Do you sometimes feel stress, weariness or gloom? What if the solution is to laugh more? Indeed, as an adult, the time we spend laughing is rare and therefore precious. However, it is up to us to reconnect with this natural joie de vivre, which was so present during our childhood. Cultivating joy is possible today! So, to help you on this path, I am telling you everything today about the yoga of laughter. A yoga practice that is very different from asanas and meditations, but one that is sure to please you!
What is laughter yoga?
Laughter Yoga, also called "Hasya Yoga", was created by an Indian doctor, Madan Kataria, in response to the observation that laughter improves health. Indeed, he realized that his patients healed better when they showed joy of life rather than when they were sad and sullen. He then created the first "Laughter Club" and then spread his concept throughout the world. Over the years, he has trained thousands of laughter yoga teachers and there are now tons of laughter clubs around the world.
In these types of clubs, participants get together to laugh together spontaneously, just for fun, without resorting to humor or jokes. Their goal is simply to feel good, by first provoking their laughter or simulating it, and then letting it go naturally. These groups are led by a teacher trained in the yoga of laughter.
Laughter Yoga developed in France in 2002 through the International School of Laughter of Corinne Cosseron, in Belgium in 2003 with the Académie du rire de Belgique and in Canada in 2005 with the School of Laughter Yoga of Linda Leclerc.
The History of Laughter Yoga
Madan Kataria is an Indian general practitioner who used to consult in Mumbai. In 1995, he realized the benefits of laughter on his patients. He then created a method to help them laugh more. Indeed, Madan Kataria goes to a park near his home and observes stressed city dwellers who come to practice yoga and Tai Chi. Convinced by the benefits of laughter, he suggests that they get together daily to laugh together. He then found three people ready to try this original experience and created the first laugh club in the world.
Initially, participants tell each other funny stories, but the spontaneity of laughter fades over time and they soon run out of jokes. Dr. Kataria then has another idea. He observes children and is amazed by their ability to laugh spontaneously. It's not a laugh triggered by something, but a laugh that comes from the heart and body.
By focusing his concept on the use of mimed laughter and yoga breathing, he invented the Yoga of Laughter. The principle is to pretend to laugh to start the session until it is no longer necessary. Yes, laughter makes us laugh!
Moreover, Madan Kataria notes that the body does not know the difference between a spontaneous laugh and a simulated laugh. Thus, we get the same benefits from laughing for fakes as we do from laughing for real.
Convinced by his method, Dr. Kataria has been training laughter club leaders for years. As a result, this type of club is beginning to multiply in India. Later, American psychologist Steve Wilson, whose research focuses on humor, discovers his work and invites Dr. Kataria to visit the West. Madan Kataria thus toured the United States in order to spread the Yoga of Laughter. Today, he continues his training work throughout the world.
If you are not familiar with the yoga of laughter, you probably think that it must be complicated to laugh in a group, with strangers and even more so without any reason. Indeed, it often happens to us to exchange a small laugh with a stranger, in front of a funny situation. For example, that famous moment when we don't know which way to go and the person in front of us hesitates too. But it's a rather shy, discreet laugh that sometimes arises from our discomfort in front of the situation.
Nevertheless, reassure yourself! In a laughter yoga session, there is no room for judgment. On the other hand, although the exercise is not that easy, one element will help you throughout your experience: laughter is contagious! If you are going to pretend at first, laughter will quickly become spontaneous. You will then be focused on the joy that laughter brings you!
Comment se déroule une séance ?
Laughter Yoga sessions consist of laughter and yoga inspired breathing. An exercise to help laugh is also proposed: "Ho Ho Ha Ha". A sequence said aloud while clapping, which is very effective for laughing. And then, suddenly, laughter takes over the room and it becomes difficult to stop it. One laughs at oneself. The neighbor's laughter makes us laugh. And we laugh more and more beautifully... This frees up wellness hormones, which makes us feel much better at the end of each session.
How many laughs do we have each week? It seems that as an adult, we laugh less than 6 minutes a day. Moreover, this figure would be down compared to the 20th century. These sessions therefore help us to reconnect with the joy of being alive!
Want to get started? You can sign up for a group laughter yoga class with a certified teacher. It is an ideal practice to evacuate your stress, your worries and to be more easily in a good mood. In addition, there are also laughter yoga sessions outdoors or in companies.
Finally, if you wish to practice at home, you can also start the day with a big burst of laughter. This will make you feel more joyful and motivated!
Laughter Yoga: what does it bring?
As you can imagine, the benefits of laughter yoga are numerous. Indeed, students who practice this discipline explain that they feel benefits on their mood, their vitality, but also on their overall health. In particular, they report a decrease in the frequency of minor infections (colds, etc.), that they are better able to manage their stress and that their quality of life has improved in the case of chronic illnesses.
In India, it is common for people to meet in parks to laugh together. This small ritual, daily for some, brings them a lot of joy and allows them to feel full of energy, regardless of their age. Some depressed people even describe that they manage to limit or stop their treatment by going through these types of clubs.
In addition, laughter yoga has also made its way into Indian schools. Indeed, during their school day, students take 5 minutes to laugh at the beginning and end of classes. They are also invited to do 10 minutes of laughter at home as soon as they jump out of bed. The teachers have noticed that this really changes the atmosphere of the class by making it more positive. This practice also improves the children's motivation, communication and academic performance.
Similarly, all over the world, Laughter Yoga is taught in hospitals and senior care facilities. In EHPAD in particular, residents generally live with reduced motor and cerebral capacities, pain or degenerative diseases that complicate their daily lives and affect their quality of life. Laughter yoga is therefore an excellent way to provide them with positive sensations. This contributes in particular to keep depression at bay.
What is rigology?
Contrary to what its name indicates, the rigology is more focused on the culture of joie de vivre than on laughter itself. From its inception, the craze for this discipline has been very strong. Thus, Corinne Cosseron organizes numerous events to further develop this technique and gradually trains people in rigology.
The rigology is based on the playful effect of laughter yoga and its corporal approach. However, it also deals with other emotions. Indeed, the goal is not only to put laughter in our lives, but to evacuate all of our emotions in order to reconnect us to our natural state of joie de vivre. This is what allows us to laugh spontaneously. Thus, Corinne Cosseron sees rigology as a philosophy of life that allows us to connect to the best of ourselves, to the best of others, but also to live together in a completely different way.
According to her, laughter would therefore be an excellent way to live in a more harmonious and joyful society.
After this reading, you are probably thinking of taking up the yoga of laughter. But perhaps, in spite of everything, an apprehension remains... " Won't I look ridiculous? Pretending to laugh, isn't that a bit weird? "I invite you to get rid of your preconceived ideas and to open yourself up to this new experience, whether alone or with friends to motivate yourself. The adventure always begins with the need to get out of your comfort zone, but you often come out of it grown up and happy.