February 27, 2007
It's contagious. It makes your ribs a little sore, and comes from the pit of your stomach. What is "it"?
"It" is laughter.
Here is a closer look into one of the latest forms of yoga that is sure to make you wonder about the power of laughter.
This music is calming for some people, it's soothing, tranquil and relaxing, just like yoga.
So is laughing.
"Laughing Yoga is basically using the idea of laughter as a way to express our own self, or true self," said Bharata Wingham of Yogaville.
Bharata Wingham leads laughing yoga sessions at Yogaville located in Buckingham County, Virginia. He says the laughter spewed out during the classes creates it's own "happy hour."
"Which makes us feel more confident, more happy, and makes our moods get better. It also helps boost our creativity level, and clears our thinking," added Wingham.
It seems so simple to laugh whether it is real, or fake. Wingham said both can make his clients healthier.
University of Virginia Doctor Randolph Canterbury said it's no joke.
"When people go through the motions of laughing, there is a feedback mechanism from them brain the muscles involved in laughter, so there is feedback to the mood regulator in the brain. It improves the mood," said Doctor Randolph Canterbury.
"And that is really working for me," added Wingham.
"It really is exhausting, but why?
"It's actually like an aerobic in a sense when they do the laughter games. They are very energetic, and it boosts your energy level. So, when you are not used to that at first, then it is like when you go for a run when have not gone in years, but you do it over time eventually your body adjusts to that," added Wingham.
Wingham believes it's the endorphins in the body that do the trick.
The doctor who practices laughter therapy agrees there is some type of power in laughter.
"There is a fair amount of evidence to support the idea that laughter improves both physical and mental health," added Dr. Canterbury.
Wingham said the side-splitting new fitness fad could take some getting used to for those who do it for the first time.
The body is very relaxed, and those who do the laughing yoga can become sleepy.