Frequently Asked Questions
What does it take to practice / be able to laugh for no reason?
You simply have to be willing to laugh. Keep an open mind and enjoy yourself! We don't laugh at others... we laugh WITH others and because of each other. Laughing is contagious and we want to contaminate the world!
What happens during a Laughter Yoga session?
Laughter Yoga is physically-oriented technique that uses a perfect blend of playful, empowering and otherwise "tension-releasing" simple laughter exercises, interspersed with gentle breathing, warm up and stretching exercises, rhythmic clapping and chanting of Ho Ho Ha Ha Ha in unison. Sessions usually end with a most powerful laughter meditation where laughter flows out easily like a fountain. These exercises are done as a way to improve health, increase well-being, and promote peace in the world through personal transformation. In Laughter Yoga you use laughter as a tool, not an emotion.
Do I need to bring a Yoga Mat and wear anything particular?
No, you don't. All you need to bring is a big smile and the willingness to laugh for no reason. Comfortable clothes feel of course nicer, and you can still practice Laughter Yoga in any form of clothing you may have to wear. The only rule to what you can and will do is "no new pain".
Who can benefit from Laughter Yoga?
It is easier to review who can't benefit from Laughter Yoga rather than who can. Basically, anybody with a severe / potentially dangerous or uncontrolled medical condition should always consult their doctor before engaging in any kind of new activity. Everybody else can tremendously benefit from Laughter Yoga. In doubt please use your common sense. No strain. No new pain.
Is this kind of laughter real?
Whether your laugh becomes real or not does not really matter. The body does not make the difference between simulated laughter (as long as you are willing to laugh) and real laughter and produces the same "happy" body chemistry. You will find when you experience Laughter Yoga that laughter is very contagious. Considering that laughter is hard-wired into your system (it is the very nature of life to be joyful), laughter seen / heard or even just felt in a group setting creates more laughter as the body quickly overrides the artificial limitations imposed by the mind (e.g. shyness, inhibitions, etc.) and reconnects in a way with its true nature.
What has laughter to do with yoga?
Much can be said on this subject. In a nutshell, "Yoga" means "union" (between the left and right brain, the masculine and the feminine, the mind and the body) and aims to create balance & harmony in all aspect of human life. Laugher Yoga shares the same goal.
Laughter puts us intensely in the moment. The ability to fully live and experience the "now" is of utmost importance because it is the only moment where we can experience happiness.
Yoga teaches that the mind, body and breath are mirror one to another and that the breath is the link between the other two. In Laughter Yoga, "Laughter" is used as a form of breath work and an excuse to breathe deeper into the abdomen. It gently expands the lung capacity by increasing abdominal breathing. It effectively flushes the 2/3 of "stale air" that most people unknowingly keep inside. Repeated practice teaches one to become more and more consciously aware of his/her own breathing pattern, bringing one into the fearless, trusting and loving "here" and "now" (a mind that is consciously aware of the physical breath cannot go anywhere else).
Awareness is the first step to improvement. Mastery of the breath (in due time) is effectively mastery of the mind and the body.
Is it possible to laugh alone for no reason?
You bet. It would be very tempting to say that it is very easy too, yet we will not cross that line. A little bit of work is required because in the way stands the human mind (read "yours"). We are our biggest enemies.
The key is to take the mind out of the equation / let your heart laugh and you will be amazed at what happens. One way for example is to play with your breath as you do some physical movements (i.e. laugh on each out-breath).
How does Dr. Kataria and his Laughter leaders plan to achieve World Peace through laughter?
Eastern wisdom teaches that "if you change yourself, you will change the world around you". Peace must start within before it can happen without. Today we are on the brink of nuclear disaster and wide spread international terrorism. We are at war within ourselves, which is why there is a war outside in the world. If we can bring peace inside us through laughter clubs, then there will be peace outside too. It is very hard to fight or argue with someone you just laughed your guts out with.
Laughter makes us feel good because it defuses three of the most painful emotions (fear, anger and boredom) by releasing them. That release, in turn, prevents or stops conflicts, eases tension, and helps people to see one another's point of view better.
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