Laughter Yoga is a serious stress reliever. Come out to Lynn Hall Park on Fort Myers Beach any Friday morning at 8 a.m. and bring the whole family to try out a Laughter Yoga class. The class Meg Scott teaches is free but bring $2 for parking and a beach towel.
Laughter Yoga was created by an Indian physician, Dr. Madan Kataria. While studying the effects of laughter on the body, he discovered this could boost the immune system, raise feel-good endorphins, and lower blood pressure while reducing stress hormones naturally.
In 1995 Dr. Kataria offered his first class to five people in a park in Mumbai, India. This worldwide movement has blossomed into six thousand laughter clubs throughout sixty countries. Laughter Yoga clubs are in session from Asia to Europe and throughout America.
Laughter Yoga Better than Humor
Natural laughter in our everyday lives isn’t enough to show beneficial results. Laughter Yoga, on the other hand, is a simple system to extend laughter. To receive the scientifically proven benefits, laughter has to come from the diaphragm and last for a longer period of time than naturally produced.
In Dr. Kataria’s program, gut-busting laughter combined with yogic breathing is used to produce results. The participants laugh continuously and with great gusto for fifteen minutes with short breaks of yogic breathing.
Since the body apparently cannot differentiate between forced and real laughter, positive physiological and psychological benefits can be obtained by this continuous and deep-reaching laughter.
Laughter is the Best Medicine
People claim to have experienced life-changing results from Dr. Kataria’s Laughter Yoga program.
A woman named Anna from Copenhagen, Denmark, shares her story on the official Laughter Yoga website. Having gone through breast cancer surgery and chemotherapy in 2000, she found herself increasingly frustrated and angry until she added Laughter Yoga to her life. She claims to have experienced an increase in overall happiness even while suffering through her difficult chemo treatments.
Steven M. Sultanoff, Ph.D., past President of Association of Applied and Therapeutic Humor, reminds us that, “Laughter has been shown to increase tolerance of pain while boosting the body’s production of infection-fighting antibodies.”
Laughter Yoga in Business Communities
Stress is a common experience in our fast-paced lives. Due to overwhelming stress in the workplace, Laughter Yoga has entered with a smile and a hearty laugh.
Dr. Kataria introduced his program to benefit Mumbai’s business community at Electronic Products of India, where workers start their busy day with a laughter class. Laughter combined with yogic breathing techniques makes for a happier and more productive work force.
Tension release, deep breathing and deep laughter combine to lower stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline), lowering blood pressure while boosting the body’s immune system. Laughter has also been shown to lower blood sugar after a meal (Keiko Hayashi, Ph.D., Japan).
Laughter Yoga Social Clubs
Worldwide Laughter Yoga clubs are dedicated to bringing joy and health to people everywhere. Free of membership fees or dues, they are run by non-religious, non-political trained volunteers.
Dr. Kataria’s desire to improve lives through a natural and fun system gives new meaning to the saying, “Laughter is the best medicine.” He’s living proof of it.
If you are interested in trying a Laughter Yoga class, there is one available on Fort Myers Beach weekly from January through April in Lynn Hall Park by Times Square. Contact the instructor via email for more details.