Wellness Laughter Yoga

What Is Wellness Laughter Yoga?

Wellness Laughter I feel encompasses the 5 Pillars of Optimal Health which provides a strong holistic foundation for knowing what it takes to thrive in modern times on a whole-being level—physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual. Michele has been working on discovering Peace, Wellness and Laughter within herself  through Meditation, Breathing, Laughter Yoga, We also teach different “life hacks” to help you navigate through your life.

Wellness Laughter yoga is a unique social health promotion and disease prevention that uses safe, gentle, and fun breathing exercises and simulated laughter techniques to enhance ones emotional, mental, and physical wellness. It is a breakthrough delivery system which allows people to laugh regardless their circumstances. We do Wellness Laughter without any joke or a sense of humor. We laugh for no reason and in doing so we laugh off some stress and add more laughter to our life! All that is necessary is the desire to laugh and we can “Laugh For No Reason”. There are four components to Wellness Laughter Yoga… clapping, eye contact, laughter/breathing, and child-like playfulness.

Laughter is the best medicine, people have known this for centuries, now science proves it. Dr. Madan Kataria  is a medical doctor and his wife Madhuri is a yoga instructor from India, they are the  founders of Laughter Yoga in 1995.  Dr. Kataria discovered that people do not laugh enough, they wait for something to make them laugh from an outside stimulus called reactive laughter.  Dr. Kataria found that even fake laughter has wonderful benefits, which usually when practiced in a group turns into real laughter.  He decided to prescribe laughter for all of his patients, and now there are over 6000 laughter clubs and laughter sessions conducted in over 53 countries.  

How often do we meet what days and what time?

I am currently leading two community event classes each week year round.
One is Thursday Mornings at the Milford Senior Center from 8:40 to 9:30. If you are not a member of the Milford Senior Center this cost to participate in their programs is $2.00. Friday Morning at the Lewes Public Library from 8:40 to 9:30 and this program is FREE. 
Everyone is Welcome, the only thing that I ask is wear a smile, bring your silly bones, and a bottle of water.  We will laugh off some stress and have some fun!  

The only time that we do not have a Wellness Laughter Session is if the Milford or Cape Henlopen Schools are delayed  or closed due to the weather, or if the Milford Senior Center or Lewes Public Library is closed. 
Visit Wellness and Laughter Yoga Facebook page where Michele talks about Meditation, Breathing, Laughter Yoga, Essential Oils, CBD Hemp Oils, just to name a few things. 

Why is it called Wellness Laughter Yoga?

Wellness is an approach to healthcare that emphasizes preventing illness and prolonging life, as opposed to emphasizing treating diseases. Quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort. Laughter is a type of breath and Yoga means union; joining with something higher than our everyday self.   

What are the health benefits of Wellness Laughter Yoga?

  • Oxygenates the blood 
  • Initially elevate respiratory and heart rate than lowers it
  • Releases endorphins, the body’s natural pain killer 
  • Produces T-cells
  • Initially elevates blood pressure for 30 seconds then lowers it 
  • Boosts immunity by increasing interleukins and NK cells
  • Increases your heart rate
  • Decreases carbon dioxide levels in the lungs
  • Uses the same muscles as exercise; to strengthen core and lower back
  • Increases serotonin levels, the hormone of tranquility which also improves quality of sleep
  • Decreases both anxiety and depression
  • Builds self confidence 
  • Lowers levels of stress hormones, such as adrenaline & cortisol
  • Increases dopamine, which improves your mood 
  • 37 muscles must work in order to frown, while only 18 muscles are required to smile 
  • Even fake laughter, three times a day, was found to lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and anxiety levels 
  • Even a fake smile was found to lower stress hormones 
  • Decreased elevated blood sugar
  • Decreases markers of inflammation in the body such as C-reactive proteins
  • Lowers risk for heart attacks and arrhythmias by 40% 
  • Even anticipation of a funny event lowers stress hormones and elevates immunity for 3 days beforehand.
  • It is said that we should get a D.O.S.E. (D- Dopamine, O-Oxytocin, S-Serotonin, E-Endorphin) of Laughter Every day.  

What are some of the techniques used to get people laughing? Do you make faces, tell jokes, share funny stories? 

We laugh for “No Reason”. We “fake it to we make it” since it is only your brain that knows the difference between fake laughter and real laughter. So, we get all the wonderful benefits of laughter even though it simulated laughter. Usually even “fake” laughter will turn into real laughter when practiced in a group of people. Only the brain knows the difference between “fake” laughter and real laughter, so our body get all the wonderful benefits whether we are faking it or not.   

When participating for the first time, do people find it intimidating being around strangers?

At first it could be a little awkward, since we are not use to allowing ourselves to laugh and be kid-like among people that we do not know. I have found within the first few minutes, their inhibitions goes out the window and people enjoy mingling and playing with one-another. 

Who attends Wellness Laughter Yoga?

Anyone can attend. We have women and men in our class from anywhere in the ages of 7 to 87.  

Do we get on the floor?

No, we either sit in a chair or stand/walk. But one of my rules is No New Pain. So if something hurts, stop. If you need to sit, sit. Do whatever you need to do to be comfortable.   

What do I wear? Do I need to bring anything special?  

You wear regular clothes for your day. You do not need to bring a yoga mat.  I do ask to bring a bottle of water, because when you laugh for an extended period, sometime our mouths and throats become dry, and water helps.

It is a form of exercise, some people have said that they really get a workout, but it is fun, gentle, and very easy. Like many fitness programs, you may want to consult your doctor before starting Wellness Laughter yoga.  ​  

How Michele got involved with Laughter Yoga?

I was in a deep downward “funk”, it was the Winter, and I experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) badly that year. I also was diagnosed with some health issues that I was not sure how I was going to navigate through.
One day I was Googling around on the computer and Laughter Yoga popped up. I knew from my degree in Social Work that “Laughter Was The Best Medicine”, but I was not sure if I could do the yoga portion of Laughter Yoga. I went on YouTube, and and watched some videos. It looked like something I could do.

So, the next step is Where are they offering this so I could try it?  I looked searched on the computer, but nothing came up for Laughter Yoga Delaware. The closest group I could find was in D.C. and they meet early in the Morning and it was a Meet Up kind of thing.  So I looked at Dr. Kataria, website.  Found that there was a leadership training with Bharata Wingham in Yogaville, VA. I thought what they hey, the worst thing that could happen was that I spend a weekend laughing. So I sign up, and it changed my life.

I knew that this was very important, and wanted to continue doing it. Since it helped me maybe it could help others. That was in 2014. In 2015 I had the privilege of meeting Dr. and Mrs. Kataria when I took their training to become a Laughter Yoga Teacher. That same year I took a continue Teacher Training with Sebastien Gendry, where he opened my eyes to Laughter Therapy. The next step is I want to become a Wellness Laughter Ambassador.  

 I will also do special programs for groups. For example,

Michele currently has two Wellness Laughter Yoga Clubs in Delaware.  Thursday Mornings at the Milford Senior Center and Friday Mornings at the Lewes Public Library.  She has provided sessions for several senior centers, Kent-Sussex Industries (KSI) of DelawareThe Southern Delaware Parkinson’s Group, Sussex Co. Parkinson Support Group “Walk on the Boardwalk”, Milford Relay For Life walk, Alzheimer’s Association Greater Maryland Chapter, The Saint Peters Episcopal Church Women of Lewes DE., Delmarva Parkinson’s Alliance and The Greater Lewes Community Village. 

What do you enjoy about teaching the class?

I get just as much benefit as everyone else, but I also get the enjoyment of hearing the stories that people share afterwards and the reward that I am helping individual, no matter the circumstances. I also laugh with individuals with physical and mental challenges every week. Some of these individuals don’t have a lot to laugh about, but come almost every week and look forward to it.  Majority report to me that they feel better when they leave, than when they first got there. 

Do you ever teach other to be leaders?

Yes, it is a 2 day intensive experiential training will give you an understanding of Wellness Laughter Yoga…. the history, concept, and philosophy. Plenty of practical experience enables you to feel confident in speaking about and facilitating Laughter Yoga to various groups and settings. 

All aspects of Laughter yoga will be covered including the physical, mental, and emotional benefits along with plenty of time for practice, questions, and integration. After successful completion you will become a Certified Laughter Yoga Leader (CLYL) and be affiliated  with Laughter Yoga International, a Global Movement for Health, Joy, and World Peace. 

You Will:

  • Receive the Official Comprehensive training manual
  • Learn a variety of practical techniques and useful skills for facilitating
  • Experience the transformational benefits of Laughter Yoga
  • Gain insight to the “Inner Spirit of Laughter”
  • Receive an official certificate from Laughter Yoga International University
  • Learn to facilitate Laughter Yoga Meditation
  • Plenty of practice time and much more Upon completion of this training you will be able to start and lead your own Laughter Yoga club.
  • Spread Laughter to the general public, businesses, organizations, health and fitness centers, senior centers, support groups, etc.
  • This is a life changing experience and a transformational weekend. Classes are limited Minimum 7 people to hold class.

Still not sure if Wellness Laughter is for you, take the Wellness Laughter Self-Assessment Test:

  • Are you a fan of laughing? 
  • Would you like to smile more?
  • Are you physically and/or emotionally stressed out?
  • Do you suffer from feeling sad? 
  • Do you want to create space in your life for child-like play and joy? 
  • Would you like to clear away negativity?
  • Are you interested in a holistic and drug-free way to attain mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical wellness? 
  • Are you looking for a fun and easy aerobic exercise? 
  • Would you like to increase your energy naturally?  
  • Are you interested in reducing pain? 
  • Would you like to be more creative? 
  • Are you looking to connect with other laughter lovers in a friendly environment?  
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