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.