08 May 2008

Laughing More

A long list of benefits goes to those who learn to laugh well and laugh often. Perhaps that is why more people are beginning to use laughter as a form of recreation, amusement, and regeneration. Around the world, you can find laughter clubs, and centers for laughter yoga.
...laughter yoga (also known as hasya yoga) can provide many health benefits:

* Help to reduce stress
* Enhance the immune system
* Strengthen cardiovascular functions
* Oxygenate the body by boosting the respiratory system
* Improve circulation
* Tone muscles
* Help with digestion and constipation

“Kids laugh about 400 times a day, and adults only about 15,” notes Barb Fisher, a certified laughter yoga leader...As developed by laughter yoga creator Madan Kataria, a family physician from India,

....these laughing exercises can include many varieties, such as:

* Hearty laughter: Laughter by raising both the arms in the sky with the head tilted a little backwards.
* Greeting laughter: Joining both the hands and shaking hands with at least four or five people in the group.
* 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.

...“The biggest effect that I’ve gotten from laughter yoga is what it’s done for me mentally, and that it has lightened up my day and my week,” says Deborah Slosberg. “I also think it has improved my breathing.”

“It gives me a relaxed feeling, and yet I actually feel like I worked out,” says Ann Twork. “You get back some of the child in you.”
Laughter has been used as meditation for centuries, and as modern medical therapy for decades. In my experience, laughter serves as a re-balancing of the brain and body tension settings.

All of us know of people who seem without humour, without any sense of lightness. You may find persons like that at work, but you certainly are impacted by politicians, journalists, and activists of all stripes who are without the depth and perspective that comes from being able to see the funnier side of life.

This is one part of your life where you are almost completely on your own, unless you were born into a large family rich with humour, or married well in levity and truth. You can find help, if you need it, from the clubs and yoga centers near you. Can't find one? Start one yourself.

The best laughter I have had is the kind that wakes me up from dreams. But there is also benefit to be had from designed laughter.

The next time someone comes along trying to convince you of the truth and importance of a cause--any cause--look for the humour that may be there. The more intent and zealous the cause, the harder you may have to look. That's fine. The payoff will be worth it by the look on the zealot's face when you burst into the deepest belly laugh of your life.

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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