Marie Angeline Lascaux is a Laughter Yoga instructor.
It’s notoriously difficult to make this pair laugh. But this is for health.
Posted by RTÉ 2fm on Tuesday, July 26, 2016
“Laughter yoga is a unique exercise routine which combines unconditional laughter with yogic breathing. Anyone can laugh without humour, jokes or comedy. Laughter is initially simulated as a physical exercise while maintaining eye contact with others in the group and promoting childlike playfulness. In most cases, this soon leads to real and contagious laughter. Laughter Yoga is the only technique that allows adults to achieve sustained hearty laughter without involving cognitive thought. It bypasses the intellectual systems that normally act as brake on natural laughter.
Laughter Yoga sessions start with gentle warm-up techniques which include stretching, and body movement. These help to break down inhibitions and develop childlike playfulness. Breathing exercises are used to prepare the lungs for laughter, followed by a series of “laughter exercises” that combine the method of acting and visualisation techniques with playfulness. these exercises, combined with the strong social dynamics of group behaviour, lead to prolong and hearty unconditional laughter. Laughter exercises are interspersed with breathing exercise. scientifically it has been proven that twenty minutes laughter is sufficient to develop full physiological benefits.
A laughter session may finish with a “laughter meditation”. this is a session of unstructured laughter whereby participants sit or lie down and allow natural laughter to flow from within like a fountain. This is followed by a deep relaxation and guided meditation.
A laughter Yoga Class is a powerful experience that often leads to a healthy emotional catharsis and also a feeling of release and joyfulness that can last for days.
Why is it called “Laughter Yoga”?
The word Yoga arises from the Sanskrit root “Yuj” which means to get hold of, integrate and harmonize. It means getting hold of our lives, integrating all aspects of life, harmonizing our bodies with our minds, spirits and society. There are many paths of Yoga.
According to yogic philosophy, we are alive because the cosmic energy from the universe flows into our body through our breath which is the life force or “Prana”. The very essence of our life is breathing. Most laughter and yogic breathing exercises are intended to stimulate the movement of the diaphragm and abdominal muscles that help activate the parasympathetic system which is the calming branch of the autonomic nervous system. The stress arousal sympathetic system can be turned off by learning to move the diaphragm.
The goal of Laughter Yoga is to connect people with one another at heart level without judgement which is the true meaning of yoga.
Laughter Yoga goes beyond just laughter. With regular practice, one can develop a positive mental attitude which will help people through challenging times or when it is difficult to laugh physically. The inner spirit of laughter is your ability to stay alive and in a positive mental state despite all challenges. Laughter Yoga can improve physical health, release negative thoughts and emotions, and helps to get in touch with the spiritual nature. It also helps to develop an attitude of forgiveness, generosity, compassion, and helpfulness while actively seeking the happiness of others. ”
Extract from Dr. Kataria School of Laughter Yoga Leader Training Manual.