She pounced into the room like a carefree child ready to play. As silly as it felt, the media figures, who were gathered for the Laughter Yoga session in conjunction with the Hello Joy Campaign by Mondelez International, had to put on a smile and play along. It felt silly, it felt forced. Hahahahaha… we were encouraged to belt out. Hahahahahaha….
Time seemed to stand still. Why weren’t we sitting down on yoga matts and giggling like the interested women that we were? It wasn’t at all what I expected. The Laughter Yoga class continued on, and with time, the silly laughter seemed to feel physically different. The sense of it being forced seemed to dissipate and our inane laughter became somewhat genuine. It just felt good. One thing is for sure. If you think you can be or feel angry and laugh at the same time, you quickly come to realize that it can’t be done. Laughter truly has the potential to change your mood and more.
Duna Abou Jaoudeh, a yoga teacher, Hypnobirth instructor, Pilate’s instructor, massage therapist, and a ThetaHealing® practitioner as well, answered a few questions about Laughter Yoga for Fit’n Style Magazine.
What exactly is Laughter Yoga?
Laughter Yoga blends voluntary laughter exercises and childlike playfulness. Absolutely anyone of any age can participate in this type of yoga and laugh without a particular reason to do so and essentially reap the positive benefits. The practice is based on the belief that deliberate laughter offers the same physiological and psychological benefits as natural laughter. It is done in groups with plenty of participation and playfulness.
What are the health benefits of Laughter Yoga?
Laughter Yoga is for everyone: children and adults, the young and the old. It is an easy and fun type of exercise that boosts your sense of wellbeing. As you just experienced, laughing (even when it starts out forced) allows you to strip away stress and feel more relaxed. It boosts the immune system by releasing happy hormones. Laughing massages your organs and strengthens your muscles, including your heart, while also oxygenating the brain and making your feel full of energy. And most importantly, especially for us living in Beirut, it helps us all to keep a positive attitude and a healthy mental state in this day and age.
Is Laughter Yoga considered a form of exercise?
Absolutely! Look at how we were actually working up a sweat! You just burned plenty of calories during that session… and don’t you feel great?
The latest research reveals that laughing for about 10-15 minutes a day could burn 2.2 kilos over the span of a year… and that’s no laughing matter!