By Sam Davis, BHS, CPT, FNS
Most yoga instructors design their classes to bring you complete relaxation and zen. People often start out by learning a basic Vinyasa flow. But, a new type of yoga continues to grow in popularity: laughter yoga. It has actually been around since 1995 and has since expanded to 5,000 studios. With that in mind, are you ready to learn about this unusual, yet healthy practice?
The idea behind this type of yoga is to get you to exercise in a way that will make you laugh. Laughter reduces the stress response by releasing endorphins and reducing cortisol levels. These can help you feel more relaxed, boosts immunity, and combats depression. For these reasons, Laughter Yoga has been highly successful.
Each instructor will explain to the class the Why’s and the How’s behind laughter and what it does to your body. He or she will then explain how to facilitate a laugh. Furthermore, they’ll remind you how important it is to keep it real. Let’s get one thing straight: this needs to be a full-body, belly laugh. To be fair, you can start with a fake laugh if that helps you to facilitate genuine laugher.
Most people say that it feels a bit ridiculous. This is compounded by the fact that you’re belly-laughing in a room full of strangers. Regardless, students always seem to come back for more sessions. Most people can laugh themselves out of stress in minutes in these classes, and that’s where the release and relaxation stem from.