Because “Laughter is the Best Medicine” and Laughter Yoga is a Shortcut to Joy and Happiness!
“I don’t know whether the universe, with its countless galaxies, stars and planets, has a deeper meaning or not, but at the very least, it is clear that we humans who live on this earth face the task of making a happy life for ourselves. Therefore, it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness.” – H.H. Dalai Lama
Every single thing we do or don’t do has one aim: to make us happier.
Think of it…we sleep to recharge our batteries and have more energy for the next day. And having energy is a happier state than being run down and tired.
We eat for the same reason…because we are happier with a full and satisfied belly rather than an empty one.
We go to work to have money to pay the rent or the mortgage. Why? Because we are happier under shelter than out in the cold and rain.
We buy a car so we can drive rather than walk. Why? We believe the convenience makes us happier.
We get married because we believe sharing a life with someone is a happier state of affairs than being alone.
Golfers play golf because it gives them joy. Well OK, maybe there is more frustration than joy in golf for many….but, perhaps overcoming that frustration is a challenge we enjoy (makes us happier).
We talk to our friends because we enjoy their company and we feel better for it.
We buy all kinds of things and experiences; junk food, lipstick, ice cream cones, books, music, flat screen TVs, computers, jewelry, pots and pans, plants and flowers for the yard and the home, light bulbs to light our homes. We go to movies, sport events and holidays all to get some measure of pleasure…or happiness. But…
What if there were a Shortcut to Happiness?
A way to get the same feeling we get from our more pleasurable activities or purchases. And what if that shortcut was free?
Laughter is the shortcut!
Can you remember laughing so hard tears came out of your eyes? Rolling around on the floor holding your sides? Laughing until you were too tired to laugh any more? How long has it been since that happened to you?
At Laughter Yoga sessions, you get to do just that.
Laughter Yoga is the unique concept that anyone can laugh for no reason!
We don’t need jokes, comedy or even a sense of humour.
It was started in 1995 by a medical doctor in India, Dr. Madan Kataria, who was doing research on the medical benefits of laughter and found a wealth of scientific studies supporting the concept that “laughter is the best medicine.” From five people in a park, it has grown to over 6,000 Laughter Yoga clubs worldwide in 60 countries…without any advertising budget.
Laughter Yoga introduction by founder Dr. Madan Kataria:
Laughter Yoga is so popular because it works!
People generally feel much better, more relaxed, yet energized, calm, yet alert and…happier after a Laughter Yoga session. Also…
This is not some weird California cult.
Here is a CNN Report on Laughter Yoga:
Laughter Yoga is non-religious, non-political and non-profit. People get together just to laugh.
But: how can one laugh when there is nothing to laugh at?
Good question. What we do is laughter “exercises!”
And, by moving around having eye contact with others, “fake” laughter can become “real” laughter.
One of the great secrets of the Universe is: It doesn’t matter if the laughter is “fake” or “real.”
The body does not know the difference between simulated (“fake”) laughter and “ real” laughter.
What a deal! So, just by faking laughter for awhile, I can feel as good as listening to the best comedians in the world?
Talking of comedians, Monty Python’s John Cleese visited Laughter Yoga in India. Here is his report for the BBC:
And talking of stress…
Stress is the #1 killer…
Laughter is the #1 “Stressbuster!”There are many very real health benefits to laughter
The reason it is called Laughter Yoga is because we use deep breathing from yoga. In everyday life, we tend to breathe in a shallow fashion, using perhaps a third of our lung capacity. With deep breathing using almost all of the lung capacity, more oxygen is circulated to the body and the brain, giving more energy, boosting the immune system and giving health benefits.
In fact, Dr. Otto Warburg, President of the Institute of Cell Physiology and twice a Nobel Prize Winner says: “Deep breathing techniques increase oxygen to the cells and are the most important factors in living a disease-free and energetic life. When cells get enough oxygen, cancer will not and cannot occur.”
Not only is laughter a shortcut to happiness, but it also helps to fight cancer!
Laughter Yoga is fun exercise.
In this busy life, many people do not find the time to exercise. Laughter is a fund way to add exercise to the schedule.
As the Dalai Lama said: “…we humans who live on this earth face the task of making a happy life for ourselves. Therefore, it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness.”
May you have much laughter in your life.
To find out about Laughter Yoga club times and for more information, contact us: 1.484.727.5230…or e: firstname.lastname@example.org
Matti Anttila, CLYT, PLD (Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher, Professional Laughter Dude)
Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher Matti Anttila
with Laughter Yoga founder Dr. Madan Kataria
P.S. Always have to have a P.S. (Those who don’t read the body of an article, may read the P.S., so here is the Laughter Yoga story once again…in different words…well, much the same words, just in a different order. Just in case you’re not convinced yet.)
A Simple Method for Joy!
Take the short cut to joy and happiness
We do all kinds of things to attain a happier life.
Go to school to get a better job to make more money to buy more things…all to get happier.
We buy cars, houses and big screen TVs…all to get happier.
We get married, have children, go on holidays…all to get happier.
All these strategies work…in varying degrees.
But…have you noticed?
Some or all of these strategies only work for a while.
The job we have may not end up quite as ideal…stresses and strains…deadlines, unfriendly coworkers or bosses. At least we are making money to buy things to make us happy.
Only…the new car thrill wears out after awhile, the house needs a new roof, the basement leaks, the kitchen needs redoing, the garden is a mess and…lots of work and money.
Let’s buy that big screen TV…wow, what a thrill, but we better get the 5 channel 1000 watt surround sound to go with it…now, that’s more like it…makes it all worthwhile…
But, after awhile…it’s just another appliance.
But, “We got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper sprout…” Then the kids came along and what joy.
Only, only, now they are teenagers and can’t stand us…oh well, just a phase, they’ll grow out of it.
Let’s take that cruise or trip to Hawaii…”We need to get away…”
And so it goes…any of this sound familiar?
What can we add? Empty nest time? Kids are all gone and they’re busy with their lives now and we don’t see them or the grandkids as much as we would like.
This endless merry-go-round…when will it all end and I can feel real happiness? Happiness that lasts?
Let me tell you a story…a story around happiness and a “brilliant flash of the obvious.”
My friend Gene told me something shifted inside when he started going to Laughter Yoga a few times a week. So I tried it out, going 2, 3 and 4 times a week and yes, it happened for me as well: the shift to another level of happiness and joy.
We all have a “happiness set-point.” That is according to Marci Shimoff in her wonderful book “Happy for No Reason.”
She found a lot of scientific research into happiness and that we all have this set point. We fluctuate above it and below it, but we always tend toward the same place.
And, here is the great secret about this:
The “happiness set-point” is not re-set by outside circumstances.
It is nothing outside of us that changes our long term happiness.
Shimoff points to studies done with lottery winners. Oh yes, don’t we all want to win the multi-million dollar lottery and don’t we imagine how it will change our lives. How happy we will be, all debt erased, money in the bank, buy what we want whenever we want it, travel as much as we want, get that dream home, a few cars, throw in a motorcycle for summer days and you know the dream.
Well, the reality is nothing like that. Oh, all the things that money can buy part is true.
But what actually happened to those lottery winners?
As you can imagine, they became very happy, very quickly. But, after about one year, after much emotional fluctuation, they ended up about as happy as they were before the lottery win!
Now, here is the real fascinating result from those happiness studies.
People who had horrible accidents happen to them, who lost all four limbs and became quadriplegic, became depressed as you might imagine.
After about a year though, they came back to their original level of happiness!
Happiness, our long term happiness level or “set-point,” is not determined by anything outside of us.
It’s an “inside job.”
And I am here to testify, that Laughter Yoga is what finally re-set my happiness set-point.
Oh, believe me, I still fluctuate up and down…get happier and get less happy. However, I laugh more easily, let go of stuff easier.
Something that upsets me still causes me to say: “Oh shoot”…but in the next moment, I remember to laugh.
Ever hear the saying: “Someday, we’ll look back on this and laugh?”
I am here to tell you that we can do it right away…we don’t have to wait for someday.
It’s so silly how we run our lives…why hang on to the bad feelings of an unhappy event for years before we are able to laugh about it?
Why not laugh about it in the next minute, the next second, right now?
Easier said than done? It was…until now.
Now, we have Laughter Yoga to retrain our “laughter response.” To tune up our “laughter bone” as it were.
Bonuses: There are a lot of them.
When we realize we can access joy despite anything that is going on outside us, we no longer have to spend money on “things” to try to attain happiness.
Nothing wrong with buying “stuff” if it turns your crank, but we can be freer to enjoy the stuff even more when we don’t place the expec tation of that stuff creating a change in our long term happiness.
Other Bonuses: Laughter Yoga…
* Is fun exercise
* Feels good (as reported by many laughers around the world)
* Improves circulation (movement of the diaphragm causes more oxygen to be sent to the cells)
* Boosts the immune system (as most exercise does really)
* Stimulates digestion and internal organs (although if you’re busting a gut and rolling around on the floor, that’s the last thing you’ll be thinking about)
* Helps with pain management (you may still have the pain, but you may be too busy laughing to think about it)
* Slows the aging process (if you’re laughing, it means you’re still alive)
* Smooths out wrinkles (maybe…I’ve still got mine)
* Improves breathing (not sure about this one, sometimes it’s hard to catch my breath when I’m laughing so hard)
* Makes you beautiful (hey, everyone is beautiful when they smile or laugh.)
*Makes you rich! (Not really. I just said that to see if you were paying attention. But sometimes we can’t imagine how any rich person could possibly feel better than we do after a laughter session!)
Isn’t that enough already? What, you want it to cure cancer too?
Well, as a matter of fact, read this quote from Dr. Otto Warburg, president of the Institute for Cell Physiology, and twice a Nobel Prize winner:
“Deep breathing techniques increase oxygen to the cells and are the most important factors in living a disease-free and energetic life. When cells get enough oxygen, cancer will not and cannot occur.”
Come try it out…why, if it doesn’t work for you, we will give you double your misery back. Just kidding. Seriously, whoops, we are never very serious….I meant to say, sincerely, this has grown from humble beginnings:
A medical Doctor from India started this in 1995. Dr. Madan Kataria had 5 participants in a park. Now, there are now over 6,000 Laughter Yoga Clubs around the world in 60 countries….with no money spent on advertising!! Gotta be a reason! And the reason is it works! It’s fun and improves health.
What to expect:
We start out with some gentle warm ups, slowly moving into some simple deep breathing exercises and then the actual laughter “exercises.” Very quickly, many of those who thought they were “too shy” or “this is too weird for me” or other thoughts like that, find themselves having fun just like when they were kids.
In fact, childlike play is part of Laughter Yoga. We also encourage everyone to go at their own speed and not do too much. (How can you laugh too much, you might wonder? Well, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing, so Certified Laughter Yoga Leaders are highly trained to encourage laughter, but also to bring the group back to balance at the end of the session).
Basically, you can expect to have a good time…if you’re willing, of course…we can’t force you to laugh :-).
Need more info? Contact us: 1.484.727.5230.
Laughter Yoga Clubs:
· Most are “Drop in,” no appointment needed
· Last about one hour
· Wear Comfortable Clothes
· No yoga poses, just laughter
· Non-religious, non-political
Dr. Kataria’s Laughter Yoga International Website: www.laughteryoga.org
American School of Laughter Yoga: http://www.laughangeles.com/
Yours in Laughter,
Matti Anttila, Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher, Professional Laughter Dude. Contact us: 1.484.727.5230.
P.S.#1 Laughter relieves stress and you tell me who isn’t stressed out in today’s world! If it isn’t trying to make ends meet, pay the mortgage and feed the kids, it’s global warming, terrorism and the latest pandemic scare on the news. You would have to have your head in the sand not to feel some stress. So, come check out the #1 stress buster, laughter.
P.S. #2 Just in case you are saying, “I laugh throughout the day, what do I need a club for?” I have news for you: the average length of a laugh is about 3-5 seconds!!!
You need about 10-15 minutes of sustained laughter to get the medical and health benefits I talked about earlier. You are just not going to get that in everyday life….unless you go to a comedy club every night and there is a great comic there each and every night! What are the chances of that? Slim and none, right?
P.S. #3 Besides all that, you just can’t laugh for no reason in public…they might come and take you away. In a Laughter Yoga Club, we create a safe and supportive place to let go and really have a good laugh.
P.S . #4 Did you know that Norman Cousins laughed himself back to health from an often fatal disease? (Ankylosing Spondylitis, a very painful form of arthritis). If it worked for his arthritis, it may work for whatever you have…You can only find out by trying it out. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Cousins
By the way, Norman Cousins book, “Anatomy of an Illness,” was the inspiration for Dr. Kataria to begin his research on “Laughter is the Best Medicine.”
P.S. #5 Remember, it’s guaranteed! Double your misery back if it doesn’t work. (Hey, come on, I know I said it before, but it’s one of the few jokes I remember.) Did I mention, you don’t need jokes or even a sense of humour?
Works for anybody who is willing.
Look forward to seeing ya.
Matti Anttila, Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher, Professional Laughter Dude. For info, contact us: 1.484.727.5230 or email us at email@example.com
Another Darn P.S.(Links)
What’s So Funny? Article in Yoga Journal: http://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/298
Defining Laughter (for the left brain engineers amongst us:-):
Wikipedia defines Laughter Yoga:
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