Laughter Yoga and Laughter Therapy

The Yoga Connection

 
In a nutshell, "Yoga" means "union" (between the left and right brain, the masculine and the feminine, the mind and the body) and aims to create balance & harmony in all aspect of human life. Laughter Yoga shares the same goal.

Laughter puts us intensely in the moment. The ability to fully live and experience the “now” is of utmost importance because it is the only moment where we can experience happiness.

Link to Sebastian's orginial article
Yoga teaches that the mind and body mirror one another and that the breath is the link between the two. In Laughter Yoga, "Laughter" is used as a form of breath work and an excuse to breathe deeper into the abdomen. It gently expands the lung capacity by increasing abdominal breathing. It effectively flushes the 2/3 of "stale air" that most people unknowingly keep inside. Repeated practice teaches one to become more and more consciously aware of his/her own breathing pattern, bringing one into the fearless, trusting and loving "here" and "now".

Awareness is the first step to improvement. Mastery of the breath (in due time) is effectively mastery of the mind and the body.

The majority of types and forms of the laughter exercises we practice are directly connected in one way or the other with the principles and maxims of yoga - some are in fact yogic exercises taught through the ages as Hasya Yoga (the branch of yoga dealing with laughter). These yogic exercises include:

yoga connection Pranayama - is an important yogic exercise which involves deep and rapid breathing. It has been liberally introduced between Laughter Yoga sessions as a pause and to increase lung capacity. This basic and important yogic exercise is further used as the underlying foundation of the hearty laughter pose in Laughter Yoga, where the arms are raised up to the sky and a cycle of rapid inhalation/exhalation ensues.

Kapalbhati - is a famous yogic exercise which entails contraction of the throat and palate muscles and entails a jerky and rhythmic movement of the diaphragm to expel air in a series of bursts. This is precisely the foundation of the HO-HO HA-HA-HA exercise between each Laughter Yoga session, used as both a warm up exercise and to charge the atmosphere with cheer and festivity.

Bhastrika & swash shuddhi - are similar yogic exercises used to clean the respiratory passages in forceful jerks of breathing and the rhythmic contraction of lung and throat muscles - the very same muscles and actions used in Laughter Yoga per the HO-HO HA-HA-HA exercise and various other playful laughters.

Talasana - is the yogic stretching of arms and exercising the neck and shoulders while taking a deep breath. This is used in the Laughter Yoga cry-laugh and various other laughter poses and exercises.

Simha mudra - is the famous lion laughter of Laughter Yoga which entails keeping the eyes wide open, fully extending the tongue and roaring like a lion.



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