Did you know laughter is perhaps the most enjoyable exercise you can do? Lesley Lyle shows us 7 reasons NOT to try laughter yoga
‘At one time or another, most of us have tried to improve our health. We may have started a diet or exercise programme to improve our physical health, or some kind of psychological intervention to improve our mood and thought processes. If so, we probably soon realised that positive change requires sustained effort over time.
So when you hear about Laughter Yoga, an exercise that is simple, easy and (wait for it!) enjoyable, it can be difficult not to feel rather sceptical. For instance sceptics know –
1. You need to select an appropriate exercise for the benefit you want to achieve.
True, you can find many separate exercises that will increase your physical, emotional, social and psychological health but Laughter Yoga has a positive effect on ALL of these!
2. You have to have discipline and ‘make’ yourself stick to a new regime.
Think back to the last time you had a really good laugh – how did you feel? People look forward to a Laughter Yoga session because it’s great fun and easy to do. Time flies when you are laughing and most people don’t want to stop.
3. With any exercise, ‘practice makes perfect’.
Everyone knows how to laugh and so everyone starts out as an expert. A Laughter Yoga Leader simply facilitates your laughing experience. Laughter Yoga is suitable for every age from young to old.
4. It takes a while before you get results.
You can feel the benefits of Laughter Yoga within a few minutes. Increased oxygen and blood flow gives an energy boost and ‘happy chemicals’ increase positive mood and this effect can be felt for several days afterwards
5. Starting a new exercise regime can be expensive.
There is no special equipment of clothing required and everyone in the family can join in (it’s an especially lovely experience to share laughter with your loved ones). Laughter Yoga is often offered for free or with a small fee to cover costs of venue hire.
6. Not everyone wants to do yoga.
The term ‘yoga’ in Laughter Yoga refers to the yoga type of breathing, ‘Pranayama’, in which the exhaled breath is longer than the inhaled breath. There are no yogic type poses, and no knowledge of yoga is required.
7. Laughter Yoga sounds like an ‘alternative’ or ‘off-the-wall’ idea.
Laughter Yoga may sound odd, but its origin is soundly based in the scientific evidence that shows that there are many therapeutic benefits from laughter. Including improvements to the cardiovascular and immune system and general wellbeing.
Usually, when something appears to be, ‘too good to be true’, it turns out that it is too good to be true, but laughter appears to be the exception. There is a reason why babies spontaneously start laughing at a few months old and continue to laugh throughout their childhood. For many reasons most adults laugh infrequently and only when there is a reason. Science has shown that any sort of laughter, including laughter as an exercise, can invoke the healthy physiological response with its many benefits. Laughter truly is ‘the best medicine’ and Laughter Yoga is the simplest way to ensure that it is guaranteed. Many sceptics have tried Laughter Yoga and found, that despite their reservations, it really does work ☺’
So what’s stopping you from trying laughter? Here’s Lesley’s 6 ways to improve your day with laughter