As part of my healing journey, I’ve started taking time each day for some laughter yoga.
Laughter yoga is something I’ve thought of doing for years because I’ve long known the benefits of laughter when it comes to physical and emotional health. But I procrastinated and put it on the back burner, thinking to myself “oh yes, I need to look that up on youtube” whenever I happened to think of it at all.
But thanks to the brain retraining and neural rewiring I’ve been deeply diving into lately (because of my physical healing journey, as well as to help with my lifelong anxiety), laughter yoga came back into my awareness several times over the course of a few days. And my procrastination about it finally came to an end.
What is laughter yoga?
Well, this is the definition according to wikipedia: Laughter yoga (Hasyayoga) is a practice involving prolonged voluntary laughter. This type of yoga is based on the belief that voluntary laughter provides the same physiological and psychological benefits as spontaneous laughter. It is done in groups, with eye contact, jokes and playfulness between participants. Forced laughter often turns into real and contagious laughter.
I haven’t been doing it with a group (I’m not aware of any groups in my area for laughter yoga) but youtube has been filling in just fine.
And the laughter changes things… Physically. Emotionally. Mentally. After even a few minutes of laughter yoga, I notice a decrease in anxiety and a new level of lightness to my mood. I’ve also noticed that the benefits stay with me long after I stop the laughter yoga session. The good-feeling energy-shifting of the laughing spills over into the rest of my day.
I’m doing lots of other things to decrease anxiety, engage with joy, and help cope with physical symptoms. Laughter yoga is only one tool of many in my toolkit.
But so far it’s proving to be a very helpful tool.
There are many laughter yoga videos on youtube – way more than I’ve watched. Here’s one I’ve used:
It can feel a bit strange at first, it can feel not-really-funny at first, but the laughter becomes contagious. Before long, I’m laughing just because.
It’s those mirror neurons firing.
And the results are good stuff.