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I bloody love laughing. There’s nothing like a good giggle to life my spirits, even if those spirits may have seemed a little flat before. Having fun is, well, fun. But, unlike yoga, I don’t necessarily think of it as physically healthy. Turns out I was wrong. And laughter yoga is the perfect way to combine the two.
I know that smiling makes me feel good, and my mental health is hugely important. But I tend not to think of it as something to practice. But by exercising the ability to laugh we also exercise its outcomes - the removal the limitations of inhibition, mental roadblocks and programming, for example. Cultivating a mindset of joy and an attitude of playfulness repeatedly can help condition the individual to respond in this way more naturally. Neuronal connections are produced which lead the mind to experience joy, and the stronger they become, the more they become a default.
When you experience any emotion your body will respond with physiological and biochemical changes. So as well as mood boosting benefits of laughing, the practice can have a positive effect on the body. Disease comes from the words dis-ease – not being in a place of balance and ease with the body. All diseases have two components, the physical and organic symptoms, and the psychological reaction to the disease. Laughter Yoga exercises trigger the release of positive hormones and endorphins, increase the flow of oxygen to the brain, stimulates cardio function, boosts the immune system and relaxes the body by reducing stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol.
There’s also something to be said for having a commitment to laughter, and a passion for joy. Taking action to make your life enjoyable and healthy is empowering, and the true essence of living. Do that, and you’ll be laughing all the way.