Ever since I interviewed Dr. Madan Kataria, the founder of Laughter Yoga, I’ve wanted to learn more and laugh more. That’s because laughing increases health and happiness.
There are no Downward Facing Dogs, Warriors, or other traditional yoga postures in the laughter practice. Instead the focus is on gentle breathing exercises, easy movements, and, of course laughing. Dr. Kataria researched the science of laughter and learned that the body does not differentiate between intentional and real hilarity.
Dr. Kataria believes that laughing is a skill anyone can master and laughter yoga is ideal for people living with dementia. He says: “Laughter Yoga is an aerobic workout that helps uplift your mood within minutes by releasing endorphins from your brain cells. You often remain energized, relaxed, and in good spirits throughout the day. Laughter also makes your immune system stronger and lowers your blood pressure. Plus laughing with others builds a social bond and reduces feelings of isolation.”
Several weeks ago, Ron and I journeyed to Ferryville, Wisconsin, to study laughter with the esteemed Master Trainer, Robert Rivest. We are now Certified Laughter Yoga Leaders. Delightfully, laughing increases happiness and health and over the next months, we’d love to share some of the benefits and joys of intentional laughing with you.
It’s easy to add splashes of laughter throughout your day. Here’s an idea from Robert for getting started: VIDEO
Robert taught us the exercise The Wall and we shared it with our friends Vicki and Saundra. Vicki is so inspiring the way she manages her many physical challenges, which include early onset dementia. She is the best laugher. After a couple of attempts to laugh our way through our imaginary boundaries, we all felt lighter, happier, and more connected: VIDEO
For more information about laughter yoga, visit RobertRivest.com
Also enjoy LaughterYoga.org
You’ll find lots of videos to lure you into laughing. And stay tuned to this blog, for more moments of ha-ha-ha-ing.
Deborah Shouse is the author of Connecting in the Land of Dementia: Creative Activities to Explore Together and Love in the Land of Dementia: Finding Hope in the Caregiver’s Journey.
When you laugh, you change, and when you change, the whole world changes. Dr. Madan Kataria, M.D., Founder, Laughter Yoga Movement
Have you ever found yourself surrounded by brilliant, compassionate, and creative people? For months, I interviewed more than 60 such luminaries, all of whom contributed to my new book, Connecting in the Land of Dementia: Creative Activities to Explore Together. The book features easy, meaningful, and fun activities for people living with dementia and their care partners.
Dr Madan Kataria, founder of the globally acclaimed Laughter Yoga movement, taught me how important and easy it is to consciously add laughter into the day.
“Do you know the Ha Ha chorus?” he asked, during our Skype session.
I had to answer, “No.”
He began singing, “Ha ha ha ha ha ha,” to the tune of Happy Birthday to You. I was instantly laughing, as was he.
Carmela Carlyle, who is a Dementia Care Specialist, Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher, and the creator of the training DVD, Laughter Yoga with Elders, offered simple tips for adding laughter into daily life, including “Ha ha ha-ing” at traffic lights and while cooking a meal together.
From these two luminaries, I learned the importance of consciously integrating laughter into daily life. Dr. Kataria explained that laughter improves blood circulation and increases the net amount of oxygen to body and brain, which makes us feel more healthy and energetic. Laughter also makes our immune system stronger. Plus, laughing with others builds a social bond and reduces feelings of isolation.
Carmela Carlyle says, “When we laugh, our jaws move, sending a message directly to the brain to release feel-good hormones. People living with dementia can bypass the intellect and go directly to the powerful medicine of laughter.”
To add more laughter into your life, visit www.laughteryoga.org
Madan Kataria, MD, is the founder of the Laughter Yoga Clubs movement, which started in 1995 in Mumbai, India. Dr. Kataria is an internationally acclaimed speaker and a corporate consultant for holistic health, stress management, team building, leadership, peak performance and communication skills. He is associated with a number of research projects to measure the benefits of laughter. www.laughteryoga.org
Carmela Carlyle, is a psychotherapist, Eldercare Specialist, Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher and Certified Integrative Yoga Therapist. Her DVD, Laughter Yoga with Older Adults: Joyful Chair Fitness, is used all over the world. www.carmelacarlyle.com
Deborah Shouse is the author of Love in the Land of Dementia: Finding Hope in the Caregiver’s Journey.