My sister-in-law Katie does this thing every once in a while where she will demonstrate a bunch of different types of laughs. Unless you are the Grinch with a serious case of Adultitis, it is hard not to laugh along with her. Laughter is contagious, which is why this new trend of ‘laughter yoga’ is catching on. Have you heard of it? Elina Valkonen shares in a recent article in SixDegrees Magazine that the 2,500 laughter yoga classes worldwide are really helping to improve peoples’ health, relationships, and overall mood.
It works like this. You have a partner. The instructor then models a variety of types of laughs, that are connected with certain movements. While maintaining eye contact with your partner you have to imitate the laughs you hear. Elina shares that at first the laughs may seem fake but looking at your partner helps to create genuine laughter pretty quickly.
There are many different laughter techniques, such as quiet laughter, semi-laughter, lion laughter, growing laughter, swaying laughter, cocktail laughter, and many others.
The classes are about more than just sheer laughter. ‘Against common beliefs, laughing is actually very tiring. One session lasts from 60 to 90 minutes, and 10 minutes of laughter equals 30 minutes of rowing, so you can’t do it continuously for very long. But laughing as much as you can is not the whole idea. It’s also a great workout. By the end of the class everyone is dripping with sweat,’ Kuosa explains.
Laughter yoga enables us to rediscover that childlike ability to feel joy.
In Jason’s book he shares that the average preschooler laughs 450 times a day versus the average adult, who laughs just fifteen times a day. I don’t know about you but when I heard this I was embarrassed to be an adult. I believe that statistic. As adults we are always looking for fun (and easy) ways to improve our health and reduce stress.
Laughing has two major effects on your body. It makes you produce endorphins, hormones that make you feel good, and it lowers your stress hormone levels, which reduces tension and relaxes you.
I think I’ll start laughing my way to a healthier life. Sounds like fun.