We celebrate April 14th each year as the International Moment of Laughter Day. The holiday is for encouraging people to take a moment to laugh and find joy around themselves. It has been scientifically proven, laughter has many health benefits, including reducing stress, boosting the immune system, and releasing endorphins that promote feelings of happiness and well-being. As Christians, we can also use laughter as a tool for spiritual growth and connection with God. One way to do this is through laughter yoga (yes! it’s a real thing)!
What is laughter yoga? Laughter yoga is a unique and fun yoga practice that combines laughter exercises with deep breathing and gentle movement. Dr. Madan Kataria created the holiday in 1995, as a way to promote laughter and joy to improve overall health and well-being. Laughter yoga is not about telling jokes or being funny, but rather about intentionally creating a space for laughter and joy in a busy and overwhelming world.
How does laughter yoga fit into Christianity? Laughter yoga can be a great tool for Christians to connect with God and deepen their faith. Laughter and joy are mentioned throughout the Bible.
Proverbs 17:22 says “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
Psalm 126:2 says “Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’”
Laughter can be a way to express gratitude and praise to God, and can also help us see the world from a more positive perspective.
How to practice laughter yoga. Practicing laughter yoga is easy and anyone can participate, regardless of age or fitness level. Here’s how to get started:
- Find a comfortable space where you can move freely and laugh without feeling self-conscious.
- Begin by taking a few deep breaths to center yourself.
- Start to laugh, even if it feels forced at first. You can use laughter exercises (such as pretending to laugh at a phone ringing or imagining yourself as a baby laughing) to get started.
- Keep laughing for at least 5-10 minutes, focusing on the feeling of joy and release that comes with laughter.
- End with a few deep breaths and a moment of gratitude for the gift of laughter and joy.
You can practice laughter yoga by yourself, as part of a group, or with your pets! In fact, laughter yoga can be a great way to break the ice with a new yoga class, teacher, or students. As Christians, we can use laughter yoga to deepen our relationship with God while finding joy in the world. So, take a moment on the International Moment of Laughter Day (or any day) to laugh, breathe, and connect with God through the power of laughter.