Laughter Meets the Practice of Yoga
World-renowned author Dr. Deepak Chopra recently presented his latest findings concerning overall well-being. With ample research to support his teachings, Chopra communicated that a major influence in one reporting personal well-being is the degree to which that individual socializes with happy people. Have a look around your office and you will surely conclude that such simple advice is easier said than done.
But “Laughter Yoga” – a new form of classes during which students are guided through laughter exercises until the glee begins to flow out naturally – can improve your wellbeing physically, emotionally and spiritually, while adding to your network of jovial companions.
Yoga is about practice. The practitioner moves through poses (many of which are physically uncomfortable) while attempting to maintain equanimity and balance. In addition to the tranquility and sense of accomplishment one experiences upon finishing their daily asanas, the practice seeps through the rest of the day by training one’s mind to react differently to challenging situations.
The brain runs in circuits, and our reaction to adversity follows the pattern with which we are most familiar. This is natural with all reactions unless a conscious effort is made to overcome pre-set patterns; thus, it is imperative that we actively practice retraining the mind to react calmly in the face of challenge since conscious reasoning often evades us in such situations.
The same can be said about practicing laughter and happiness. CanWest News reported in an article by Nickie Polson that studies prove laughter improves immune function, relieves anxiety, burns calories and leads to better interpersonal relationships. So, just as yogis greatly benefit by retraining their set response to adversity to be one of equanimity, yogis will also experience immense improvement in well-being by training themselves to laugh – even in the absence of a punch line.