Utne Blogs > Mind and Body

Laughing Yourself Healthy

 by Bennett Gordon


Tags: Spirituality, Mindful Living, laughing, laughter yoga, Hasya Yoga,

Laughing Healthy BabyThe simple act of laughing can make people healthier and happier. “Smiling is not just a result of happiness," Michael Castleman writes for Utne Reader’s sister publication Mother Earth News. “It also causes happiness.” According to the article, laughter lowers blood pressure, releases endorphins, and increases the oxygen in people’s blood streams by helping with respiration. And laughter is good exercise, too. One psychiatrist mentioned in the article suggests that people who are unable to exercise should laugh instead. 

Buddhist practitioners also experiment with laughter as a mindfulness exercise. Hasya Yoga, also known as Laughter Yoga, uses group laughing sessions as a breathing exercises to increase mindfulness. Laughter Yoga International now claims 6,000 laughter clubs in 60 countries.

You can watch a video of former Monty Python member John Cleese at a laughter club in India below:

Image by Yogi, licensed under Creative Commons.