Laughter—Who knew there were so many different kinds? There are chortles and chuckles, giggles and titters, even guffaws and snorts. Then there is the silent laugh, the belly laugh, the drink coming through your nose laugh, or in my opinion, the most infectious kind of laugh of all—the carefree, full-on laugh of a child.
I remember when I was little; I would sometimes get into a fit of giggles over absolutely nothing. Oh how fun that was! Nothing that I can recall started me off. I was just happy, I guess, and started to giggle, which then made my parents laugh along. First, they laughed at me laughing, which quickly turned into laughing with me. When they asked me what was so funny I honestly couldn’t tell them. I didn’t know and didn’t care as a new fit of giggles overtook me. It just felt so good to laugh! In no time at all, the three of us would be there looking at each other and laughing over pretty much nothing but having the best time of our lives. Little did we know back then that laughing did a heck of a lot more than just feel good!
Laughing has physical and emotional benefits that include aiding in digestion, releasing stress, regulating breathing, reducing fear and anxiety, and most interestingly has been discovered to be a wonderful cardio workout. Studies have shown a link between laughter and increased vascular health so cardiologists are now recommending their patients watch funny movies or read amusing stories to encourage laughter and help stimulate better and faster healing rates for their cardiovascular health.
These benefits have already been known in India and the Yogic community and are being taught as a type of yoga—Laughing Yoga to be exact and it is a actual Yoga practice. There are several retreats that practice it and schools and teacher trainings available, but since I don’t have the resources to travel to these, I like to watch Mahaguru Ramesh Pandey, a Himalayan Yoga Master, on YouTube, extolling the virtues of Laughing Yoga: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXgdSOxaCGI
No matter what kind of day I have, I only need to watch this once to let go of whatever was getting me down or angry and before I know it, I start to smile, which quickly grows into full-fledged mirth. See for yourself! There are several other Laughing Yoga videos available on YouTube so check them all out and laugh yourself happy and healthy!
Taking Laughter and Yoga a little bit deeper!