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Being a Laughter Yoga Teacher, I laugh for a living. And, what a wonderful gift it is to pass onto others. Laughter is universal. It cuts right across cultures, boundaries, religion and language. I have laughed with people aged 3 to 90 years old and with people of many nationalities - Kiwis, British, Australian, Canadian, Egyptian, Tibetan, American, Indian, Malaysian, Japanese, Chinese. It matters not, whether we speak the same language. I have laughed in hospitals, at rest homes, in people’s living rooms, in hotels, in dementia units, kindergartens and in airports. On the Nile, in Stonehenge and at Machu Picchu. I have laughed at the beach, in parks and in tiny rooms. I have laughed with people standing up, sitting down and even at their bedside. It is the one health giving, life giving activity I can practise anywhere, anytime with anyone.
In the last 50 years much research has been conducted into therapeutic laughter. It has been scientifically proven that laughter has many health benefits among which are that laughter provides good physical exercise; it decreases your chances of respiratory infection and it enables the body to produce endorphins (our natural pain killers). It lowers blood pressure and lowers the levels of stress hormones. It decreases heart attacks and it boosts the immune system. It also increases emotional resilience, communication, creativity and mental clarity. After 10 minutes of hearty laughing the body is energized and revitalized by being thoroughly oxygenated.
In 1995 Dr Madan Kataria, a medical doctor from Mumbai, India was writing an article – “Laughter–The Best Medicine” for a health journal. He invited four friends to join him in a local park to tell each other jokes in order to laugh. In two weeks, they had gathered 50 people around them, however, they had run out of the good jokes, and complaints were being made. By this time, Dr Kataria had personally experienced the benefits of laughing with others every day, and did not want to give up the practise. So, he promised these people they would continue to laugh together without using humour or jokes.
He went home and discovered one sentence in his research papers which made all the difference. It was “the brain knows no difference between simulated laughter or laughing at something funny….” And so, Laughter Yoga was born. Dr Kartaria began laughing as an exercise, creating 40 foundation laughter exercises and combining stretching with yogic breathing. Now, we have thousands of people laughing together in clubs and groups around the world. Our Mission is to laugh for Health, Joy and World Peace! Our Goal is to connect people at heart level.
Let’s do a laughter exercise together. Open your arms wide. Open up your chest. Look up to the sky and laugh as loudly as you can! This is Hearty Laughter.
To find out where you can laugh with others on purpose for more health and happiness, contact Lynda Andrews on 04 299 3066, email@example.com , www.laughterpower.com