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Laughter Exercises and Yogic Breathing Benefits

I’m sharing why I do laughter exercises and yogic breathing together everyday and how they have helped me heal faster. You’ll also learn what laughter yoga is and reasons why we all need to be laughing more. 

laughter exercises

Why Do I Practice Laughter Exercises Daily?

It’s also known as Laughter yoga. Laughter yoga combines laughter exercises with yogic breathing. There are many scientifically proven benefits to this practice that I will list below. You can read more about my health journey of fully healing from many chronic illness conditions HERE.

For now, I want to tell you about a practice that I’ve been doing weekly for almost a year now. Through DNRS, I attended weekly sessions of Laughter yoga which included a combination of laughter exercises, yogic breathing, and a short visualization at the end.

With the DNRS program, we are required to elevate our mood daily and given some ideas and ways to do this. I decided to participate in this laughter exercise program as a way to elevate my mood. It shifts the neurochemicals in the brain from stress hormones to happy feel good hormones. Elevating our mood and shifting the neurochemicals to happy feel good chemicals helps us heal faster.

Dealing with a severe chronic illness for an extended period of time consumed me. My world was consumed with avoidance, fear, worry, and sadness until I found DNRS and connected with God on a daily basis. One thing I found very difficult during this time was being able to laugh, smile, and feel happy. I started DNRS and decided I would give laughter exercises a try and boy am I glad I did.

What Is Laughter Yoga?

  1. Laughter yoga is an exercise program where we voluntarily laugh without any comedy, jokes, or humor. Laughter comes from within the body with conscious effort. Pure and free from any negativity.
  2. Laughter exercises are done within a group setting with eye contact and childlike playfulness. It may start off as voluntary or even fake laughter but with eye contact and childlike playfulness it becomes real and contagious laughter.
  3. The reason it’s called Laughter yoga is because it combines laughter exercises, yogic breathing, and stretching. This brings more oxygen to the brain and body thus giving us more energy and health.
  4. Laughter yoga is done based on a scientific fact that the brain & body cannot differentiate between real and fake laughter when done with willingness.  We get the same physiological and psychological benefits.

Laughter Exercises with Yogic Breathing

Combining laughter exercises with yogic breathing is key. We inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. We exhale through the mouth to get out the extra stale air from our lungs. When we do this, we allow for more oxygen to enter our lungs and our brain.

When more oxygen goes to the brain, one will feel more energy and heal faster. Yogic breathing is shown to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. This is our rest and digest part of the nervous system. Doing the yogic breathing I feel myself become calm and relaxed in my body and mind.

I am purely in the present moment. What a wonderful place to be. Not in the past and not in the future, but solely in the present moment. For someone living with any chronic condition, the mind is often in the past or future. We calm the monkey mind as we participate in laughter exercises and yogic breathing.

Three Reasons Why To Do Laughter Yoga

  1. In order to reap the scientifically proven benefits of laughter exercises we must have an extended laughter of at least 10-15 minutes. As natural laughter hardly lasts for 3-4 seconds at at time, that is not enough to reap the physiological and psychological benefits. Doing laughter as an exercise, we get to prolong our laughter for as long as we want. When you extend your laughter, it brings about more oxygen in the blood, muscle relaxation, blood circulation and release of certain hormones in the body.
  2. In order to reap the benefits Laughter needs to be deep and hearty, coming from the belly (diaphragm).  It must be a belly  laugh. This is not easy to do in daily life because many things in life don’t have us laughing. In laughter yoga, there is a safe environment where this can occur.
  3. Laughter should be unconditional- it doesn’t rely on external sources. When we rely on external sources of laughter it will be for only a few seconds at a time. Plus, we can’t depend on others or outside sources to laugh because that may not happen. We can choose to laugh for no reason and reap the amazing physiological and psychological benefits with extended laughter.

Benefits I Feel From Laughter Exercises

I’m going to share the scientifically proven benefits below but first I’ll share what I experienced while participating in Laughter exercises and yogic breathing.

I didn’t have much to laugh about or even smile about when I was going through chronic illness. My mind and body were consumed with survival, fear, avoidance, and worry. I felt like I had lost my personality. I lost the ability to really feel and be happy deep within my being.

Friends, the power to change, heal, and choose freedom and peace is within us. God gives us the strength and I depend on him for his strength too. When you deal with a chronic condition it is very difficult to access positive emotions because the brain and body are stuck between fight/flight and freeze response.

The neurochemicals of stress response are known as cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine.

Laughter exercises and Yogic breathing classes provided a safe place for me to start the process of shifting these neurochemicals to ones that would help me heal and start to feel like my old self again. Calming and healing neurochemicals are Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphins.

How I Felt At The Beginning of Class and Then Towards The End of Class

I would start the class feeling very uncomfortable and at the beginning I had a very difficult time laughing so I would smile and do the gestures with everyone. Eventually I started feeling happy, lighter, free. I found that the more I participated in these weekly classes the more inner happiness and free I felt.

I could start a class in a very bad or blah mood and by the end I was happy, cheerful, light, free, and energized for the rest of the day. Smiling is easier and happens more often. Laughing more with my kids and husband feels really good. I found things funny that I hadn’t been able to laugh at in years.

Finding myself being able to go about my day without things triggering me is huge. I started responding to negative people or events differently than before. What a breath of fresh air. I felt myself coming alive again for the first time in several years.

I’m interested in Laughter Yoga Classes

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