Yoga is an important tool that many people use to stay healthy, both physically and mentally. And while there are many forms and types of asanas, a particular branch of yoga is laughter or laughing yoga — which you may have seen people practise in parks, in groups. Grand Master Akshar, a philanthropist, spiritual master, lifestyle coach, yoga-preneur, and author explains what this form of yoga is all about, and how it can benefit you.

“Laughing yoga is an ancient practice, originally started by the Nath tradition and is the Nath lineage. It takes its roots from the yogic philosophy of ‘Hasiba Kheliba Dariba Dhyan’. The literal translation of this philosophy in yoga is ‘laughing being playful and the knack of meditation’,” he shares with indianexpress.com.

The yoga is believed to have been initiated by Guru Gorakhnath. “He started this tradition in order to teach his disciples the light-hearted nature of yoga practice. He wanted his students and disciples to realise that yoga is not all serious business and can be learnt in a joyful manner. With this practice, he introduced the habit of meditation through an element of fun, laughter and playfulness.”

The benefits

While this form of yoga was originally practised only in the Himalayas, it has now become common everywhere. “People can be seen in parks and in public spaces performing laughing yoga. This is a community practice which can instantly lift one’s mood,” says the Himalayan Siddha, adding that laughter yoga benefits people “by bringing about easy-going nature and a light-hearted attitude towards life”. “It helps us gain clarity and confidence to face life’s challenges and setbacks with ease.”

In conclusion

* Laughing yoga can be your gateway to the deeper practice of yoga.

* It develops a healthy sense of curiosity within the practitioner and can lead one to follow this path for knowledge gaining.

* Laughter yoga can help shed inhibitions, making a person more confident, eliminating their stress and anxiety.

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