Just when you thought you’d heard of every diet under the sun, here comes laughter yoga whose devotes claim they’re losing weight and getting happy and healthier too. Exercise has never been so much fun.
You’ve probably seen or heard them on TV or in your local park, yoga studio or fitness center clapping and chanting ho ho - ha ha ha. Laughter yoga is a new craze that’s sweeping the world and putting smiles on faces in more than 50 countries.
It’s easy to do, no special clothes or training are required. Sessions combine yoga breathing exercises with modern laughter exercises that will have you laughing in minutes --- no joke. We’re not talking occasional chuckles, these sessions quickly develop roaring laughter that will make you cry and make your sides ache with glee.
But how do you lose weight? Laughter yoga provides a real aerobic workout for your diaphragm and your abdominal, intercostal, respiratory and facial muscles (helps lose the wrinkles). You work your heart and lungs and also arm, leg, and back muscles.
Twenty minutes of laughter is equivalent to 10 minutes on an exercise bike, and it’s loads more fun.
Not only does laughter burn calories but it’s healthy too. While you laugh your body releases hormones and chemicals into the bloodstream including endorphins, famous for causing the ‘runner’s high’. These leave you feeling great and in a positive state of mind.
Your immune system, which is effectively switched off by stress, is switched on and boosted with a fast and prolonged increase in the production of T cells, B cells, immunoglobulins and NK cells – all important in fighting viral infection, sickness and cancer. Your digestive and sexual systems, which are also turned off by stress, are also turned on and boosted by laughing.
Laughter leaves you with a rosy glow, the result of large amounts of oxygen absorbed into your bloodstream and major organs. While exercise may leave you tired, laughter yoga leaves you bursting with energy and ready for anything.
The overall effect is that you feel great and ready to take control of your life and carry through your decisions more easily. That can help you stick to your other weight-loss resolutions and programs too.
Laughter yoga comes from India where it was started by an Indian medical doctor Madan Kataria in 1995. After learning how good laughter is for our bodies, Dr Kataria searched for an easy way to deliver laughter to his patients. Working with his yoga instructor wife Madhuri he developed laughter yoga which is already practiced daily by hundreds of thousands of people around the world.
Try the laughter cure --- it’s a lot more fun that a stationery bicycle!