What is a Laughter Experience Workshop?
Laughter Yoga workshops include group activities with a variety of laughter exercises which are a simple and efficient way to induce laughter for no reason-laughter which is both contagious and liberating. The exercises bring out our inner child, filling our eyes with tears of joy.
The workshop activities include laughter, breathing, song, dance and movement in a group setting which generates bonding among the participants in a comfortable, fun, and exciting atmosphere.
Who are laughter workshops for?
Everyone! Parties, Offices, teachers, professionals, students, family gatherings, birthday parties, organizations, bat mitzvahs, retirement homes, team bonding and more.
Benefits of Laughter:
Laughter has a magical power that seeps into every cell in our body. It strengthens us physically and mentally. It reduces stress, strengthens our immune systems, and raises our energy levels. It is well known that laughter helps circulation and increases oxygen levels in the bloodstream. When we laugh, we release endorphins which reduce pain and increase joy and happiness.
Because the laughter we are aiming for is not induced by jokes and humor, rather by the understanding that it improves our health and makes us feel good, we give it our all and laugh for no reason through our laughter exercises. Keeping in mind what Rebbe Nachman M’Breslov taught us, that movement of the body generates excitement in the heart, we dance, sing, breathe, and enjoy with lots of laughter and happiness.
One minute of belly laughter is equivalent to 3-10 minutes at the gym. In one hour of hearty laughter you can burn up to 500 calories!
What happens at a laughter workshop?
I explain the benefits of laughter and share laughter stories to demonstrate how laughter can be used to enhance our lives.
I give background on the development of laughter workshops based on the research of Dr. Kataria, founder of the world movement Laughter Yoga - Laugh for No Reason
I demonstrate laughter exercises and then we do them together having lots of fun, culminating in complete laughter relaxation.
I connect the workshop to the season, the holiday, Rosh Chodesh, the weekly Torah portion, or the reason for the occasion and incorporate sources from Chazal, Rebbe Nachman, and other Jewish sources relating to joy, simcha, and laughter.
It’s fun and easy to laugh with Yehudit!
How to book a laughter workshop?
For more details on booking a laughter event,
contact: 02-586-1554 or 052-286-3317
Laugh Out Loud by Leah Kotkes
It was Motzaei Shabbos, usually a quiet evening in our home, and now with winter in full swing — with icy, wet winds blowing outside — there was even more reason to be home, warm and comfy. One would imagine that on a Motzaei Shabbos in January, I would be settling down to a hot cup of tea and toast for melaveh malkah, with my computer on, planning my writing schedule for the week ahead. Instead, after efficiently washing up the Shabbos china and tidying up toys scattered across the living room floor, I found myself pacing the house rather fretfully. In less than an hour, ten women would be joining me for an experience that seemed like a fun idea when I arranged it but now was making me a bit apprehensive.
Will I Be Able to Laugh — Just Like That?
Between you and me, I regard myself as a happy sort of person who enjoys smiling, so when Yehudit Kotler, a laughter workshop leader, agreed to host an impromptu gathering in my home, I was enthusiastic, but now I had begun to worry. After a little reflection, I saw that I might be a typical Englishwoman after all — slightly inhibited and a little shy when it comes to laughing in public. Would I be able to let go and laugh? I hoped so; it sounded like so much fun. How wonderful it would be to return to that innocent feeling of youth, when laughter came so naturally and easily, and when life was so light, sweet and free — free of life’s burdens, challenges and responsibilities, which could, I knew from experience, swiftly wipe a smile off one’s face. To experience an hour of pure spontaneous jolliness would be just marvelous.
n the dot of 8:30 p.m., a stream of familiar, eager friends in their mid-20s to late 70s and everywhere in between, began arriving, asking all sorts of questions I couldn’t answer. However, I was quick to thank them for agreeing to come from all over Yerushalayim to participate in something unpredictable. Still dressed in our Shabbos best, we looked like a fine group of women, each as composed as the next, sitting comfortably on leather sofas and dining room chairs, awaiting our fate. And then Yehudit Kotler arrived — or, I should say, bounced in — full of vibrant energy, sporting a beaming magnetic smile that set us all at ease.
Mirror Me and Find Yourself in the Reflection
Within moments, Yehudit was perched on her chair, animatedly expounding the psychological and emotional benefits of laughter — telling us also that a jolly good laugh burns 500 calories an hour. That fact elicited a giggle or two without any effort on our part, as some of the group were occupied with frustrating winter weight loss programs, that were meeting with little success.
Without further ado, we were up and moving and laughing to order after each of Yehudit’s energetically modeled verbal instructions. Each exercise flowed into the next, and within no time at all echoes of laughter abounded: solo, individual laughter and group laughter encouraged by the exuberant outbursts of happiness coming from Yehudit, the master jester, whose enthusiastic expressions were leshem Shamayim and a pure inspiration. It seems that we Jews are born to laugh and express happiness and joy in our own unique way, even if it takes a little effort to begin.
Laughter — an Avodah?
Many years ago, I attended one of the weekly shiurim given in Yerushalayim by Rabbi Akiva Tatz, shlita, the author of Living Inspired and World Mask, and a close talmid of Rabbi Moshe Shapiro. He mentioned that the passuk “Serve (ivdu) Hashem with happiness, come before Him with joyous song” (Tehillim 100:2) teaches us that it is a mitzvah to be happy, but it is also an avodah. At the time I didn’t understand what he was talking about — how could being happy be an avodah, a struggle for spiritual elevation? I just imagined that one decided to be happy and that was the end of it.
Thirteen years later, there in my living room, I finally understand the wisdom in his words. It is certainly an avodah to be happy in our generation where we must seek out points of happiness in a world cloaked in chaos, apprehension and fear. In the smaller schemes of things, it is also an avodah to be happy day-to-day. Afer assuming the awesome commitments of marriage and parenthood and after trying (both successfully and sometimes rather unsuccessfully) to navigate the challenges and tribulations of life, I know that being happy or finding things to laugh at can take a lot of effort.
So it was with great joy that I found, that evening in my home, that I was able to laugh for no reason at all: just to laugh. In effect that was an avodah in itself — to let go and laugh, to permit myself, prompt myself, and surrender myself to Yehudit, who showed me and reminded me how to laugh. Less than five minutes into our session, Yehudit was able to coax me into laughing and while I was doing it, it felt good all over, from head to toe, inside and out, in all spheres — mind, body and soul.
In the beginning, a few of us, including myself, were wallflowers, observing and waiting for the opportunity to be invited in, which Yehudit did with extreme kindness — and laughter. Mirroring her was the key to releasing our own expressions of inner potential. For does not every Jew possess an inner wellspring of joy within? Others were ready to jump in feet first, using every exercise as an opportunity to release a multitude of merriment as well as a spectrum of emotions — from forgiveness and regret to frustration, anger and beyond — within the healthy framework of the session.
With the laughter came theatrical expressions and nostalgic stories and jokes, as well as many different types of smiles and sounds to amuse and entertain and free each of us from her
more serious state of being and state of mind, invisible or visible. We didn’t expect to be entertained or be entertaining; we certainly didn’t expect to be healed a little and invigorated a lot. But we certainly were.
Using a series of original and imaginative techniques aimed at bringing about all levels of healing and well-being, Yehudit’s exercises elicited all sorts of contagious laughter — laughter while we moved, jigged, hugged and even wept pure tears of amazement while laughing.
Pivotal to the laughter club experience is the interweaving of mind and body, the deep cleansing breathing and easy-to-do (for all ages) body movement exercises. These are designed to enhance energy flow through the brain, heart and body and are the finale to each laughter exercise, indulged in before the next one begins. With all our senses we absorbed the goodness of laughter as we observed the effect it had on each member of the group.
Binah Magazine talks to Yehudit Kotler, Laughter Club Leader.
Yehudit, what inspired you to become a laughter club leader?
A year ago, I participated in my first laughter club, held in my Jerusalem neighborhood. Every type of person attended — young, old, lively, quiet and from every walk of Jewish life — and what was so amazing to me was how the simple act of laughing brought everyone together with such positive feelings, in a short period of time. It felt so good, especially the feelings of achdus it created while warming our hearts and souls.
How did you train for this job?
I approached the course leader who led the first laughter session I attended, and invited her to host a laughter club course for nine women in my home. It took six meetings of four hours each for us to be prepared for this particular avodah, but I feel that my many years of working with women of all ages and backgrounds, and being blessed with an ability to love and accept people as they are, have especially helped me to be suited for this new mission.
What types of groups have you led?
All kinds. Women of all ages and religious orientations, bas mitzvah and birthday parties, teenage girls, all types of patients in hospitals — in groups and individually, cancer patients, retreats for couples where one partner has a life-threatening illness, heart and lung patients, the elderly — really anyone have asked me to host a laughter session for them.
Can you compare initial response to the later consensus?
Many people arrive eager to participate and have a good time, while others are skeptical — their eyes ask, “What is this all about?” Sometimes these types of people surprise themselves by participating with great joy. It has happened on more than one occasion that women come, give it a short try, and leave. I don’t judge these people and I respect their choice to leave. However, from experience, I know they would have benefited tremendously if they had stayed.
I have watched women return again and again to the sessions in my home — each time allowing themselves to enjoy the experience in new ways. I see changes in women who attend my groups regularly — their self-confidence is enhanced and they comment to me about all sorts of positive changes in different areas of their lives.
Can you share a moving experience you have had?
Recently, I was invited to host a laughter club at a monthly Bais Yaakov mothers’ meeting. I could tell a few women were thinking, “Whose idea was this?” However, by the close of the evening the simchah was tangible — everyone participated with open minds and hearts and we had a fantastic time.
At the conclusion of another laughter club for mothers, a young mother spoke privately to me after the session. She had been battling with a repetitive behavior issue at home — under stress, she would raise her voice above the usual level to get her children to listen to her.
After the laughter club, she decided laughing was healthier for her than raising her voice, so she told her children, “From now on, when Mommy feels a little stressed or frustrated, she is going to laugh
rather than shout or scream. The children didn’t know what to expect, but soon enough they saw their mother laughing instead of shouting — and within moments they too were laughing.
One of her sons commented before he went to bed, “Mommy, laughing is so much more fun,” and he giggled. This strategy has been working for a little while now and “Mommy” is convinced the laughter club has improved her family’s shalom bayis and her well-being.
When I heard this story, I was so impressed that this woman was willing to let go of negative behavior patterns and replace them with something new.
Laughing is priceless — as valuable as medicine and yet cheaper than counseling. It is another solution to a challenge, and this woman was reaping the benefits after having attended one laughter club meeting.
When a woman gives herself permission to laugh at the club, she is giving herself a priceless gift. She allows herself to enter a new state of being and experience something innovative and exciting that she can use in many areas of her life. A good laugh goes a long way.
Can you suggest some exercises our readers can do at home with their families?
It’s a good idea if one member of the family becomes the leader — ideally it should be someone who is easygoing, has a well-developed funny bone, and will inspire everyone to give it a try. Encourage eye contact among participants — when you see another person laughing it inspires your own laughter.
Greeting laughter: this is a great warm-up exercise. Participants should greet each other with a handshake and a simple laugh. When you have laughed a little with one person, move on to the next. Just let go and laugh as you shake each hand.
Gibberish laughter: this is a fun exercise. Greet a member of your family and talk to him in gibberish — no words, just made-up sounds, as if you are speaking a foreign language and you desperately want the other person to understand. Before you move on to the next person in the room. Wrap up your gibberish conversation with both of you laughing together.
Release anger conversation: this follows the same pattern as the gibberish exercise, except this time you are trying, without words, just sounds, to convey or transmit your hurt or frustration about a situation or challenge you are facing, again trying to convey your feelings
with all your might. Once again, when you finish up your “anger” conversation with one person, laugh together before going on to the next person.
Graduated laughter: hold out your hand, clasped tightly closed. Open one finger one at a time, and as you do, begin with a giggle and increase the velocity and level of laughter as each finger opens until your hand is open wide and a flow of laughter is pouring out.
Turn on your laughter: imagine there is a key in your stomach. Turn the key slowly and release your laughter until the motor is running at full volume.
Long distance laugh: pretend you are listening to a funny conversation on the phone and let everyone know how funny it is by having a good laugh.
Relax and laugh: lie on the floor, like the spokes of a wheel, with your heads together in the center and take deep breaths — inhale as though you are sniffing a flower and exhale as though you are blowing out a candle. Feel your body relaxing and then have a good giggle and see where it takes you.
Farewell laughter: give a member of your family a big hug and have a good laugh with her.
Clap hands in between each exercise and say “ho-ho, ha-ha-ha” in rhythm, and focus on good breathing throughout the whole session.
Five Good Reasons to Laugh
1. Laughter is a stress buster
It reduces the levels of stress hormones epinephrine and cortisol.
2. Laughter strengthens the immune system
The immune system is important in maintaining good health by keeping infections, allergies and cancers at bay. Recent research into the effects of laughter by Dr. Lee S. Berk, professor at Loma Linda University, California, USA, demonstrates that laughter will increase the count of natural disease-killer cells and antibody levels. Laughter therapy also helps to increase antibodies in the mucous of the nose and respiratory passages.
3. Laughter is anti-aging
It tones facial muscles and expressions. Laughter causes an increase in blood supply to the face, which is why some people look flushed when they laugh. This nourishes the skin and makes it glow. People look younger when they laugh.
4. Laughter is aerobic exercise
Laughter stimulates heart and blood circulation and is equivalent to any other standard aerobic exercise. Dr. William Fry, Stanford University, USA, claims one minute of laughter is equal to ten minutes on the rowing machine.
The singular benefit almost everybody derives is a sense of well-being because more oxygen is taken in during laughter. It is an exercise regime suitable for all, including people confined to bed or a wheelchair.
5. Laughter is a natural pain reliever
Laughter increases the levels of endorphins — the body’s natural painkillers. In 1989, the Journal of the American Medical Association published an article saying that “a humor therapy program can increase the quality of life for patients with chronic problems and ... laughter has an immediate symptom-relieving effect for these patients, an effect that is potentiated when laughter is induced regularly over a period.” Endorphins released as a result of laughter may help in reducing the intensity of pain in those suffering from arthritis, spondylitis and muscular spasms of the body.
Reprinted with permission from Binah Magazine. All rights reserved.
Lite from Yerushalayim #122
Not a Laughing Matter
By Sheindel Weinbach
Rabi Chanina Hagadol didn’t need a tour guide or a big sign to know that he had finally entered Eretz Yisrael.
On any tour of the Galil, they’ll point out the black basalt stones that mark the geographical difference. As he made his long trek from Bavel by foot, Rabi Chanina occasionally picked up the stones along the wayside; they were all very lightweight. When he finally felt the dissimilarity, he knew he had entered the Holy Land.
Besides being a laughter therapist, Yehudit Kotler also massages using hot stones. Black, brown, grey – they’re all very smooth to the touch and fit neatly into the palm so that after she has applied oil on her client and the stones are at just the right temperature on her hotplate, she begins the massage.
“My friends know I collect stones. One brought me a nice smooth one and as soon as I held it, I instinctively felt that it was from the Dead Sea. I was right. Another friend brought me several stones, but as I held them, I couldn’t feel any energy flowing from them. It turned out they were not from Eretz Yisrael at all. And she had shlepped them all the way for me…”
Yehudit does lots of things with her hands, reaching out to help people, like reflexology, massage therapy, lymphatic drainage, hot cups (modern style – these are plastic!),hugging and electrolysis.
She does lots of things with her face as well. And with her home. Intrigued, I accepted an invitation to see her multi-action at a monthly laughter therapy session in her home, which she does for free, lichvod rosh chodesh. It’s a Yom Tov for women, she explains, and she wants to spread good will and happiness through laughter to whomever is interested.
It was the Thursday evening before Rosh Chodesh Sivan when I attended and I didn’t think too many women would come. I was in for a surprise when I joined a big roomful which swelled to over thirty women, aged sixteen to seventy-something, like Simcha who came all the way from Haifa and planned to sleep over by her friend from Beitar whom she had also brought. There was Shula from Ramot, whom Yehudit swims with every morning, and several other women whom Shula had invited from Pisgat Zeev and a dozen young girls who came for the fun. Lots of new faces but lots of regulars as well, including Simcha (could it have something to do with her name?).
Yehudits’ face is extraordinarily flexible, as if it were molded from elastic to help her laugh, which is infectious, and draws you to her.
I am intellectually fascinated by the idea of laughter as a tool. Tzippy Dagan and Yehudit Kotler are very different in personality but their common denomination, which I am certain is shared by other chareidi laughter therapists, and there are many!, is the urge to reach out and give and make people happier and healthier in body and soul. They all take their cues from Jewish sources, and this is very pronounced throughout. It is a mission towards which their G-d-given talents have led them.
We could go all the way back to the father of all psychology, the wisest of men who understood the human psyche and gave us invaluable guidelines for living in Sefer Mishlei – Shlomo Hamelech, of course. But we’ll suffice with R’ Nachman of Breslev, whose writings are chock full of good advice, straight from the hip or in the form of very deep parables.
“From excess of troubles which man suffers, in body, soul and money (!)… he is unable to be joyous except through shtus, to make himself like a fool, in order to arrive at simchah.” Very strong words. And this is a big key to laughter therapy as a whole. You begin by (making a fool of yourself )pretending and then laughing your head off – and come to the realization, then and the next day etc., that laughter is not a laughing matter.
It is a healthy approach to life and its hard balls. It is a looking glass perspective on the world not to take the things that don’t really count too seriously. To make light of things, see light in things, to light you all the way to olam haba with happy, healthy laughter.
Not everyone can laugh, believe it or not. Holocaust survivors in old age homes are given laughter therapy. Yehudit administers laughter therapy to women from Beit Nattan, a support and help organization for cancer patients. One woman sat stony-faced throughout the session, not cracking a single smile. Yehudit has exercises to loosen people up, make them lose their inhibitions and to have some belly-laughing fun. Here, they’re supposed to laugh in animal talk and she begins laughing like a chicken, putting her hands under her armpits, fingers spread apart like feathers, and cackling aloud. (This is real R’ Nachman stuff and he has a beautiful, well known story about someone impersonating a chicken who cured a mentally ill man.) She goes on with other animals, and you have a roomful of silly women cackling or mooing etc. which is ridiculously funny and liberating.
This woman did not respond at all. But at the end, when the others had left, she went over to Yehudit and said, “ I suggest you add the laughter of the crow.”
“How does a crow laugh?” Yehudit asked. The woman spread her arms wide, up and down, up and down, and began crowing for all she was worth. No, it wasn’t just funny,it was amazing, and it was a breakthrough, a major one. A crack through the stone armor.
Yehudit begins each Rosh Chodesh session with a simple dvar Torah about the upcoming month: for Sivan it had to do with the sefirah of hod, which Kabbala says is represented by the left leg. Hod is also connected to thanksgiving, hodayah, and she intertwined her messages with her laughter and massages. Every laughter therapist has her own style, makes up her own exercises, and hers includes a lot of self massaging to loosen up tight, tense muscles in the abdomen, shoulders etc. This time we also concentrated on our left leg and our ten fingers.
Yehudit’s therapy room downstairs has a cute little embroidered pillow with a message I never saw before: “If friends were a flower, I’d pick you.” I believe she would pick any person to be a friend, take a genuine interest in her, try to help her in whatever way she knew how, be it through laughter, massage, reflexology – and then put that person back into the soil to grow and become beautiful in mind,body and soul.
Thank you, Yehudit, who is available at 02-586-1554,052-286-3317 or firstname.lastname@example.org., for bat-mitzvah or celebrations with a message and a zing, for students,groups,teachers, end of year parties and privately.
And yours truly, with a big happy smile, email@example.com
Butterfly Magazine Interviews
Yehudit Kotler, Laughter Leader
Hello Yehudit. Can you tell Butterfly readers about yourself and what you do?
I am a laughter leader and I lead laughter sessions in all sorts of situations. I work with cancer patients, terror victims, in an old age home, at Bat Mitzva parties, and with regular Mommies. I also lead a laughter session every month, Lichvod Rosh Chodesh, in my home in Ramot, Yerushalayim, free of charge.
What happens at a laughter session?
At a laughter session, I explain the benefits of laughter and why it’s important to laugh in our stress filled life. And then we proceed to laugh. We just start laughing and laughing. We have some laughter exercises related to the Yom Tov coming up, some with yoga incorporated, and some just for fun. We invite our inner child to join, giving it permission to enjoy and let go and participate in the group activity.
How do you get ladies that come in to just start laughing?
By doing exercise that induce laughter. Laughter is contagious. We make eye contact and connect with the other women. A lady that is new at it can fake the laughter. Very quickly, she will find herself laughing for real. As Chazal teach us, “ A person becomes what is actions are.”
Our goal is to find a pure simcha, and we can use laughter as a tool to get there. We begin by simulating laughter. Then we learn to laugh just for fun. And eventually, when something doesn’t go as planed, we will find ourselves laughing. As I am fond of saying, “Kol ma de’avid rachmana, litzchok avid.”
How do you bring this into your life?
I was once all dressed about to leave the house to leader a laughter group. When I opened the fridge (Y – I forgot how it goes! Please correct!) and took out a container of tomatoe puree, I hadn’t noticed that the cover wasn’t secure. I was now a tomato covered laughter leader, including the special T-shirt that I wear when I lead a group. I could not believe what was happening! I had to be out of the house already, and here I was covered from top to bottom with red. And then I caught myself. “Oh, this is the Laugh of the Tomatoe Juice. Ha, ha, ha!” And before long, everyone in the kitchen was laughing along with me at this hilarious sight of their mother covered in tomato juice.
And my reward was soon to follow. Some time later, my daughter was working in the kitchen, when by mistake, (guess what?) her brother splashed tomato juice all over her. She was about to scream at him and let him really have it, when she remembered. . “The Laugh of the Tomatoe Juice. Ha, ha, ha!” And when I heard them laughing, I knew I had succeeded.
As I am being interviewed, I am sitting up with my leg in a cast. I was walking in a parking lot, missed a wire, fell, and cracked a bone in my foot. Being that I am an extremely active lady, it could’ve made me very down to be forcibly held down all day. But as soon as it happened I made a decision. “A man thinks, and Hashem laughs.” I might as well laugh along with Him. And I’ve been doing that ever since.
What a positive way to live a life. But it sounds a bit unrealistic. I mean, not everything in life is a laughing matter!!
Specifically us, single mothers, there is so much stress and difficulties that we encounter on a daily basis. How can we muster the koach to laugh when we find nothing to laugh about?
You’re definitely right. Laughing is not always the correct reaction in every circumstance. People ask me, what do you do, you laugh at fuenerals? No, Shlomo Hamelech said that there’s a time to cry and a time to laugh. It’s great to laugh, but there are definitely times to cry. But -
When we increase the amount of time we focus on laughing, we will end up with a much happier life. And even more so, when we increase our laugher, Hashem will give us more reasons to laugh and less reasons to cry. Try it, it works.
Yes, there are may be many challenges in your life, and laughing doesn’t always come automatically, but that is the challenge. When there is a choice to laugh, will you grab the opportunity? And most of the time, we can choose between laughing and crying. And, please, let’s choose to laugh more often.
I can see much benefit to bringing laughter into our homes through our children. How can we do that?
By example you are teaching. That is the most effective way to demonstrate to your children that you and they can make your home a happy one.
One mother told me that after a laughter class, she decided that during clean-up time, instead of screaming at the kids, she will make a new habit. As the kids clean-up, at the end of a long, hard day, they will all together – laugh. Imagine the difference in this home. A situation which was once filled with tension and screams, now turned into one of laughter, happiness, and long-lasting smiles.
A different lady bought a lot of ice cream one time, and then headed home. On the way home, she made a wrong turn and found herself driving on the road to Tel Aviv. She was so angry at herself for doing such a thing, and began feeding herself all sorts of messages. Then she stopped and asked herself, “What would Yehudit Kotler do? She would make ‘The laughter of the melted ice cream!’ Ha, ha!” So she began laughing and laughing. She came home with the same melted ice cream as she would have, no matter what the experience had been, but instead of a ruined day, she was uplifted and exhilarated with her choice.
When children see that our reaction to a situation is with laughter, they take the que and they will learn to do it to. Soon you’ll be having a happy laughing family.
OK. Yehudit. You got us. Now we are ready to all start laughing. What in the world do we do to begin?
Yehudit Kotler lives in Yerushalyaim, she is a certified reflexologist, massage therapist, and deals in healing for mind, body, and soul. She has been practicing electrolysis for thirty years. She can be contacted at 052-286-3317 02-586-1554 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Physical benefits of Laughter
Research has shown that laughter has both preventive and therapeutic values.
Laughter helps us keep healthy by enriching the blood with ample supplies of oxygen, the lifeline of our system. This helps to increase the lung capacity, thus enhancing oxygen supply to the body.
Laughter helps to remove the negative effects of STRESS, which is the number one killer today. More than 70% of illnesses like high blood pressure, heart disease, anxiety, depression, frequent coughs and colds, peptic ulcers, insomnia, allergies, asthma, menstrual difficulties, tension headaches, stomach upsets and even cancer, have some connection to stress.
Laughter helps to boost the IMMUNE SYSTEM, which is the master key for maintaining good health.
Other benefits include:
Helps control high blood pressure and heart disease. While there are many factors for these like heredity, obesity, smoking and excessive intake of saturated fats, stress is one of the major factors. Laughter definitely helps to control blood pressure by reducing the release of stress-related hormones and bringing relaxation.
Increasing stamina through increased oxygen supply
Alleviates pain and gives a sense of well being by releasing endorphins, the body’s painkiller hormones.
Effective antidote for depression, anxiety and psychosomatic disorders: laughter boosts the production of serotonin, a natural anti-depressant.
Gives an excellent internal massage to the digestive tract and enhances blood supply to important internal organs like the liver, spleen, pancreas, kidneys and adrenal glands.
Ensures good sleep and reduces snoring because laughter is very good for the muscles of the soft palate and throat
Brings a happy glow to your face and makes your eyes shine with a thin film of tears which are squeezed from the lachrymal sacs during the act of laughter.
Source: www. Laughteryoga.org
Typical Laughter Session
DURATION 20 - 30 minutes (maximum). Each bout of laughter should last for 30-40 seconds, followed by clapping and “ho ho ha ha ha” exercise. Take two deep breaths after every laughter exercise.
STEP 1: Clapping in a rhythm 1-2, 1-2-3 along with chanting of “Ho-Ho-Ha-Ha-Ha”
STEP 2: Deep Breathing with inhalation through the nose and prolonged exhalation. (3 times)
STEP 3: Shoulder, neck and stretching exercises (5 times each)
STEP 4: Hearty Laughter: Laughter by raising both the arms in the sky with the head tilted a little backwards. Feel as if laughter is coming right from your heart.
STEP 5: Greeting Laughter: Joining both the hands and greeting in Indian style (Namaste) or shaking hands (Western Style) with at least 4-5 people in the group.
STEP 6: Appreciation Laughter: Join your pointing finger with the thumb to make a small circle while making gestures as if you are appreciating your group members and laughing simultaneously.
STEP 7: One Meter Laughter: Move one hand over the stretched arm of the other side and extend the shoulder (like stretching to shoot with a bow and arrow). The hand is moved in three jerks by chanting Ae...., Ae....., Aeee..... and then participants burst into laughter by stretching both the arms and throwing their heads a little backwards and laughing from the belly. (Repeat 4 times).
Milk Shake Laughter (a variation): Hold and mix two imaginary glasses of milk or coffee and at the instruction of the leader pour the milk from one glass into the other by chanting Aeee...., and then pour it back into the first glass by chanting Aeee..., after that everyone laughs making a gesture as if they are drinking milk. (Repeat 4 times).
STEP 8: Silent Laughter (without sound): Open your mouth wide and laugh without making any sound and look into each others' eyes and make some funny gestures.
STEP 9: Humming Laughter (with mouth closed): Laughter with closed mouth and a humming sound. While humming keep on moving in the group and shaking hands with different people.
STEP 10: Swinging Laughter: Stand in a circle and move towards the center by chanting Aee....Ooo....Eee...Uuu...
STEP 11: Lion Laughter: Extend the tongue fully with eyes wide open and hands stretched out like the claws of a lion and laugh from the tummy
STEP 12: Cell Phone Laughter: Hold an imaginary mobile phone and try to laugh, making different gestures and moving around in the group to meet different people.
STEP 13: Argument Laughter: Laugh by pointing fingers at different group members as if arguing.
STEP 13: Forgiveness / Apology Laughter: Immediately after argument Laughter catch both your ear lobes and laugh while shaking your head (Indian style) or raise both your palms and laugh as if saying sorry.
STEP 14: Gradient Laughter: Gradient laughter starts with bringing a smile on the face, slowly gentle giggles are added and the intensity of laughter is increased further. Then the members gradually burst into hearty laughter and slowly and gradually bring the laughter down and stop.
STEP 15: Heart to Heart Laughter (Intimacy Laughter): Come closer and hold each others hands and laugh. One can shake hands or hug each other, whatever feels comfortable.
CLOSING TECHNIQUE: Shouting 3 Slogans:
''We are the happiest people in this World'' Y..........E........S
"We are the healthiest people in this World" Y..........E........S
"We are Laughter Club members» Y..........E........S
In the end all the members should stand with their eyes closed for one minute with their arms spread upwards, hoping for world peace.
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How do you practice Laughter Yoga every day when you have no access to a local laughter club, or your local laughter club only meets once in a while?
The answer is easy, and the obvious second best: you call someone and laugh with them on the phone!
Laughing on the phone is easy. Nothing can stop you if / when you are willing to laugh. The format to use is the same as a laughter session. Here are a few ideas:
greet one another and laugh at the same time;
do an "echo" laughter - each one of you laughing in turn while the other "echos" the same laughter sound as quickly as s/he can.
occasionally chant "ho ho ha ha ha" together
both stand up, look up and laugh at the ceiling (this will open your chest and make it easier to laugh)
tell yourselves the punch line of a joke in gibberish (a language that has no meaning) and both laugh as if it was the best thing you had ever heard. Do that a few times both in turn, as if you both had many very good jokes.
point at any part of your body that is painful / uncomfortble and laugh about it as if the person on the line could see it. You could turn that into a (phone) competition of who has the most scars / hurt
s (the winner gets to laugh more).
try a silent laughter, laughing with your eyes and mouth (open or closed) and without making sounds
The main thing to remember is that this is an exercise. Simulate (read "fake") laughter first and progressively let it turn into real laughter.
I'm in! Where do I start?
Option 1: you already know someone / have friends willing to experiment with this. Just do it.
Option 2: you don't know anybody. Well, if you don't say so, nobody will find out. Post your request in our online forum. We would strongly suggest you do not leave your phone number there, only an email address. Interested people will contact you and you can take it from there.
May you be blessed with zillions of daily belly rippling laughter!