It feels timely to focus on being a Senior and share below the five main benefits of Laughter Yoga for Seniors in our society, as outlined by Indian Physician Dr Madan Kataria. He was the Founder of the free community laughter club movement in 1985 and since then, research on laughter is having an increasing impact all around the world.
At our laughter clubs, the majority of people who come are women and in their senior years. We have a few gentlemen also, however coming along to laugh may be a little daunting for some people and especially to the men. Mind you we highly recommend ‘getting out of your comfort zone’.
May I also suggest you consider becoming involved as a volunteer, involved in a laughter club in Victoria? It is easy, a commitment well worthwhile and rewarding. From what I observe people who commit to regular laughter find, without realising it, their lives becoming transformed. Club members have shared how it helps them move on and be involved in life, one after being in a depression for some years and the other simply feeling rather flat and without purpose.
As I often share, it is wonderful for developing brain neurons (Neuroplasticity) as is singing and dancing. You can see people’s eyes light up and feel their energy become lighter, more fun filled, joyous, spontaneous, when in the process of a laughter session.
Obviously, it is best for it to be regular, for a facilitator to attend an aged care place or for people to come along to a laughter club regularly. Language is not a barrier either, or inability to speak, the language of laughter and love surpasses all. Hearts connect and we are very honoured to be able to share the laughter and upliftment with those willing to do it with us. We finish each session with a short meditation, some people haven’t even experienced that before and relish it. Sometimes we include some music for a short sing along and occasionally a few residents get up for a little dance movement. It is such a joy to see the change in their demeanour when they do so, a real joy.
Following then are the 5 main benefits of Laughter Yoga, as outlined in the professional training manual of Laughter Yoga International. They do not say all the physical, emotional, social benefits, rather concentrating on the general ones that are so easily recognisable for why seniors would benefit from more laughter in their life.
1. Adds More Laughter to Life: With advancing age we laugh less or stop laughing. We get out of the habit of laughing and often with dementia and Alzheimer’s that is more so the case. Laughter Yoga is a physically oriented technique, is an ideal exercise that provides many health benefits without using mental and cognitive abilities.
2. Promotes Physical Health: With the wear and tear of old age many seniors develop ailments like high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis etc. Laughter Yoga facilitates healing by strengthening the immune system, improves blood circulation and increases oxygen to the body’s cells. It is also a cardiovascular workout.
3. Improves Mental Health: Isolation, loneliness and depression are common among older adults as they lose loved ones and their health begins to decline. Mental health is improved by boosting neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin.
4. Building Social Bonds: Laughter Yoga helps bring people together and improve their social bonding. Retirees and able-bodied older adults who attend our laughter clubs develop friendships and rapport. This helps them to move on, be resilient and decrease loneliness at the same time increasing their quality of life.
5. Longevity: Laughter Yoga helps us when we feel we have lost our way giving us greater reason and purpose to continue living a full and rewarding life. It is a simple and easy routine, which is practiced by people all throughout the world in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. As the population is increasingly older every day, Laughter Yoga is a tool for transformational aging and increased longevity.
From my personal experience Laughter Yoga does all of the above and gives me a lift in my life and relationships. Life becomes more fun filled and you can also be a part of that. It is free and we love to laugh together. You are not committed to attend every time, only as much as you can fit in with your (probably) very busy life!
Thank you for your interest in reading about this very important topic. I hope to see you soon on either a Saturday or Sunday.
Acknowledgement Dr Kataria, Founder of Laughter Yoga International