The Benefits of Laughter Yoga for Seniors

12Oaks-Elderly couple making yoga-pexels-The Benefits of Laughter Yoga for Seniors-Feature

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The concept of laughter yoga was conceived by an Indian medical doctor Madan Kataria after noticing that many of his patients took longer to recover from ailments largely due to low mood, stress, or anxiety that developed and spawned out during their course of treatment. Despite admitting to not having a good sense of humor, he has since dug deeper into the topic and then started a quest to create a mindful-based practice that prescribes laughter to people.

After learning about the correlation between laughter and general wellness, Dr. Madan Kataria was convinced that laughter is a potent remedy for various health problems. Deliberate laughing can be as beneficial to human health as involuntary, spontaneous laughing.

What are the benefits of laughter yoga for seniors, and how does it help seniors achieve happiness, health, and longevity? Find out the 5 benefits of laughter yoga for seniors and how to get your parents started.


The Benefits of Laughter Yoga for Seniors’ Happiness, Health, and Longevity

What Is Laughter Yoga?

Laughter yoga, also known as laughing yoga, focuses on stimulating laughter and provoking a deeper level of relaxation through practicing a series of playful and child-like movements, such as clapping and chanting, and breathing techniques.

Since traditional styles of yoga might not be for everyone, especially for seniors with brittle bones and weakened joints, this modern yoga practice is a wonderful activity to lighten up seniors and keep them engaged in meaningful connections, even for those who are introverted or have a hard time mingling with strangers.

The modern yoga practice has been proven effective in helping patients and people in need tap into their inner child, sustain positive energy, and manifest more contentment, soon leading to the official establishment of Dr. Madan Kataria’s first laughter group in 1995 in his homeland of Mumbai, India. Today, it is estimated that there are over 8,000 Laughter Yoga groups, usually free to attend, in more than a hundred countries across the globe.


5 Benefits of Laughter Yoga for Seniors

Despite being a novel practice, laughter yoga is the potential solution to improving general health and wellness. The following are some reasons why your parents should consider practicing laughter yoga.


Relieves Stress

12Oaks-Senior woman holding yoga mat-pexels-1 Relieves Stress

Without a doubt, one of the tremendous health benefits of laughter yoga for seniors is stress relief. According to a study published by the International Journal on the Biology of Stress, laughter induced during a laughter yoga session can lower cortisol levels in 35 healthy female and male adults between the ages of 18 and 34.

In another study with 90 students, 50% of the participants who were assigned to listen to a prepared CD for 5 minutes showed a significant stress reduction compared to the rest who took a rest for the same amount of time. These results indicate that hearing laughter can yield impressive benefits and help people relax under a lot of pressure and stress.


Lowers Risks of Mental Health Problems

12Oaks-Senior people in yoga position-pexels-2 Lowers Risks of Mental Health Problems

Many scientists and researchers have pointed out that doing laughter yoga side by side with other physical activities may reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, resulting in seniors’ lower risks of developing mental health problems and other neurological issues. This is because when seniors take part in laughter yoga, their bodies release feel-good hormones, such as dopamine and endorphins, that help to bust the accumulation of stress and anxiety over time.

Another surprising health benefit of laughter yoga is that moving around increases oxygen delivery to tissues and vital organs like the brain and the heart. It helps participants feel refreshed and energized at the end of each session.


Strengthens The Immune System

12Oaks-Yoga workout-pexels-3 Strengthens The Immune System

By simultaneously decreasing stress hormones and increasing anti-inflammatory antibodies and immune cells, laughter yoga helps to strengthen and restore seniors’ immune systems, making them resistant to the invasion of bacteria and viruses.


Maintains a Good Attitude

12Oaks-Man and woman holding yoga mat-canva-4 Maintains a Good Attitude

Over time, seniors become more vulnerable to negative feelings and thoughts.

You have probably heard that deep breathing can help stressed-out people calm down and release stress, and laughter yoga works similarly. By inhaling and exhaling deeply and engaging in playful movements, seniors can avoid agitation, attain more calmness, and maintain a good attitude through life’s hardships.


Improves the Quality of Life

12Oaks-Elderly friends giving a high five-pexels-5 Improves the Quality of Life

Another health advantage of laughter yoga for seniors is improved quality of life. When seniors join a laughter yoga class and interact with other participants, they have more chances to improve their quality of life by making new friends, forming connections with like-minded people, and sharing mutual interests.


The Ultimate Guide to Laughter Yoga: How to Do It?

Laughter yoga is led by an experienced laughing yoga instructor who guides participants through every step of laughter yoga. The session usually lasts between 30 minutes and 1 hour, but it can vary depending on the instructor.

Much like traditional yoga, people practicing laughter yoga also seek to find a balance between their minds and bodies. However, what sets laughter yoga apart from other yoga and physical activities for seniors is that this modern practice is not all promoting relaxation in individuals. Rather a group of participants join together to let out frustrations and attract more positivity and laughter to forget about their problems temporarily.

Here are steps to practice laughter yoga:

  • Warming Up: Most laughter yoga sessions start with simple warm-ups and synchronized movements to gear up the body and help people relax before the main work. Do gentle stretching or go for a full hand-on-hand clapping. Increase the clapping speed gradually. If needed, do synchronized movements such as swaying the arms from side to side and ups and downs for full-body warm-ups while chanting “HO-HO-HO” or “HA-HA-HA.” Chanting helps loosen up your vocal cord, preparing for louder laughter later. Much like clapping, go for simple HO and HA, then put in more effort to force out HO and HA from your belly.
  • Breathing: Detoxifying your lungs with deep breathing. Inhaling deeply until your lungs are full, pause, and exhale. Repeat a few times until feeling refreshed.
  • Connect to the inner child: Adopting child-like, carefree behaviors is the best way to promote more relaxation and facilitate deliberate laughter.
  • Voluntary laughter time: Once you feel relaxed and let go, the next step is to laugh voluntarily and carry on lighthearted movements. Some examples include faking a smile and then increasing the volume, laughing while holding an imaginary cell phone to your ear, walking around and greeting fellow participants, wagging your fingers, laughing loudly while sticking your tongue out, and holding up your hands like a lion’s paws, walking around as turning your pocket inside out only to find out there is no money there, and so on.
  • Meditation: The class ends with meditation, where everyone sits still and meditates. This allows forceful laughter to turn into genuine laughter.


More Laughter. More Health at 12 Oaks Communities

Over time, seniors are more vulnerable to many mental health threats, preventing them from living their best lives and achieving happiness and peace of mind. In addition to exercises and other senior-friendly activities, laughter yoga is one of the activities proven beneficial for seniors physically and mentally.

At 12 Oaks Communities, we also offer well-rounded services, assistance, and a range of activities that improve our residents’ mental and physical health while closely looking after their health conditions to deliver the best care possible. Our team members work diligently to create a family-like atmosphere where your parents can practice laughter yoga, feel more comfortable, and worry less about staying active as they age.


If you have questions about the benefits of laughter yoga for seniors or any topics discussed here, connect with us and learn more. 

At 12 Oaks, our team of caring professionals is dedicated to keeping residents safe, engaged, and connected to their families and friends while leading fulfilling lives. 12 Oaks senior living communities are an ideal place to enjoy the encore season of life.

For questions or to schedule a personalized tour, don’t hesitate to contact us. 


Searching for senior living help? At 12 Oaks Senior Living, we would love to learn more about your unique needs and the opportunity we may have to help you meet them. Our blog is one of the valuable resources we provide to inform and encourage seniors to lead fulfilling and thriving lives. Contact us today to schedule a visit.

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