From knock-knock jokes, to stand-up comedy, everyone enjoys a good laugh. But what if laughter could provide other benefits in addition to just having a momentary good time? Turns out, it can! Wednesday afternoon, Tanaz Bamboat, certified laughter yoga instructor and ambassador, introduced seniors at Residences at Deer Creek in Schererville to the concept of laughter yoga. She encouraged them to incorporate it into their lives any way they can, even if the laughter isn’t genuine.
“Even if you fake it, you will still see positive results,” Bamboat said. “The mind will tell you ‘hey why are you laughing, nothing is funny’, but the body cannot tell the difference between fake and real laughter, and still receives all the benefits of it even if it isn’t intentional laughter.”
Though it might seem silly to laugh for no reason, it has been proven that incorporating laughter into our daily lives has significant physical and mental benefits. Among other things, studies have shown laughter to oxygenate the body, bring vitality and energy, strengthen the heart, boost the immune system, and relieve physical, mental, emotional, and social stress simultaneously.
“It serves as an exercise, and our bodies will thank us,” Bamboat said. “It’s right inside of us, and we need to use out laughter more!”
Bamboat herself is a testament to this, as laughter therapy helped her get through a low point in her life.
“There was a time where I went through a dark period, and nothing could make me laugh,” Bamboat said. “I went to a laughter yoga event as a last resort, and ended up seeing immediate benefits. Eventually, it helped to cure my bipolar depression, and I haven’t had a relapse in over 10 years.”
After seeing its positive impacts for herself, Bamboat began teaching laughter yoga to others in 2004. After a few years, she took a break to be with her family and help raise her young grandchildren. Now that they’re older, she wants to get back into it, and has made it her mission in life to share the healing power of laughter with others.
“Now, my main purpose is to help the depressed to feel joyful and healthy again, whether it be our senior citizens, or our teenagers and youth,” Bamboat said. “If I can help even one person, then I have served my purpose.
Bamboat also certifies others to teach laughter yoga through a weekend class, and has already certified over 100 laughter yoga instructors.
“I want to spread this technique as far as I can,” Bamboat said. “Helping others to become certified in it aids in that mission.”
Bamboat’s presentation featured various breathing, clapping, and chanting exercises, all of which included the use of deep belly laughter to release stress and create a fun, energetic environment. Throughout the session, the room was filled with laughter, and by the end there was no doubt that every smile and laugh in the room was genuine. Attendees Joan Parducci, Marrianne Feyta, and Dianne Urbankiak had an especially good time, their radiant smiles clearly visible from across the room.
“It was a very joyful experience,” Parducci said. “I’d like to introduce it to our Senior Gems group over at St. Michaels Parish. I think it would be great at the beginning of the meeting to have everyone stand up and just laugh for a bit!”
“It’s really a great experience,” Feyta added. “It’s something different, and you can really get to know yourself and other people better through it.”
“I think it helps open people up more,” Urbaniak agreed. “It’s fun and really makes you feel good; I had a wonderful time today!”
To learn more about laughter yoga, its benefits, and how to incorporate it into your daily life, visit www.laughteryoga4u.com