Whether you’re coping with the loss of a loved one or simply looking to increase your joy, happiness and wellness, Jean Leggett recommends that you add more laughter into your life.
Jean is a teacher of Laughter Yoga, a technique invented in 1995 by Dr. Madan Kataria in India. As the name suggests, it combines laughter with yoga breathing. Laughter Yoga is typically done in group classes where people get together and laugh, focusing on making eye contact with each other and engaging in childlike playfulness.
Benefits of Laughter Yoga
Studies have shown that laughing deeply for 10-15 minutes has the same cardiac benefit as 30 minutes of cardio exercise. Laughter Yoga has also been shown to boost your:
- Oxygen intake
- Immune system
- Anti-viral and anti-infection cells
- Emotional intelligence
- Endorphins (feel good hormones), while decreasing cortisol levels (stress hormones)
Laughter Yoga can help with the release of blocked emotions stored in the body, whether from a recent experience or something from the distant past.
What if you don’t feel like laughing?
Jean says you should just fake it. Actors who portray sad characters over a long period of time have been found to start experiencing real symptoms of depression. Luckily, the reverse is also true. When you fake laughter, you will experience the same benefits as if you were laughing for real.
Over time, regularly participating in Laughter Yoga is bound to change your perception of the world, and you’ll be more likely to see things from a positive perspective.
A few minutes of laughter a day may keep the doctor away, but Jean wants us to remember to create the intent for joy in our lives, even when we’re going through difficulties. We can get so caught up in the everyday that we forget that living with joy and happiness is a choice. Scheduling time for laughter, either on our own or through a Laughter Yoga class, ensures that we’re taking our happiness into our hands, and making joy a priority.
Jean Leggett is a certified professional co-active coach, comedian and Laughter Yoga leader, helping clients restart and reconnect with their inner child since 2008. Watch Jean’s Facebook page for news of upcoming Laughter Yoga classes in Barrie, Ontario.