I recently got my certification as a Laughter Yoga leader and it’s one of the best things I ever did! The first time I experienced laughter yoga was after a grueling three and a half hour drive through some nasty winter weather and some wicked traffic. Needless to say my stress levels were pretty high and my muscles were very tense. This was all during a very stressful time in my life both mentally and emotionally. I was carrying alot of stress, that’s for sure. After a short half hour session of laughter yoga, my level of relaxation and well-being astounded me! Not only was my body more relaxed and loose, but my mind was relaxed and my well-being soared. The world was a great place to be and my body was a great place in which to enjoy it. So, I was hooked and couldn’t wait to share this incredible miracle with the whole world!
I know that stress is the underlying cause of most dis-ease in humans, so it’s no surprise to me that laughter is so healing. Here are some of the benefits you can enjoy after a good laugh:
Releases feel-good hormones
Laughing leads to the release of endorphins, a natural opiate which acts as a natural pain killer and also stimulates feelings of caring and forgiveness. Endorphins create a positive state of mind and boost optimism, self-confidence and feelings of self-worth. Blood and all major organs are fully oxygenated leaving us bursting with energy.
Laughter is a combination of deep inhalation and full exhalation, inspiring excellent ventilation sending oxygen to every cell in the body. It increases circulation, helps flush the organs of waste products and helps you to operate at peak performance since it clears even down to the cellular level.
It acts as an internal massage
During laughter, the muscles massage the internal organs and promoting circulation to the digestive and lymphatic systems.
Strengthens the immune system
Laughter deepens the breath, which is shown to increase lymphatic flow, which in turn is already thoroughly documented and proven to boost the immune system with fast increases in levels of anti-viral and anti-infection cells (including the so-called “natural-killer” cells which help fight cancer). Laughter also increases the levels of immunoglobulin A (IgA), the first line of defense protecting us against viral infections such as coughs and colds. Immune, digestive & sexual systems that are switched off by stress are switched on.
By enhancing the free flow of emotions, laughter can help dislodge blocked emotions stored in the body. 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.
The facial exercise of laughter reduces wrinkles and sagging by firming and toning facial muscles, making them look younger. Any exercise that is so oxygenating and uplifting is known to slow down the aging process.
De-Stressing and Uplifting
Laughter is done in the present moment. This together with the combined health benefits taking place in your body, allows you to feel relief, releasing stored stress, opening your mind and heart and bonding you to others and your world.
It’s not always easy being a human, but it seems we have a built in mechanism that we can call upon whenever we need it to help us through the hard parts!