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Hasyayoga: the Art of Laughter

Hasyayoga, or Laughter Yoga, is the practice of prolonged voluntary laughter. This practice typically takes place in a group and starts with a playful warm up to help the group feel more comfortable with one another. Laughter yoga was popularized by family physician Madan Kataria, who has written a couple books on the subject, “Laugh for no Reason”, published in 2002 and, “Laughter Yoga: Daily Laughter Practices for Health and Happiness”, published in 2018. The idea is that voluntary laughter can provide the same physical and emotional benefits as spontaneous laughter.

Laughter in itself has powerful benefits for our overall health. Short term benefits or the immediate benefits you receive from laughing are:

-Stimulating Organs, such as the heart and lungs, as well as the muscles, and increasing an intake of oxygen-rich air. The brain also benefits from an increase in endorphins.

-Activate and Relieve Stress Response. While you’re laughing you have an increase in your heart rate and after you’re done laughing you have a decrease in your heart rate and blood pressure, which causes a relaxed feeling.

-Soothe Tension while laughing by stimulating circulation which helps with muscle relaxation.

Long term benefits of laughing include:

-Improved immune system. Positive thoughts increase neuropeptides that help fight stress and the effects of stress on your body.

-Laughing can help as a natural pain killer.

-Increase Personal Satisfaction. Laughing can help your connection with others, as well as the connection you feel with yourself.

-Improves mood. Laughing can help you feel better and increase your self esteem.

Whether you’re laughing for voluntary or spontaneous reasons, add more joy to your life and find the funny. If you need more practice, try a laughter yoga class or add in some laughing practices to your own practice. To get started here are some uproariously funny yogi jokes:

What do you call a bagel that has mastered yoga?

A Pretzel

How does the yogi order a pizza?

Make me one with everything!

What’s a pirate’s least favorite yoga move?

The Plank Pose

Why did the yogi return the vacuum cleaner?

It came with too many attachments

What do you get charged with if you kill a yoga teacher before the start of class?

Premeditated murder

Why did the yogi get fired from her job as a cashier?

Because she kept saying change comes from within

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