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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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May 17, 2008

Laughter Yoga

By Worker Bee
7 Comments

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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TAGS:  humor

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7 Comments on "Laughter Yoga"

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primalman
primalman
8 years 4 months ago

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

CeCe
CeCe
8 years 3 months ago

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 😀

Aalap
7 years 4 months ago

I find this kind of obnoxious. Perhaps this is because I’m a comedian. I find forced laughter is rather kitschy and dishonest.

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[…] way, too). If you’re stressed out and on the verge of losing it, trying bursting into uproariouslaughter or forcing a big beaming smile. Think of a funny joke if it helps, but the important thing is the […]

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[…] way, too). If you’re stressed out and on the verge of losing it, trying bursting into uproarious laughter or forcing a big beaming smile. Think of a funny joke if it helps, but the important thing is the […]

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[…] Get in the habit of thinking through your physical sensation. Give the body its due as part of the intellect. Like all animals, we apprehend and interpret our environment bodily as well as abstractly. Ask the body in whatever manner of speaking you’re into, what do you need now? Movement? A nap? Some fresh air or sunlight? An extra layer of clothing? Maybe just a good laugh? […]

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[…] Laughter yoga shows that laughter can be consciously performed without anything funny happening and it will still have a positive impact. You can in effect fake it till you make it. But that’s not very funny and I’d suggest going for the real deal. Head out on the town with your funniest friend or kick back with the movie or TV show that makes you laugh until your face hurts. […]

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