India has a rich ancient heritage of Yogic science for healthy living. The word ‘Yoga’ has been derived from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’ which means to unite the mind and body. More precisely, we can say Yoga harmonizes the mind with the body.
The conventional Yoga consists of Asanas and Pranayama. While these asanas and breathing exercises in Yoga are considered to be highly effective when it comes to promoting health for older adults, another form of Yoga that has gained immense popularity in last two decades is Laughter Yoga or Hasya Yoga.
To discover this new trend in Yoga, HappyAging met Makarand Tilloo, a trainer of ‘Laughter Yoga’ in Pune. The ‘Hasyayog’ expert, motivational speaker, stand-up comedian and a social activist says, “Laugh to live and live to laugh.” He is the trustee of the ‘Navchaitanya Hasya Club’ in Pune and leads the ‘Laughter Yoga International Federation’, Maharashtra chapter.
Origin of Laughter Yoga
The conventional Yoga practice is leading us towards healthy India. Laughter Yoga is a relatively new form of Yoga leading us towards a medicine free living.
Makarand Tilloo says, “At Navchaitanya Hasya Club we have a family of more than 15000 members. We are now actively moving towards a stress-free life.”
A little baby laughs 300-500 times a day. As we grow, we forget how to laugh without a cause. The concept of Laughter Yoga is invented by Dr. Madan Kataria in 1995. Dr. Kataria believed that laughter can be a remedy for most difficult situations of life. He realized that it is visually contagious. When we see others laughing, we automatically start laughing. He created laughing techniques and added breathing exercises to it. This is how the practice of ‘Laughter Yoga’ started.
Importance of Laughter Yoga for Older Adults
In recent times, due to the rapidly changing lifestyle, many elderly people have disorders like heart diseases, diabetes, stroke and many more. These diseases cannot be cured with just medicines, but adding Laughter Yoga to medicines and routine exercises, people are getting miraculous results. Laughter Yoga promotes breathing exercises placed in between laughter exercises. Due to this practice, the mind and the body get relaxed at the same time.
Makarand Tilloo, while elaborating this, said, “Due to laughter, the breathing improves. As a result, blood is charged with fresh oxygen.” When the mind and body are relaxed then you can concentrate more effectively on your present. Being in the ‘now’ with the help of laughter, one can forget the regrets of past and anxieties of the future.
There are various mental, physical and emotional benefits of Laughter Yoga. Mood swings. stress, depression can be treated easily with this. Immunity, lung capacity increases drastically through deep breathing, enhancing oxygen supply to all parts of the body. Laughter gives an excellent internal massage to the digestive tract as well as improving blood supply to the internal organs. People who laugh are free of stress as compared to the people who don’t laugh. It makes your day better when you laugh with a group and positive bonds are exchanged.
‘Laughter is the best medicine’, certainly makes sense when you start your day being around such a zestful group of people who laugh their heart out.
Also Read: Yoga to Overcome Insomnia
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