Family Activity: Laughter Yoga

Laughter Yoga is a body mind exercise. It began in India in the early 90s and has since spread around the world and become more common as a mindful practice. Laughter has many proven benefits, such as strengthening the immune system and reducing pain and stress. The body doesn’t know the difference between fake laughter and real laughter, so you will be able to reap the benefits regardless of whether you are laughing for real or just faking it. This is essentially how Laughter Yoga works. We use our body to help relax and quiet our minds, lower our stress, and bring more oxygen to our brains. You can decrease your feelings of stress in less than a minute just by letting out a deep belly laugh (fake or real). Try it next time you are in traffic and see how it feels!

Here are a few simple Laughter Yoga activities for families to do together. You can make it high energy, with lots of movement, imagination, and silliness for your inner child. Have fun with it and remember that laughter is good medicine for the body and mind!

1. Lion laughter

Thrust out the tongue, widen the eyes, and stretch the hands out like claws while laughing.

2. Humming laughter

Laugh with the mouth closed and hum.

3. Heart-to-heart laughter

Move close to someone and hold each other's hands and laugh. If you both feel comfortable, you can hug and laugh together.

4. Telephone laughter

Pretend to have a phone conversation (using your hand in a phone gesture) entirely in different types of laughs.

5. Circling up laughter

Lay down on your backs or stomachs with your heads all in the center next to each other. Begin with chuckles and giggles and then let the laughter grow to deeper and fuller laughs together. Let the laughter flow in waves. The laughter reverberates off the floor and becomes more contagious in this way. When you feel the laughter diminishing, take some deep breaths as a family and see how you feel both mentally and physically!

By Paige Holmes, M.Ed, NCC, LPCA