11 Aug Boost Your Energy and Immunity with Laughter Yoga
You may have noticed, on our calendar, that Ballard Senior Center features a free class in Laughter Yoga (LY) every Thursday. Maybe you’ve encountered Laughter Yoga in one of Seattle’s assisted living settings, in a corporate context, on the curriculum at Bastyr University, Bellevue college or the campus of University of Washington. Laughter Yoga is embraced and offered in many venues because it’s fun and healing and you don’t have to be in a good mood to reap its benefits! Find relaxation, improve your blood pressure, boost your immune system, and reduce stress while you laugh. LY exercises are suitable for all ages and require no equipment… just you, your stamina, and your willingness to try it.
Laughter Yoga is fun and playful yet, as Teresa Verde, a pioneer, of Laughter Yoga in Seattle and Certified Laughter teacher since 2001, explains, “This is a vigorous exercise. It is basically a “laughter workout.” Is Laughter Yoga good for elders? I asked. Yes. Laughter increases energy by oxygenating the system and triggering the “happiness factor.” Keys to a positive experience? Being open to new things, having some level of stamina, and participating in a group that embraces the idea. Caregivers? Laughter Yoga is also good for you. It relieves stress, can be practiced in the moment, and promotes wellness.
Verde has led over 400 LY programs and introduced it to more than 60 local retirement and assisted living communities. Her upcoming venues include a retirement home in Issaquah, the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance where she’ll introduce LY to a group of doctors, caregivers, and patients, and The Ark where she’ll share laughter with parents of children with disabilities. Through her experience teaching Laughter Yoga Verde has witnessed its benefits to health and spirit. LY “raises our level of antibodies, increases T-cell and killer cell counts while lowering stress hormones. There is a whole list of other health benefits… but this is the bottom line that helps any health issue,” she said.
What is Laughter Yoga? “Laughter Yoga is a unique health concept that involves unconditional laughter and deep breathing,” Atlanta based Certified Laughter Yoga teacher, Celeste Green explains to a TED talk audience in the video below. “The concept is based on scientific evidence that your body doesn’t know the difference between real laughter and self-simulated and faked laughter….whether we’re laughing at something funny or we’re just having fun engaging in a laughter yoga exercise we get all the same physiological and psychological health benefits.”
Verde, Green and Israeli based laughter therapist Nili Dor HaElla all came to Laughter Yoga when they were faced with serious challenges. LY helped them to overcome those issues. HaElla found inner healing she didn’t know she had. “We’re all born with this natural mechanism to help us to release fear, anger, boredom and distress and on top of that it’s free and it’s available 24 hours a day and it’s legal. The question is, “are you going to use it?” she says in the video below.
Want to explore Laughter Yoga and it’s benefits? The LY class at Ballard Senior Center meets every Thursday from 11 to noon. It’s taught by members of Teresa Verde’s former laughter club. Teresa offers fun and informative programs to any organization or group of individuals who are interested in learning more about Laughter Yoga and the healing power of laughter. “Like” her Facebook page to keep up to date on reasons to laugh. Seattle is also home to Laughter Meet up groups and Laughter Clubs. Consider taking classes in Laughter Yoga and Therapy online at The Laughter Online University or join laughter professionals in Portland in October for the 3 day 10th Annual All American Laughter Conference. Let go of tension and have a good time with Laughter Yoga.