Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
17 May

Laughter Yoga

LaughterAh, we all know that feeling of a really good laugh, the kind that leaves you heaving, weepy and pleasantly revived, sighing with satisfaction. Your muscles relax, your face softens (or hurts depending how long you were in stitches), your mood lightens, and your body feels that gratifying high. (Perhaps you’re thinking to yourself now, “Geez, it’s been too long.”)

Dr. Madan Kataria, a family physician from India and founder of the laughter yoga movement, was researching the positive effects of laughter on health when he came up with the idea of formally incorporating laughter into a wellness routine. And we adults, apparently, need the reminder. While children laugh some 400 times a day, we grown-ups only get in about 15 chuckles on average. (Are we lame or what?)

Turns out those belly laughs could be healthy for that belly as well as every other part of you! The benefits? Line ‘em up: decreases stress (lower cortisol levels can help reduce belly fat), bolsters immune function, triggers the release of endorphins, “oxygenates” the body through deeper breathing, promotes better circulation, enhances cardiovascular function, exercises muscles (especially in the core), and “helps with digestion and constipation.” (Insert your own joke here.)

And yukking it up can give you a real workout as well. In fact, 20 seconds of intense laughter, according to certified laughter yoga leader, Barb Fisher, offers the equivalent 3 minutes of exercise on a rowing machine. (Not that we’re advocating giving up your workout routine in exchange for Comedy Central…) The yoga laughter movement now boasts some 5000 clubs in 50 countries.

Here’s some video to get you in the mood. We promise it will get you chuckling. (And that’s the point, after all.)

(Man, sure beats that drill sergeant spin class….) Now this is an exercise routine worth making time for. Sign us up!

One last thought. Wouldn’t it be fun to “practice” (with no warning or explanation) in the break room at work? Oh, the things we do to amuse ourselves….

Anyone out there practice laughter yoga? What about your own brand of humor workout? Do share! And be sure to check out Dr. Kataria’s website.

metrognome0 Flickr Photo (CC)

Further Reading:

Ten Things You Can Do Today to Feel Better Tomorrow

Worrying is Misplaced Emotion

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You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Interesting. I wonder how forced laughter compares to authentic laughter in terms of health impact effect sizes.

    primalman wrote on May 17th, 2008
  2. I did this recently through a local MeetUp group and it really was uplighting, relaxing and rejuvenating. The light mood extended into the following couple of days. If I could do this every day with a group I would. Sometimes I ‘force’ myself to laugh when I am at home by myself…good medicine 😀

    CeCe wrote on May 29th, 2008
  3. I find this kind of obnoxious. Perhaps this is because I’m a comedian. I find forced laughter is rather kitschy and dishonest.

    Aalap wrote on April 28th, 2009

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