The benefits of Laughter Yoga

You may have heard the saying ‘laughter is the best medicine’, but did you know a daily dose of laughter has many health benefits and can be a great form of aerobic exercise?

Faulkner Park Village resident Janni Goss says her life changed for the better when she decided to prioritise her health and wellbeing by inviting more laughter into her life.

Janni first discovered the benefits of laughter after attending a seminar by Patch Adams, an American physician and clown doctor who believes laughter, joy and creativity are integral parts of the healing process.

She then went on to become an internationally accredited Laughter Yoga leader, teacher and ambassador for Laughter Yoga International after training with Madan Kataria, who founded the program in 1995.

“As a former physiotherapist, I witnessed other people’s stress and experienced a lot of stress myself because of life events,” she said.

“So, I set about learning as much as I could about stress, learning lots of ways to deal with it and along the way I discovered the benefits of laughter.”

Janni was one of the first founders of Laughter Yoga in WA. She established laughter clubs in Shenton Park, within the Cancer Wellness Centre in Cottesloe and has trained many Laughter Yoga practitioners to do outreach classes across Perth, including in SCC (WA)’s residential aged care homes.

What is Laughter Yoga?

Laughter Yoga is a group aerobic activity which creates organic laughter from intentional simulated laughter. Genuine laughter becomes contagious, providing many health benefits. A Laughter Yoga session usually includes hand clapping rhythms, deep breathing exercises, and playful laughter exercises.

Janni said Laughter Yoga has many health benefits and is one of the most cost-effective remedies for stress reduction, boosting immunity and increasing health and wellbeing.

“It’s a group activity that can be done seated, which is probably the safest thing for older people,” Janni said.

One of the most important reasons to invite more laughter into your life is because it reduces cortisol levels, which helps to strengthen the immune system, relieving stress and tension.

“In fact, a good dose of Laughter Yoga actually provides people with aerobic exercise, even though it can be done seated. It increases the oxygen supply to the brain, so people end up being more awake and alert as well.”

Known as the laughter lady, Janni has created a “laughter prescription”, with the aim of encouraging others to take responsibility of their wellbeing and outsmart stress for healthy longevity.

“The optimal daily dosage is 20 minutes of laughter,” she said.

“Share your smile, avoid bad news and look for good news, play, laugh and have fun with the people in your life. Access more comedy, be an optimist, exercise your sense of humour and do Laughter Yoga. Seek help if laughter is elusive and give thanks for the benefits of laughter.

“All these things are incredibly important.”

Janni Goss running a Laughter Yoga class

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