Laughter Yoga is creating smiles across Arizona as people realize the enormous health benefits of laughter. The rising awareness has increased the number of people joining the existing Laughter Clubs in the city.
Jana Martin, leader of Tucson Tuesday Laughter Yoga said that it is an ideal solution for people who cant move very much because most laughter can be done either standing or even sitting in one place. The body doesnt know the difference between fake and genuine laughter. One can reap all the benefits through fake laughter, but the two eventually morph together. Laughter Yoga can be awkward at first, but with the help of eye contact and contagious laughter, the nervousness is short lived. Martin added that Laughter Yoga helps her breathe deeper, sleep better and improve her digestive system while forming a sense of community with her peers.
Dr. Gulshan Sethi, a Laughter Yoga instructor and a heart surgeon for over 40 years prescribes a daily laughing routine, for about 30 minutes, to receive long lasting psychological and physiological benefits. After being diagnosed with spinal stenosis, and enduring extreme pain on a daily basis, he found laughter to be the best therapy.
It can also help prevent common colds as well as cure diseases. The slow deep breathing in Laughter Yoga improves heart rate variability, said Dr. Sethi. When laughing, air is expired and gets rid of residual air in the lungs. This decreases the moisture in the bronchial tree, and people are less likely to develop infections. He also said laughing releases endorphins, which affects a persons overall well being while decreasing stress hormones and physical pain.
Laughter Yoga also increases the number and the activity of natural killer cells, the cells which kill cancer, Sethi added. Another study out of Iran found that Laughter Yoga can lower stress in cancer sufferers before chemotherapy through the release of endorphins.
In Tempe, Linda Scharf a Laughter Yoga leader at the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts
said she has witnessed many people gain emotional benefits from Laughter Yoga after traumatic events. People have come To Laughter Club meetings after losing a spouse or a child or while going through a difficult divorce, a serious illness, or other traumatic circumstances. Laughter Yoga gives them a way to laugh when they dont have a reason to do so and it can change their life, Scharf said.
Having a daily laughter practice is spiritual because it helps you not only look for the good in everything, but contribute to the good in everything. It helps to change your attitude towards life and enables you to cope with different challenges with a smile.
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