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Laughter Practice for Children and Those Who Care for Them The Pied Piper of Laugh-a-Lot Program for ChildrenThe stressors of daily life - including the school environment - can stifle the natural stress reducing reflex of laughter. But give children permission to laugh especially within the usually serious academic environment and there is a welcome relief of stress and tension that can produce dramatically positive results.Hearty laughter can improve bold circulation and oxygen supply to the brain and internal organs, rid the lungs of stale air, improve concentration and increase learning ability and academic performance.

Children will suffer fewer attacks of coughs, colds, throat and chest infections, as laughter helps to build good immunity against common infection. When children are put in the right conditions to laugh at school, their confidence is boosted, their ability to handle stress improves and bullying decreases. They develop a positive attitude, even in challenging times. Laughter Yoga also stimulates their right brain hemisphere, enhancing their creative abilities. Imagine what a short laughter session can do prior to a high-stakes exam, sports competition, or public speaking event. Laughter Yoga is a unique form of exercise, offering participants the opportunity to feel refreshed, stress-free and confident, providing all the physical and psychological benefits of laughing without the necessity of feeling good to start. Scientific research shows that the body does not know the difference between real or faked laughter so the old adage of “fake it until you make it” rings true.

Laughter Yoga was founded in 1995 by Dr. Madan Kataria, a medical doctor from Mumbai, India. He and his wife (Madhuri) developed a program that combines laughter as a physical and playful body exercise with yoga in the form of deep yogic breathing (no poses). Initially, the laughter is often forced, but quickly the contagious nature of laughter in a group, creates a great team atmosphere and heals people, inside and out. What started as a group of five people in a park in Mumbai on March 13, 1995, has now become a worldwide phenomenon with thousands of clubs in over 80 countries.
Laughter Yoga helps children manage mental, physical and emotional stresses, both in school and in their personal lives. It releases tension, soothes pain, relaxes muscles, clears the mind, and makes the spirit soar.

Laughter Yoga consists of laughter exercises, breathing, clapping and meditation. Simple, easily learned and repeatable, your children are taught laughter-communication games which are powerful tools that opens the lines of communication between students, and teachers, delivers an increased sense of connection and community, improves concentration and reduces stress and anxiety.
People who laugh together are more likely to collaborate, to offer helpful suggestions, and to dissipate tensions that can otherwise accumulate when at school.

Laughter Yoga also delivers an increased sense of connection and community, improved concentration and significant stress reduction for both children and their caregivers.

“After my first laughter yoga session with Kathryn Kimmins I was so inspired and felt so much lighter and happier, I decided to try one of the laughter yoga exercises with my grade one students. I wanted to see if it made any difference to their concentration level and the mood of the room.

We were sitting in a circle when I asked one of my shy students a simple addition question. After the student answered correctly, I promptly replied “fabulous, fabulous, great”! The reaction I got was unexpected. Most of the students repeated the phrase, with great big smiles and the student who answered the addition question was beaming from ear to ear with the biggest smile on his face that I had ever seen. The whole atmosphere of the room changed and every single student sat on the carpet with one hand in the air waiting to answer my next addition question.

Since that experience, when I want to increase the positivity in the room or give a particular child an added boost to his/her confidence, I will use the phrase “fabulous, fabulous, great”! It’s so popular now, that many of the children will initiate it themselves”. ~~ Judy Mendleson, Grade 1 teacher, Westwood Public School, HWDSB

On two separate occasions Mountview Public School and St. Vincent de Paul School Day Care Program invited me to their literacy night to offer an interactive educational program for the Junior Kindergarteners to the 6th grade students.

The groups engaged in an all-out high impact exercise workout. Parents, students and staff shook hands and laughed. They gave each other laughing shocks, chortled with evil-sounding laughter, put pretend ice-cubes down each other’s backs, ran around like super heroes powered by laughter, behaved like they had toads in their pockets, sang with gibberish to a pretend orchestra and jumped around like giggling space aliens. The school gym rang out with many bursts of full-belly laughter. One of the parents mentioned that Laughter Yoga should be part of the curriculum and a grade six student said he liked the relaxation meditation at the end because it gave him time to relax and have some quiet time. Other children responded by following me around like I was the Pied Piper of Laugh-a-Lot.

“I learned very young if I wanted to feel better all I had to do was laugh. You've heard the expression, laugh it off, well even when I was young I knew how important it was to let go. I never forgot this expression and lived by it through the tough times and the good ones”.

When children are put in the right conditions to laugh at school, or at home their confidence is boosted, and their ability to handle stress can improve, thereby eliminating the amount of bullying. They develop a positive attitude, even in challenging times. Laughter Yoga also stimulates their right brain hemisphere, relieves pain naturally and enhances their creative abilities.

Laughing with children and their parent(s) in a safe environment where they have undergone extreme stressors in their family life due to an abusive parent has proven that even children and their parent(s) suffering with low self esteem, feeling unloved, abandoned, and beaten up mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually can benefit from Laughter Yoga.

“The Pied Piper of Laugh-a-Lot” came about after laughing and playing with a group of children for half an hour. As I walked over to get a drink of water, I noticed that the children were right behind me in a straight line, giggling and laughing waiting for me with anticipation to begin the next round of belly laughs.

So the next time you witness the joy of laughter from a child, join in!

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 3 February 2015 00:17:32 )