that the body cannot recognise the difference between ‘real’ and ‘fake’ laughter.
Laughter Yoga sessions may start with gentle warm-up techniques which include stretching, chanting, clapping, eye contact and body movement, to help break down inhibitions and encourage a sense of playfulness. Laughter exercises – combining the method of acting and visualisation techniques with child-like playfulness – are interspersed with gentle breathing exercises throughout the practice. Twenty minutes of laughter is sufficient to develop full physiological benefits.
Laughter is known for its medical benefits, including benefits to cardiovascular health and mood.
Studies suggest that laughter:
- Strengthens the immune system.
- Is a powerful cardiovascular workout – 10 minutes of hearty laughter is equal to 30 minutes on the rowing machine.
- Increases blood circulation and relaxes the muscles.
- Is a powerful antidote for depression, reduces blood pressure, reduces symptoms of allergies, asthma, arthritis and helps in chronic illnesses like cancer.
- Reduces physical, mental and emotional stress.
Map of Laughter Yoga Clubs in the UK: