Laughter yoga is turning out to be much more than the yogi trend we expected it to be. The practice popped up in 1995 in laughter clubs and was used by practitioners as an alternative and complementary medicine for health conditions.
But laughter yoga is no joke. Its benefits are backed by science. Not only does a short practice of laughter yoga boost your mood, but it also leads to lower blood pressure, increased oxygen levels, and stronger immune systems. The mental health benefits are endless too. In one study, nursing students who practiced laughter yoga regularly reported lower stress levels, lowered anxiety and depression, fewer sleep disorders, and stronger social functions.
If you’re on the fence about trying the en-trend practice that is making us LOL, literally, here are five reasons to give it a try right now!
1. Laughter is the Best Medicine
Just 15 minutes of laughter a day can help improve your overall health, according to a study from the Iranian Journal of Nursing & Midwifery. The benefits go well beyond boosting your immediate mood. The practice lowers depression and anxiety disorders, boosts immunity, lowers stress, naturally decreases pain, relaxes muscles, and prevents heart disease. One bout of laughter can lower your blood pressure naturally by 5-7 points!
2. Laughter Yoga is Great for Mental Health
There is a clear link between laughter and mental health. Not only does a short daily practice boost your mood and add zest to your day, but it also eases anxiety and any stress-causing emotions. When you practice laughter yoga regularly, you can expect higher energy levels and an overall improved mood.
3. Improves Personal Relationships
Practicing laughter yoga with your friends or families is the perfect way to improve personal relationships. Not only does a daily dose of laughter open communication and release inhibitions, but it also improves defensiveness and helps to express your feelings. Laughter’s knock-on effects are not short-lived though. Your muscles can stay relaxed for up to 45 minutes after a laughing fit.
4. Laughter Burns Calories
Another perk of laughter that should not be overlooked is the fitness aspect. While laughter yoga shouldn’t be your only form of exercise, research by Vanderbilt University found that laughing for 10-15 minutes can burn between 10 and 40 calories. Laughing every day could mean losing four to five pounds over the course of a year!
5. Laugh More, Live Longer
One study in Norway found that people with a sense of humor, who are more inclined to laugh, tend to live longer! Findings from the 15-year study show that women with a stronger sense of humor have a 48 percent less risk of death from all causes, a 73 percent lower risk of death from heart disease, and an 83 percent lower risk of death from infection. In men, laughing can help moderately decrease the risk of death from infection.
The Road to Laughter Yoga
When you’re ready to start lightening up your life with fun, laughter yoga, try an online course. You’ll learn the fundamentals of the practice and how you can take time each day to LOL and relax! If you’d like to bring the joy of laughter yoga to your community, friends, and family – get certified as a laughter yoga instructor. Laughter Yoga Fun is launching an online certification program on February 20. Open enrollment is available now. The two-day course will be led on Zoom and you will learn how to lead a laughter yoga class, learning 50-60 laughter yoga exercises. “As part of the training I include not only bringing laughter to your own community, but staff, children, friends, family, non-profits, specific groups (seniors, cancer patients, etc.) the more the merrier,” says Carole Holcomb who leads the course. “During my last training I had yoga teachers attend so I included a Laughter Yoga Leader who also does yoga and had her discuss how she does the 2 in a session.” To enroll in the course and to bring laughter yoga to your community, simply signup here.