“When you have a heartfelt belly laugh, all parts of your being – the physiological, the psychological, the spiritual – they all vibrate in one single tune, they all vibrate in harmony”
Celebrate International Moment of Laughter Day
Traditional meditation involves sitting in silence, trying not to think. This is often tremendously difficult for people and can take years to master. However, there are other forms of meditation – and one in particular that is much easier, and definitely more fun.
In honor of International Moment of Laughter Day, we will explore laughter meditation – its history, benefits and how you can participate.
History and research of laughter meditation
Laughter meditation can be traced back to Mystic Rose Meditation, introduced by Indian mystic and spiritual teacher, Osho in 1988. However, scientists touted laughter’s benefits in the 1960s in America. During that time, Dr Annette Goodheart – a California psychologist, whose specialty was laughter therapy – created the first theoretical framework using voluntary simulated laughter.
Lee Berk, lead researcher of a study presented in Experimental Biology 2014, said, “Joyful laughter immediately produces the same brain wave frequencies experienced by people in a true meditative state.”
Other data indicates laughter can reduce the effects of depression, the risk of heart disease and inflammation.
Laughter yoga, a new form of exercise, promotes the use of laughter as a form of physical exercise. The movement promotes the ideal of a non-political, non-religious, non-racial, non-threatening and non-competitive voluntary – simulated – approach to laughter. Laughter yoga is done in groups, with eye contact, jokes and playfulness between participants. Forced laughter soon turns into real and contagious laughter.
Here’s some tips on how you can try laughter yoga at home:
- Sit comfortably. Focus on your breath, allowing your belly to expand and contract completely.
- With every exhale, release any remaining tension in your body.
- Find an image of something really funny. Take that feeling, and send it through your body.
- Think of another image you find hysterical. Spread that feeling throughout your whole body.
- While breathing, notice the laughter inside your body. This meditation will help you preserve this sensation throughout your day. It will help you reduce stress, improve relationships, and maintain a better sense of wellbeing.
Create a moment of laughter, either through meditation, doing laughter yoga or watching a funny YouTube video with coworkers. Happy Moment of Laughter Day!