The word silly derives from the old English word 'seely', meaning happy, blissful, lucky or blessed.
You are invited to be silly, feel silly, toss out the adult and indulge your inner child, combining deep yogic breathing and playful laughter exercise, the powerful benefits of which - and this is the serious bit - are now accepted by the medical and scientific worlds.
By laughing longer and deeper (40 seconds and up) we can bring about physiological and biochemical changes in our bodies. Just by laughing in this way, we can increase the supply of oxygen to the brain, creating more energy and a feeling of well-being. We can also lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and release the ‘feelgood’ chemicals, endorphins, which reduce stress, elevate mood and relax muscles. All this helps to strengthen the immune system and reduce pain. Just by laughing?!
‘Can we start right now’...?
And think of it in a business context - if you can get more oxygen to the brain (our brains need 25% more oxygen for optimal functioning than other body systems) concentration, efficiency and performance can be improved.
Laughter Yoga suddenly becomes a ‘must have’ for productivity at the office, and a happier, healthier workforce inside work and out of it – what a gift!
In the same way that mindfulness has now firmly found its place in the corporate setting, big name corporate companies are investing in Laughter Yoga.
Laughter Yoga saw its roots in 1995, when its Indian founder, Dr Madan Kataria, looked for ways to break through and help certain of his patients heal. American journalist Norman Cousins, diagnosed with a life-threatening spinal disorder in 1979, had already shown that laughing could have a powerful positive effect on health. He found that Marx Brothers movies and Candid Camera episodes made him forget his pain. He lived for another 10 years and wrote a bestseller, Anatomy of An Illness.
You don’t need a particular sense of humour to benefit from Laughter Yoga - we’d soon run out of jokes to suit everyone, and that is what Dr Kataria found in the early days of research.
All that’s required is a willingness to have a go, your body cannot differentiate between fake and real laughter, so it's win win!
It works in many contexts, like Laughter Yoga Clubs (of which there are now over 10,000 in 73+ different countries) and it’s great in the workplace or with seniors, community groups or schools.
Whatever the time or place, your Yoga Laughter leader will guide you through. This is a group activity where an intoxicating blend of eye contact, smiling and childlike playfulness seamlessly combine to make laughter real and contagious.
Now doesn’t the world need a whole load more of that kind of positive connection?
I’m delighted to be able to offer Gently Be’s Laughter Yoga experience and I’d love you to come and join us for a really good laugh!
Laughter Yoga will be a part of all of our Time Out Days, Courses and Weekends (for more on those go to our website Gently be) and we would be delighted to visit your school or workplace and bring you all of Laughter Yoga’s benefits (call me, Ali 07840 737588)
It will be my great pleasure to lead you from chortle, to chuckle to guffaw, after guffaw, after guffaw!