Embracing Laughter Yoga
The movie “Patch Adams” in 1998 based on the book Gesundheit: Good Health is A Laughing Matter, tells the true story of Dr. Hunter Adams and his idea of a medical clinic built around his philosophy of treating patients through humor and compassion. Thus, he wears a colorful clown outfit in his own Gusundheit Clinic in West Virginia. Laughter and humor—- as of late—- are still practiced in his institute and he continues to treat patients around the world with his unorthodox method.
Laughter is infectious. It is even far more contagious than any dry cough, a sniffle or a sneeze. It is proven that laughter—- when shared—- binds people together and increases happiness and intimacy. At the very peak of laughter our body experiences physical changes such as the strengthening of our immune system, boosting our energy. It diminishes pain and protects us from the damaging effects of stress. Best of all, laughter is fun and free.
Given that it is not a panacea for mankind’s illnesses and troubles, laughter on the other hand is a potent antidote of sadness, loneliness, pain and stress. Nothing works faster in bringing the mind and body back into balance, than a good laugh because it lightens your burden as it inspires and gives people hope. It is addictive, but never abusive. It’s never illegal but you can be obsessed. Humor connects you to others, keeping you grounded and focused.
The ability to laugh easily, frequently and habitually is a marvelous resource for overcoming challenges, improving your personal life, love life and sex. It also enhances your relationships with your family, colleagues, clients and friends. With so much power to heal and renew, laughter acts as supplementary medicine for emotional, physical and mental health.
Health benefits of laughter:
Relaxing the whole body. After a good hearty laugh, our muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes. Slowly, we are relieved of physical tension and stress leaving us flexed and renewed in spirit to last the whole day.
Enhancing the immune system. Stress has been blamed for most of our illnesses. But when stress hormones are decreasing because of laughter, our body increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
Endorphins are released. These are called the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. In the course of laughter or any exercise, endorphins are triggered to release in our nervous system to promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily ease pain. In addition to decreased feelings of pain, secretion of endorphins leads to feelings of “natural high” or euphoria, modulation of appetite and increases sex drive.
Protecting the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow. With this indication, laughter protects you against heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
Shared laughter is powerful fun
Laughing alone seemed a loony stake. However weird can it be for others, it is never a crime to laugh solo. Other than laughing alone, shared laughter is one of the most effective tools for keeping relationships spanking new and electrifying. Team building exercises or emotional sharing builds lasting relationship bonds, but sharing laughter adds zest, energy, and elasticity to each individual participant. The healing effect of humor and laughter goes beyond resentments, differences and disagreements. Laughter paves the way to unite people during difficult times.
Relationship work-out via humor and laughter allows you to:
Take self less seriously. Humor gets you out of your head and away from your troubles.
Being less defensive. Laughter helps you forget judgments, criticisms, and doubts.
Release inhibitions. Your fear of holding back and holding on are set aside.
Express your “true colors.” Deeply felt emotions and negative feelings are allowed to rise to the surface with less bitterness.
Laughter Yoga: Dr. Madan Kataria, dubbed as “The Guru of Giggling” by the London Times is the International Founder of Laughter Yoga Clubs Movement based in Mumbai, India.
While on research about the benefits of laughter, he was amazed at the profound effects of “ being happy” to sick people that he decided to find out how to apply this to his patients. This is the result of Laughter Yoga—a unique exercise routine that combines group laughter exercises with yoga breathing which allows anyone to laugh without using jokes, humor or comedies. What started with just five people in a public park in Mumbai in 1995, it has grown into a worldwide laughter movement of more than 6000 Laughter Yoga Clubs in over 60 countries.
In Metro Manila, Ms. Elvie Punzalan Estavillo is the certified Laughter Yoga Instructor and a pioneer of Laughter Yoga Club Philippines. She writes every Tuesday for The Philippine Star under the Health Section. For those interested to join the 1st Certified Laughter Yoga Leader’s Training in November 20-21, 2010 in Tagaytay, please visit www.laughteryogaclub.phils for more details.