Without laughter there is no joy
Laughter takes you from moping to coping to hoping.
- Dr. Joel Goodman -
For centuries, people have known about the healing characteristics of laughter. Recent scientific studies now confirm the old adage that “laughter is the best medicine”. Laughter helps all systems of the body- the respiratory system, the circulatory and nervous systems, and the endocrine and immune systems, and:
• Boosts the immune system
• Decreases blood pressure
• Relieves muscular tension and emotional and mental stress
• Helps with pain management
• Provides aerobic exercise for the whole body
• Improves breathing
• Stimulates digestion and internal organs
• Oxygenates blood and brain making one feel alert and energetic
Laughter helps lift the spirit and inspires optimism and hope. It diffuses negative emotions and opens us up to joy and hope. On a social level, laughter helps dispel loneliness and alienation. It breaks the ice, makes people feel at ease with each other, and improves communication.
Laughter Yoga was developed by Mumbai family physician Dr. Madan Kataria and his wife Madhuri Kataria, a yoga teacher. In 1991, Dr. Kataria was writing an article about laughter and was inspired to create a laughter club. The first laughter club functioned more like a joke club where people gathered together to tell jokes.
From this experience, Dr. Kataria understood that humor and jokes can be exclusionary and wanted to find a way to stimulate laughter in his group without relying on jokes. After remembering the research he read on Neuro-Linguistic Programming, he remembered that the body and brain doesn’t know the difference between what it imagines and what is real so he devised the technique of using simulated laughter to stimulate laughter.
Dr. Kataria’s humble beginnings from a laugher club of 5 people has grown into a worldwide movement of over 6000 laugher clubs in over 60 different countries all spreading laughter as a way to promote joy, health, and peace. Dr. Kataria’s personal mission is world peace through laughter.
For more information about laughter yoga and Dr. Kataria, visit: www.laughteryoga.org
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