Hasya Yoga: laughing your way to Good Health
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When chuckles, giggles and belly laughs are mixed with yoga, it becomes ‘laughter yoga’ — the fun way to reduce stress.
Not only is it fun to laugh, but laughter yoga (also known as Hasya yoga) can provide many health benefits: it serves to reduce stress, enhance the immune system, strengthen cardiovascular functions, oxygenate the body by boosting the respiratory system, improve circulation, tone muscles and helps with digestion and constipation.
Children laugh from 300-400 times a day . When we grow older, we laugh 15-20 times a day, so we have lost this ability to laugh.
Like more traditional fitness classes, laughter yoga requires a warm-up period. Since students can’t necessarily start a class prepared to break out into deep laughter, they begin with the clapping and chanting. Then they perform breathing exercises, followed by stretches and laughing games.
Laughter Yoga combines deep, controlled breathing and stretches with various types of simulated laughter and laughter broken down into syllables in a chant form. The laughter may feel contrived or forced when you first begin the class but after a short while it becomes totally contagious a most natural release even blissful. The laughter meditation is an incredible experience. Each time you practice it comes more readily and deeper. When you stimulate laughter the body doesn’t know that it is not real and reacts in the same manner as in your peak moments of joy by releasing the feel good health giving hormones or endorphins. These endorphins trigger the whole of your hormone system and the neuro transmitters in the brain. When you start laughing without a reason your physiology and biochemistry changes. During the practice of laughter Yoga the abdominal muscles vigorously contract and expand
Practicing Laughter Yoga brings a host of health benefits, both physical and emotional. Research is currently being conducted to discover even more about how laughter heals us. For now, this is what we know Laughter Yoga does:
- Improves overall sense of well being
- Boosts happiness
- Strengthens and balances the immune system
- Releases endorphins to naturally relieve pain
- Decreases the level of stress hormone cortical
- Lowers blood pressure
- Nurtures creativity
- Reduces risk of heart disease
- Floods the body with the “happy hormone” serotonin
- Helps manage and overcome depression
- Deepens inner peace
- Breaks social isolation and fosters new friendships
- Develops self-confidence
- Alleviates the discomfort of specific physical challenges
- Cultivates your childlike playfulness for a happier you
Laughter yoga can be practiced by almost everyone it is beneficial to most illness especially strokes and cancer patients, but it is important if you have a severe illness or had recent surgery to have a medical release before participating.
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