I recently attended a conference for orientation and mobility instructors. It was a great conference made even better by the offering of Yoga sessions.
I happily marched off to start my days with yoga (I had never been to a yoga class before). In addition there was a Laughter Yoga Session listed in the conference program. I figured that I would fit in just fine as I am not too coordinated and my poses don’t always look like what they are supposed to. So laughing would not be an issue.
However, the session had nothing to do with traditional yoga. It was all about laughing and the benefits of laughing. And yes there really are Laughing Yoga Classes!
If you think about it, one of the best feelings ever is a stomach grabbing belly laugh! Although Our bodies and mind benefit from laughter we, as adults, don’t laugh often enough. Especially that gut splitting I am going to wet my pants laugh.
The premiss of Laughter Yoga is that you fake laughter until it actually becomes real. Research has shown that your body really doesn’t know the difference between fake laughter and real laughter! You reap the benefits no matter what.
So what are the benefits of laughter?
Dr. Lee Berk and Dr. Stanley Tan at the Loma Linda University in California have been researching the benefits of laughter. What they found has me thinking about adding a “laughter fix” into my 21 Day Fix daily routine! This is what they have found:
- Laughing lowers blood pressure, reduces the damaging effects of stress and boosts your immune system.
- Laughter can actually help you tone your abs! As you laugh the muscles in your stomach expand and contract. That is why when you laugh uncontrollably your stomach hurts! So laugh till it hurts and then some more!
- Laughing improves cardiac health and burns calories! Woo Hoo! Have you been told “no strenuous exercise” by your physician? No worries, try laughing. It is actually a good cardio workout. It gets your heart pumping and according to the Centers for Disease Control, laughing for 10 to 15 minutes a day can burn 10 to 40 calories.
- Laughing boosts T cells: In our bodies we have T cells that are hanging out waiting to be activated to boost our immune systems. When we laugh, they immediately begin to help fight off sickness.
- Laughing Triggers the release of endorphin’s which help you feel good and ease pain. The result is the you feel…”happy”! And people who are happy tend to a more positive outlook on life! They fight diseases better than those who are negative.
So did the fake laughter turn to real laughter in the Laughter Yoga session? After many very silly and ridiculous activities it not only turned to real laughter but to tear streaming, stomach aching, feel good laughter! I am sure I burned a few calories!