The original name of Laughter yoga in Sanskrit is "HASYA YOGA".
Laughter Yoga is a deceptively simple, yet very powerful and potentially life-changing form of exercise that anybody can do anytime and anywhere. Its core premise is that your body can and knows how to laugh, regardless of what your mind has to say. Laughter Yoga is a body-mind approach to laughter, not something mind-body. The distinction is very important. Here you do not need to have a sense of humor, know jokes, or even be happy. Laughter Yoga invites you to fake it until it becomes real.
Laughter Yoga is non-political, non-religious, non-racial, non-threatening, and non-competitive. It comes with no strings attached. There are no jokes or comedy, and there is no judging. Because there is no mind, there is also no ego, and no room for conflict or power struggle. Laughter is a universal language that transcends all barriers: language, age, gender, race, and social background. It improves interpersonal relationships and enhances communication. It interrupts the power struggle and breaks down the instinctive barriers between people.
At a deeper level it proves that pain can be overcome and also that we can all live in peace together. It is now indisputable that laughter plays a role in healing, staying healthy, controlling stress reactions, and maintaining emotional balance. Laughter has been rediscovered as a powerful tool in the battle against many mental and physical diseases. Laughter Yoga also teaches emotional resilience: how to make happiness a choice and not a consequence, and how to respond positively even in the face of adversity.
Laughing at OneSelf
A very special and heartly thanks to Dr Madan Kataria and Mrs Madhuri Kataria for teaching me and making it known to the whole world.
What is Laughter Yoga?
Laughter Yoga is the only form of exercise that allows you to laugh heartily, engaging your diaphragm, for an extended period of time. It is the purest form of laughter because it is unconditional. It puts you in touch with the very essence of who you are: loving, open, playful, and childlike. This is one of the many reasons that make Laughter Yoga fun and why it is becoming so popular worldwide: it encourages us to play well with others, without judgment or competition.
To gain tremendous power and to utilise laughter’s potential to support your journey into wellbeing. Laughter is the body’s natural antidote to stress. Science has proven that your body cannot tell the difference between ‘pretend’ and ‘real’ laughter so you gain the same benefits whether you fake it or make it. Laughter Clubs use laughter as a form of exercise which leads to natural laughter so the day you feel most grim could be the day you gain most from Laughter Yoga.
Laughter and Yoga: It’s All about the Breath
Many wonder what is the connection between Laughter and Yoga, and if there is one at all. There is one, and that connection is the breath (there are no contortions or fancy movements in Laughter Yoga and all can participate and benefit).
The word Yoga arises from the Sanskrit root “Yuj” which means to integrate and harmonize. It means integrating all aspects of life, harmonizing our bodies with our minds, hearts, spirits, and society. There are many different paths of Yoga with the same goal.
Laughter Yoga teaches that the mind and body mirror one another, and that breathing is the link between the two. This is extremely important because when you deepen your breath, you calm your body (the heart rate quickly slows down following the exercise since there is less work to do; the blood is already charged with fresh oxygen). When you calm your body, you calm your mind (you cannot be physically relaxed and mentally stressed at the same time). When your body and mind are relaxed you start becoming more aware of the present. The ability to fully live and experience the “now” is of utmost importance because it is the only moment where we can experience happiness. Being in the now frees us from the regrets of the past and the anxieties of the future and enables us to enjoy simply being.
The majority of types and forms of the laughter exercises we practice are directly connected in one way or another with the principles and maxims of Yoga. Some are in fact, yogic exercises taught through the ages as Hasya Yoga (the branch of Yoga dealing with laughter).
These Yogic Exercises include:
Pranayama is an important yogic exercise that involves deep and rapid breathing. It has been liberally introduced between Laughter Yoga sessions as a pause and to increase lung capacity. This basic and important yogic exercise is further used as the underlying foundation of the hearty laughter pose in Laughter Yoga, where the arms are raised up to the sky and a cycle of rapid inhalation/exhalation ensues.
Kapalbhati is a famous yogic exercise that entails contraction of the throat and palate muscles and entails a jerky and rhythmic movement of the diaphragm to expel air in a series of bursts. This is precisely the foundation of the HO-HO HA-HA-HA exercise between each Laughter Yoga session, used as both a warm-up exercise and to charge the atmosphere with cheer and festivity.
Bhastrika & Swash Shuddhi are similar yogic exercises used to clean the respiratory passages in forceful jerks of breathing and the rhythmic contraction of lung and throat muscles – the very same muscles and actions used in Laughter Yoga during the HO-HO HA-HA-HA exercise and other playful laughter.
Talasana is the yogic stretching of arms and exercising the neck and shoulders while taking a deep breath. This is used in the Laughter Yoga cry-laugh and various other laughter exercises.
Simha Mudra is the famous lion laughter of Laughter Yoga, which entails keeping the eyes wide open, hands in the form of the Lion Paws, fully extending out the tongue, and roaring like a lion.
Laughter Yoga Echoes All Schools of Yoga: Get Out of Your Mind
Laughter Yoga eliminates the need for the kind of considerations that run in other yoga classes. Am I misinterpreting this? Am I being open-minded? Am I doing this correctly? Is my spine in effective alignment? Is this working? What is wrong with me that I do not like this? Do my arms looks fat? There really isn’t much room for that in a Laughter Yoga class. It’s too simple and too playful. All you have to do is laugh. It frees up a lot of potential within you to relax and be more open to connect to yourself and to others.
Ultimate Goal: Self Peace = World Peace
The ultimate goal of the worldwide Laughter Yoga movement is health, joy, and world peace through laughter. The practice of Laughter Yoga causes the body to release into the bloodstream high concentrations of communication substances related to feelings of happiness, warmth, unconditional love, bonding, tolerance, forgiveness, generosity, and compassion. Let’s call this a joy cocktail. The presence of this joy cocktail of hormones and neuro-peptides precludes the production of other hormones and neuro-peptides that correspond with hatred, fear, violence, jealousy, aggression, and the emotions associated with war and oppression.
By practicing Laughter Yoga in groups, the amount of the joy cocktail is raised to high concentrations through the multiplier effect. People leaving Laughter Yoga sessions go forth and interact with many people who are in turn affected to varying degrees by this powerful state of joy. They in turn ‘infect’ other people they come into contact with… and so on.
World peace first starts inside every one of us. We don’t laugh because we are happy. We are happy because we laugh.
Laughter Yoga is suitable for everyone, but it will be of especial benefit to people under high pressure and who are stressed or unwell.
Laughter clubs are free, non-profit, non-political, non-religious, and are run by volunteers. The most you should expect to be charged is costs coverage for venue hire, or similar overheads.
Laughter Yoga is also known as "Instant Yoga" as one can feel its benefits instantly.
"Laughter is the shortest distance between Human beings and Love even takes that distance away"