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Laughter is the best medicine. We have often come across this phrase and, to a great extent, agree with it also. But why is it that we cannot put it into practice? The hustle and bustle of life has caught on with us to such an extent that instead of a smile on our faces, we often bear wrinkles on our foreheads. This is probably what motivated the Indian physician Madan Kataria to start laughter yoga exercises.
Laughter yoga was first started in a Mumbai park way back in 1995. A group of people laughing for no reason is sure to attract attention and this is exactly what happened then. Being a rather strange act, the new phenomenon was reported on TV. There were magazine and newspaper articles about it.
The benefits of laughter were recognised and laughter yoga caught on. Laughter clubs sprung up in towns and cities and today, there are thousands of such clubs across the globe. Every morning, people gather in parks and open spaces to laugh their hearts out.
In laughter clubs, people laugh just for the sake of laughing. But just standing and laughing can become monotonous after a point. Variety is needed to sustain interest. Different clubs have different methods to conduct laughing sessions.
Here is a list of laughter yoga exercises that is followed by many clubs. They might have different names for each but the method is more or less the same.
Greeting laughter: Greeting with a smile is good but greeting one another with laughter is even better. Rather than using the face muscles to just twitch a bit, why not give them a little more exercise, open the mouth a little and let out a good laughter?
Gradient laugher: If you are not the type who can laugh all of a sudden, the gradient laughter is just for you. Smile a little, giggle some and gradually let out a laugh which goes on increasing.
Hearty laughter: When the mood sets in, you can be prepared for a good hearty laugh. Laugh the way you have heard Santa laugh with a loud HO! HO! HO!
Argument laughter: Arguments are not good and are a real spoiler of events. Laughter yoga exercises give arguments a new face. Argue but with laughter. You cannot resist laughing out louder than intended.
Ignorant laughter: You are laughing but do not know the reason behind the laughter. You look at each other and give a puzzled expression and once again break out into another spell of laughter.
Back pain laughter: Laugh your wits out while holding your back bend forward. It will seem like you are having a backache, but it is just another move in the laughter exercise.
Vowel laugher: Why laugh in one monotonous tone. Bring on a variety and start with each vowel sound. The sound in itself can bring about greater strings of laughter.
Hula hoop laughter: Move your waist as if you are hula-hooping. Along with the waist movement, start laughing with your club members. Before you realise it, you will have done your waist exercise also.
Electric shock laughter: How would you react if you get an electric shock. Now, recall the reaction and imitate it. You cannot help suppressing your laughter.
Joke laughter: Once again imitate a situation. Recall a very funny joke. Or if you cannot recall one, which is not likely, think about the way you would have reacted to a rather humorous joke. Laugh in the same manner.
Wave laughter: When you laugh without a care in the world, you do not care about the things happening around you. Wave laughter is one such kind. Laugh out loud, stretch your hands over your head and still laughing, bring the hands down to touch the feet.
Clap laughter: We clap when we are happy. When we laugh out at times, we clap our hands also. Clap and laugh at the same time. You are sure to feel lighter and relaxed.
And how do these laughing yoga exercises benefit you? Laughing helps release stress allowing positive energy to flow through your body and mind. Laughter yoga exercises are found to be good for cardiovascular patients too.