“Hasee toh phasee”. No doubt you’ve heard the phrase before, but laughter goes beyond the confines of wooing your crush. In fact, laughter is so important that there’s a whole day dedicated to it.
World Laughter Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of the month of May every year. This year, it is on 1st May. This pratha was kickstarted by Dr Madan Kataria in Mumbai in the year 1998. What started as a small group in India has now spread to over 5,000 laughter clubs worldwide and is celebrated as World Laughter Day. No wonder, laughter is contagious. Dr Kataria has been credited as the founder of the Laughter Yoga Movement.
Dr Kataria was inspired to start this movement as part of the facial feedback hypothesis, which states that your facial expressions have an effect on your emotions. Every year World Laughter Day is celebrated on account of the manifestation of peace and bonding with people over laughter. It was also started with the aim to create awareness about why it is zaroori to sometimes keep all your stress and worry aside and laugh for a moment.
Laughter Is The Best Medicine, But Why?
Scientifically proven hai yaar. It’s real when people say that laughter is the best medicine. Because it is! Not only does it bring people closer but also strengthens your body and immunity. Here are some of the mental, physical and social benefits of laughter:
|1. Improves mood |
2. Relieves stress
3. Lowers anxiety
4. Adds joy to life
|1. Relaxes muscles|
2. Boosts immunity
3. Decreases stress hormones
|1. Brings people together|
2. Promotes teamwork
What Is Laughter Yoga?
Naam hi kaafi hai. It’s pretty simple, laughter exercise or laughing yoga is nothing but a series of exercises and breathing techniques that promotes intentional laughter. It is proven that the health benefits of spontaneous (let’s say, laughing at a joke) laughter are the same as stimulated laughter. It is used as therapy for physical as well psychological problems.
Dr Kataria discovered laughter yoga, as mentioned previously. He claims that it helps you to:
- Lift your mood
- Reduce stress
- Increase energy levels
- Improve your quality of life
5-Step Process For Laughter Yoga
You don’t need a good comedian amongst your group to get a good chuckle. But, don’t know how to start? Fikar mat karo, this World Laughter Day, here’s how to start with laughter yoga. All you need is a group of friends and some space!
1. Break The Ice
Start by enthusiastically clapping and chanting “ha ha ha”. You can’t just start laughing like a maniac all of sudden, right? So to move your muscles and break some ice, you can start by doing this. Start by enthusiastically clapping and chanting “ha ha ha”. This will get your diaphragm into action and create positive energy among the group. Make sure you’re having fun. Look at other people in the group and let loose a little.
Read 7 Ways To Reclaim & Embrace Happiness RN
2. Breathing In & Out
A major part of laughing yoga is rhythmic breathing exercises. For this step, stand up straight and put your arms in the air and hold your breath for up to 5 seconds. Bend down and exhale while lowering your arms. This will relax your mind and body.
3. Let Your Inner Child Play
You don’t have to be all grumpy and adult-like while doing this exercise. It’s supposed to be fun, so let your childlike playfulness out. Giggle, crack jokes, act foolishly. Say things like “sabash!” “very good”. Swing your arms around in circles and go back to your 4-year-old bacha mood.
4. Sit Down For This
Baithe baithe, make eye contact with the other members of the group. Place your hands in front of your chest, palms facing outward. Push them forward while yelling ‘ho, ho, ho’ loudly. Then, with one minute of a break in between each round, press palms down twice, chant “ho, ho, ho,” take deep breaths, and repeat. Start laughing quietly after one minute. Close your eyes and lie down on the floor for 5–10 minutes, allowing the laughter to build up.
5. Finish With The Asanas
Finish the laughter yoga session with relaxing yoga asanas. Lie on your back with your hands by your sides and palms facing up. Make an effort not to move. Take a few deep breaths. Exhale while inhaling and relaxing the muscles. Breathe slower, longer, and deeper.
Laughter cannot be confined to a group activity. Here are some things you can do solo that count as laughter yoga.
- Smile at the mirror. Simply smiling once in a while can help reduce a lot of stress. Stand in front of the mirror and cover your face with your hand, keeping your eyes open. Now smile just with your eyes and practice this multiple times a day.
- Laughing while walking. What a way to integrate mental exercise with a physical one! Walk up and down the room or across the garden while laughing and smiling gently.
- Try the Ha Ha Ha mantra in everyday life. Whenever you’re facing a stressful situation, try uttering this mantra and calming yourself.
Laughter yoga is all about being happy and spreading happiness around you with your family and friends. There are other ways you can experience happiness besides laughing your hearts out. Here are some tips for you to follow to lead a happier life.
8 Tips For Living A Happier Life
- Exercise 7 minutes a day.
- Practice gratitude.
- Meditate at least once in a while.
- Plan a small weekend vacation.
- Compliment and help others.
- Get out in the sunshine more.
- Spend quality time with your pets, family and friends.
- Getting at least 7 hours of sleep daily.
“But kya ye kaam karta hai?” You already know the answer to the question. But still, to answer the question, laughter and happiness directly affect your health. And, unlike others, it gives you immediate results. You’ve probably noticed effects such as a boost in mood, less stress, and a clear mind. However, the long-term advantages of consistent, daily laughter are of greater importance here.
First, endorphins and “happy” hormones like dopamine and serotonin are released when you laugh. It also reduces stress hormones such as cortisol. These effects have been related to improved mood, decreased pain, lower blood pressure, a stronger immune system, and lower stress and depression rates. Kya baat hai!
The Bottom Line
Laughter yoga can (and should) be practised by everyone, no matter the age. While it is also important to note that it should not replace actual medication if you’re suffering from a mental illness, it can be a great booster in the healing journey. Laughing yoga is becoming kaafi popular as a fun way to tickle your funny bone.
A typical session consists of a variety of moves and breathing methods. These are specifically designed to take your mind away from the stresses of everyday life and allow you to be more present at the moment so that you can #BeALittleMore carefree and happier. These techniques, in the long run, will help you reduce stress by encouraging purposeful and genuine laughter.
So this World Laughter Day, take yourself thoda less seriously and laugh at yourself dil khol ke. Have you ever been a part of a laughing yoga session and laughter club? What did your activities look like? Share them in the comments below and spread happiness today and forever!
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