Happiness lies in everyday things, and something as informal as laughter can make the best medicine. This is the basis of laughter yoga.

After days following all kinds of routines and exercise at home, the time has come to try something new, different and directly linked to our happiness: laughter yoga. Because in troubled times, something as informal as laughter makes the best medicine.

Carla Magnani, therapist at ARTIEM Audax’s Blue Spa, has been practising it for years with hotel guests. Since it is a technique that combines exercises in laughter, breathing and loads of positive attitude, we thought this would be an ideal situation to put it into practice.

During this lockdown, Carla has been running two virtual sessions a week in laughter yoga for the Freshpeople.

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What is laughter yoga?

Laughter yoga is a concept that originated in India, based on the assertion that “anyone can laugh without a specific reason, with no need for jokes, humour or comedy”.

Likewise, in recent years numerous studies have shown that laughter can have a positive impact on various systems in our organism. Yet our body does not recognise the difference between real or simulated laughter.

What exercises are practised in laughter yoga?

Laughter yoga is the result of combining yoga or meditation breathing exercises with laughter exercises. Laughter is approached as a bodily exercise, using a system that enables the person to laugh continually for 15–20 minutes. It is simple to follow and anyone can do it, regardless of your mood.

During the session, laughter is begun as a group exercise and soon becomes real, contagious laughter thanks to visual contact and by cultivating a childlike, playful attitude. In this way we obtain all the physiological, biochemical and psychological benefits linked to the act of laughing.

Benefits of laughter yoga

1. It produces serotonin: the well-being hormone.

Laughter is free, fun, contagious and healing. It is the best way of unwinding and viewing life more positively, adding wellness to your day-to-day through something as deep and simple as laughing.

2. It raises energy and combats muscular tension.

Laughter causes oxygen levels to rise and improves blood flow, helping the blood vessels to function better and reducing arterial pressure. That’s why the dynamics of laughter yoga help to protect the heart, increase energy, reduce stress and aid concentration.

3. It moderates negative emotions.

When we laugh our body releases endorphins, which has a huge impact on the brain’s and the immune system’s biochemistry. These endorphins act as analgesics and eliminate discomfort, reducing our levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.

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As Dr Madan Kataria, creator of laughter yoga affirms: “we don’t laugh because we are happy; we are happy because we laugh”.

At ARTIEM we believe laughing is the healthiest exercise that exists, one that is also accessible to everyone. Now more than ever it is vital to maintain this positive attitude which truly characterises all Freshpeople.