Seniors

New yoga form has seniors laughing

 

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Laughing is said to be good for the mind and body. Taking that advice to heart, a number of seniors are flocking to laughter yoga — an exercise that encourages people to laugh while practicing yoga.

Despite its name, laughter yoga does not require practitioners to bend and contort their bodies into difficult poses. Developed in 1995 by an Indian doctor and his wife, the exercise only requires people to take deep breaths while doing simple poses.

The exercise trend has spread to more than 70 countries around the world, including the United States, China and Germany. According to Laughter Yoga Japan, a nonprofit, the exercise can help refresh the mind and body, ease stress and improve the lymphatic and circulatory systems.

Bright and early on a spring day, about 30 members of a laughter yoga group gathered in Osaka Castle Park in Chuo Ward, Osaka. “Imagine you’re an airplane flying to Hawaii,” Rikako Ueda, the group’s organizer, told participants.

The group then stretched their arms wide open to mimic airplane wings before bursting out into laughter while running around.

After a while, the group began clapping before saying in unison, “Eeyan, eeyan . . . ” or “It’s good” in the local dialect.

“If you can’t laugh properly, just let out a loud ‘hahaha,’” said Ueda, a 58-year-old certified laughter yoga teacher.

The exercise continued as members were prompted to imagine themselves picking up gold bars or peeling huge bananas. They also mimicked swimming strokes, such as freestyle and the dog paddle.

The group continued the laughing exercises for about an hour.

In a survey of 2,471 people conducted by Tetsuya Ohira, a professor at Fukushima Medical University, more than 60 percent of female respondents under 50 said they laughed almost every day, compared to just 43 percent for those 70 or older.

For men, the figure stood at 36 percent for those 70 or older, significantly lower than the 58 percent recorded for those under 40.

“The less people laugh, the more likely they are to develop memory loss or other symptoms,” Ohira said.

Hiroshi Inoue, professor emeritus at Kansai University, also said, “Laughing is an excellent ability that humans have.”

“As people get older, they tend to laugh less and don’t talk to others as much. But that would be a regretful waste of such an excellent ability,” said Inoue.

Read more Health stories from the Miami Herald

  • Nutrition

    Seven ways to help kids eat healthy

    Well, isn’t that good timing? Right when my daughter and grandkids are here for a visit, I learn that August is Kids Eat Right Month (kidseatright.org). And along with this proclamation, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) has released a new position paper on feeding kiddos in the 2 to 11 year-old age range.

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">SLEEP SPECIALIST:</span> Dr. Belen Esparis, medical director at Mount Sinai Medical Center’s Sleep Disorder Center and Laboratory.

    Sleep deprivation

    Lack of sleep leads to weight gain and vicious cycle

    A cascade of side effects from a lack of sleep can lead to runaway weight gain, which itself can trigger even more unhealthy physiological events.

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">IN STUDY:</span> Bruce Daily of Kendall is a patient in a clinical trial of a stroke treatment using stem cells.

    Medical research

    Stem cells are being tested to determine if they help mobility after a stroke

    When Bruce Daily woke up after having lumbar surgery a year ago, he realized he couldn’t move the right side of his body.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category