Subject Advice

Laughter Yoga

Laughter is the Best Medicine

I discovered laughter yoga 12 years ago, and I was fascinated by the idea. At that time, I felt that my life could do with a bit more joy in it, a bit more playfulness and fun, but I didn’t know how to make that happen – and then laughter yoga came along and I’ve been practising it ever since. And sharing it with others – because it really can turn your your life around.

Laughter yoga was started in 1995 by a family doctor who was reading about all the health benefits of hearty laughter, and he felt that a good laugh would benefit his patients a lot more than all the pills and medicines he was prescribing.

It is really good for you and it’s lots of fun! It’s gentle aerobic exercise and brings lots of fresh oxygen into your lungs making you feel healthy and energised. It releases endorphins and other happy hormones into your system lifting your mood and making you feel good.

There are no jokes, comedy or humour, and you don’t have to feel happy when you start. We initiate laughter as an exercise, but the pretend laughter very quickly becomes real laughter because laughter is infectious. And laughter connects people - it helps you make friends.

It’s called laughter yoga because, like all yogic practices, it’s based on the breath. But there are no special yoga poses, no standing on your head - just breathing in, and breathing out with a laugh.

So if you are lonely, or stressed, or unhappy, or depressed, you might try a few sessions of laughter yoga. You might just get addicted - like me

Introduction to Laughter Yoga

Scientific research confirms that laughter is good for us and we should all be getting more of it – that it is indeed 'the best medicine'. We are told we need to get more joy into our lives, more friends and fun, and more laughter. The trouble is that many of us would like to laugh more but we don’t know where to start.

Laughter yoga offers an answer. It combines playful laughter exercises with deep yoga style breathing (pranayama) - and anyone can take part. There are three myths about laughter that we need to be clear about:

  1. We think you need a sense of humour to laugh -you don’t
  2. We think you need a reason to laugh –you don’t
  3. We think you need to be happy - you don’t

There are no jokes, comedy or humour in laughter yoga.

It’s easy to get started, and laughter is infectious. It’s also gentle cardio-vascular exercise, and has been described as ‘internal jogging'.

Judith's Laughter Yoga Sessions

"We don’t laugh because we’re happy, we’re happy because we laugh."   William James

These online learning sessions take place on the second Wednesday of every month, from 10am-11am. REGISTER HERE 

Judith has been running laughter yoga groups in Edinburgh u3a since 2012. She also offers one-to-one laughter coaching. Laughter yoga has changed her life for the better – she is happier, more confident and has a lot more friends. Her wish is that I can help others find the same thing.

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