Wellness is the key word today as people strive to maintain a healthy balance between the body and the mind which results in a complete feeling of well being. It is a state of optimal functionality and enhanced potential that leads to not only an absence of illness but also an improved quality of life resulting from better physical, mental, and emotional health.
Laughter Yoga – the best prescription
‘Laughter is the best medicine’ has scientifically proven to be the most powerful prescription for wellness. The effectiveness of laughter prompted Dr. Madan Kataria to start laughter clubs and generate more laughter into the lives of people. He developed a new exercise routine called Laughter Yoga which is fast sweeping the world and hundreds and thousands of people have benefited from this concept which combines laughter with yogic breathing or Pranayama. It is the yoga of the millennium as it provides the safest, easiest and the most economical workout for the body and the mind simultaneously.
Laughter Yoga is a powerful healing tool. It works simultaneously on the body and the mind healing psychological aberrations and physical manifestations of disease and injury. Realizing its many beneficial effects, many hospitals and medical clinics have started to utilize laughter in order to promote better health.
Factors that undermine wellness – how LaughterYoga reverses them
Weak immune system: The weakening of the immune system due to physical illness or mental stress and depression undermines the health condition and leads to numerous complications.
Regular practice of Laughter Yoga boosts the immune system which is the key to good health. This is due to an increase in immune enhancers and a decrease in the production of stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine which weaken immunity. Research conducted by Lee Berk, an immunologist at California's Loma Linda University Medical Center, has centered on these areas and supports the idea that not only does laughing have beneficial effects on the immune system; it may even combat certain diseases
Low self esteem: Laughter Yoga is a powerful tool for personal development and self confidence. It helps to overcome inhibitions and shyness and eases out awkwardness. Laughter and smiling not only helps to communicate with others effectively but also creates a safe environment for others to connect and come closer. This goes a long way in achieving success in business, personal and social life.
Stress and depression: Stress and depression are two major components of ill health. They diminish all sense of rationality and reasoning. A person suffering from stress in rendered unable to cope with the realities of life and undergoes tremendous mental anguish, which at times can manifest itself in physical form of sickness and disease.
Laughter Yoga is an instant stress buster. It has been scientifically proved that laughter reduces stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine and enhances positive emotions. Laughter switches on all that stress switches off.
Humor: Modern stressors and worries overshadow one’s sense of humor – People find it hard to laugh. Laughter Yoga is a simple exercise that does not rely on jokes or humor. Laughter is simulated physically but soon turns into real and contagious laughter with playfulness and eye contact within the group. It also helps to find one’s lost sense of humor. This enables people to laugh off their stress and they are able to exhibit an overall improvement in their well being and performance.
Shallow breathing: This is one of the major causal factors in the upkeep of wellness. Negative emotions constrict the supply of oxygen and induce shallow chest breathing. Laughter Yoga exercises are devised to facilitate longer exhalation and deep breathing through the diaphragm. This helps in flushing the lungs of stale residual air and increasing the net supply of oxygen. It also provides an excellent cardio and mid-body workout. The heart rate increase in one minute of hearty laughter can take ten minutes to achieve on exercise machines.
Poor circulation: Physical disease or mental problems all counter wellness. They restrict circulation and slow down the body system. Research has shown that laughter causes an ‘internal jogging’ that massages and promotes circulation to the digestive and lymphatic systems. It increases circulation to flush the body and organs of waste products leaving us ready to operate at peak performance. It even flushes the facial muscles and leaves the skin glowing and radiant.
Pent up feelings: Suppressed or blocked emotions can cause ongoing physical, mental and emotional problems. Their release can be life changing. Laughter provides an excellent non-violent method for emotional release and catharsis.
Laughter Yoga is an effective remedy to release these pent up feelings through emotional catharsis. By enhancing the free flow of emotions, laughter can dislodge blocked emotions stored in the body.
Social withdrawal: Constant negative strains in life force people to withdraw into being a recluse. Feelings of isolation and loneliness restrict social interaction and relationships. Social laughter clubs are idyllic to improve relations as they generate a caring and sharing atmosphere and are a catalyst for bonding and creating friendships. Group dynamics of laughter facilitates an easy outflow of stress and depression thereby promoting wellness.
Lack of exercise: Exercise is known to slow the aging process. Sedentary lifestyles and lack of time leads to reduced mobility and several physical complications. Laughter Yoga is a fun and easy exercise for all age groups and has a very high stick-with-it level. Dr William Fry, a well-known research scientist, who studied physiological effects of laughter, found that just 10 minutes of hearty laughter is equal to 30 minutes on a rowing machine!! This is in respect to cardiopulmonary endurance. The heart rate of 120 can be achieved much faster through laughing than running on the jogging track!! Therefore, Laughter Yoga is ideally suited for busy professionals and business people who have little or no time to exercise.
Maintains Emotional Balance
Emotional reaction is one of the major causes of stress and undermining relationships. It is comparatively easy to manage physical or mental stress but it's complex to handle emotional stress which can arise due to problems at home or at work, faulty relationships and several other strained situations. Faced with such circumstances, people find it hard to express their feelings and emotions. As a result, they suppress their emotions.
Laughter Yoga helps free flow of emotions and releasing pent up feelings. It defuses painful emotions like fear, anger and boredom thus preventing conflicts, easing tension and helping to us to understand and comprehend the other person’s point of view. Not only does it release these negative emotions, it also cultivates positive emotions like unconditional love, generosity, openness, compression and willingness to help and serve others.
In today’s workplace, wellness is a serious issue. With terms like "stress-related-illness" and "burnout" becoming household words, organizations look increasingly for ways to keep their workforce happy, healthy and productive. A recent study conducted confirmed that Laughter Yoga is the best exercise routine to reduse stress. This has proved very beneficial for corporates and companies as it helps to lower the levels of work stress, tension, anxiety to help facilitate peak performance and better productivity and profitability. More and more organizations are adopting the Laughter Yoga method to enhance their business and level of employee performance.
Scientific data also proves laughter to be an integral part of physical wellness. Dr. William Fry of
Laughter Yoga also increases the blood supply, increases the energy level, relaxes muscles, and works out all major internal systems like the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Furthermore, researchers report that laughter also affects the immune system. According to Dr. Lee Berk of the Loma Linda School of Public Health in California, laughing makes it grow stronger, with the body’s T-cells, natural killer cells and antibodies all showing signs of increased activity. Laughter Yoga is the easiest and the safest way to good health. Being both preventive and therapeutic, it has is a powerful tool for complete wellness.