I’m listening right now to several crazy people laughing on the phone at, well, nothing. Just laughing. People make silly animal noises or suggest how to hold your lips in an odd way, and everyone laughs. My sister Jasanna is one of them. I never in a million years thought my most rational, practical sister would participate in this kind of seemingly senseless hilarity. But she does, every day at 9 AM.
Darn. I’m chuckling. It goes for 20 minutes on most calls. My anxiety this morning over some tough circumstances is melting just a little. Darn. I like my anxiety and depression! It’s safe. It’s painful, but it’s what I’ve known for years now. Aggghhh! I just made a goat noise! Now I’m smiling. Help!
Laughter yoga was started in 1995 by Dr. Madan Kataria, a medical doctor from Mumbai, India. His research into the studies on laughter convinced him that it had notable psychological and physical benefits. He started his laughter club with 5 people in a park in Mumbai, and now laughter yoga is an international movement with over 6000 Laughter Yoga clubs in 60 countries.
One of the laughter clubs which my sister leads is located in Carlsbad, California. It was originally led by Gaga and Khevin Barnes, but recently my sister took over. It meets at the Senior Center in Carlsbad. Gaga and Jasanna are certified laughter yoga teachers. Gaga has been in the movement since 2006 and is also a Certified Life Mastery Consultant, and an integrative coaching consultant certified by the Ford Institute. She now incorporates all these modalities into her own coaching practice.
What do studies show that laughter can do? It can lower blood pressure, increase vascular blood flow and oxygenation of the blood, workout the diaphragm and abdominal, respiratory, facial, leg, and back muscles, reduce certain stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, increase the response of tumor and disease-killing cells, defend against respiratory infections–even reducing the frequency of colds, improve alertness and creativity, and increase memory and learning.
So tell a joke, make an odd noise while standing on your head, and get laughing!