A Dose of Laughter Yoga
Think about the last time you had a really good laugh. A time, perhaps, that you were laughing so hard you couldn’t stop. I invite you to take a pause from reading this post, close your eyes, and re-live that moment (do this now). When you are ready, reflect on the following questions. Who were you with? What emotions did you experience? What did the laughter feel like in your body? How long ago was it?
We know that laughter is good for us. We’ve all experienced the joy a case of the giggles can bring. But if you have cancer, life can seem overwhelming. It can be hard to give yourself permission to laugh when you are dealing with something so serious. Laughter tends to take a back seat to juggling appointments, paperwork, and treatment side effects. Suddenly, nothing seems funny. You may find yourself losing the joy in your life, just when you need it the most. But what if there was a way to navigate a cancer diagnosis with a smile on your face? Enter laughter yoga, a unique and increasingly popular practice that is making a positive impact on the lives of cancer patients.
What Is Laughter Yoga?
Laughter yoga is not your traditional yoga class. In laughter yoga, you laugh on purpose without relying on humor, jokes, or comedy. It combines playful laughter exercises, deep breathing, and gentle movement to receive the therapeutic benefits of laughter.
Laughter can reduce stress and anxiety, boost the immune system, help manage pain, and enhance social connection and support – All of which are priceless for anyone dealing with a cancer diagnosis. Even just a moment of laughter provides a break from the constant worry, offering a sense of relief and normalcy. Research shows that we gain more benefits for mental health when we laugh on purpose compared to when we laugh naturally. The longer we laugh, the more benefit we get. And purposeful laughter is even more effective in a group. This is what laughter yoga is all about!
Watch the 4-minute video below to see an example of Laughter Yoga exercises. I invite you to follow along!
Try a Laughter Yoga Session with Mayo Clinic
The Mayo Clinic Cancer Education Center is offering free virtual laughter yoga sessions throughout the month of November as one of the many fun activities to celebrate National Family Caregivers Month. Whether you are a caregiver, a patient, or just someone curious about laughter yoga – join us from the comfort of your home and experience the power of laughter! No experience or equipment is necessary. Sessions are gentle, playful, and appropriate for all. Learn more about this event and how to participate on our Classes & Resources page.
For cancer patients, laughter yoga isn't just about laughter. It's about finding strength, connection, and a renewed sense of joy in a difficult time. So, for anyone battling cancer, consider adding a dose of laughter yoga to your treatment plan. It might just be the thing that lights up your journey towards recovery.