To have laughter change your life, you’ll want to practice every day until it becomes a habit. This should take about 21 days. Due to the contagious nature of laughter, I find it much easier to laugh in the the company of others. Even for a Laughter Yoga professional who laughs with people for a living, the ability to laugh with others may not be possible every single day.
I want to help you laugh more frequently and more deeply while alone. In this article, I will outline some suggested solo Laughter Yoga practices and Pranayama breathing exercises that you can try all by yourself. Feel free to adapt and improvise so that your solo laughter practice works for you. If you are laughing heartily and feeling good, you’re doing it!
Guidelines On How To Laugh Alone
Before I dive into the exercises, let me give you a few quick guidelines on how to laugh alone.
Begin by consciously relaxing the jaw. Every time you laugh alone, open your mouth a bit wider to enable laughter to flow from the belly. If your mouth is tightly closed, laughter will come from the throat or the upper chest. The goal is to have your laughter come from your lower belly which will engage the diaphragm. Engaging the diaphragm stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system and will relax the metabolic systems.
The great thing about laughter is that it functions as aerobic exercise, but for the most part you can do this type of exercise wearing whatever you want. No gym clothes required. In general, you’ll want to wear loose and comfortable clothes for laughter and breathing exercises. Wear your pants below the navel, so as not to hinder abdominal movements. Avoid tight belts that restrict belly movement.
Ideal Duration and Time of Day to Laugh
Ideally you want to engage in intentional laughing and breathing exercises for at least 10-15 minutes. You can take short breaks for relaxation. Begin with 10 minutes daily and gradually work up to 15 or more minutes. Laughing alone should ideally be practiced the first thing every morning, since it will put you in a cheerful mood and keep you feeling good day. Of course, any time that works for you and your schedule is a good time for laughter.
I personally enjoy laughing each morning in the shower. This works especially well for me for a number of reasons. First, I’m all alone. Well usually. Just kidding. Or am I? Anyhoo, I digress. The point is, I like to laugh in the shower because it’s easier for me to laugh more deeply if I feel like I will not be heard by the other people living in my home. I like to alternate between turning the water to warm and turning the water to cold. I will leave the water on each temperature for about 45 seconds. When the water is cold I laugh and when the water is warm I breathe. I alternate between laughing and breathing and cold and warm until I feel rejuvenated.
How Can I Laugh When I Don’t Feel Like Laughing
It’s okay if you don’t feel like laughing at first. In the beginning just going through the motions of laughter and making laughing sounds with your voice is okay. I generally find that once I start making laughing sounds, it tends to turn into real and genuine laughter. That being said, there have been times when I felt depressed and as if I had lost my laugh. During these blue times in my life, I just make a point to go through the motions of laughter and make laughter sounds. Science shows that even voluntarily making laughter sounds is beneficial both mentally and physically.
Exercises to Try When Laughing Alone
The following section is a description of a handful of Laughter Yoga exercises to try when you are laughing alone. These are just a few suggestions. Feel free to improvise and create your own laughter exercises. Remember, if you are laughing heartily, you are doing it right!
- Ha, ha, ha, Hee, hee, hee; Ho, ho, ho, laughter sounds
- Aloha Laughter
- Calcutta Laughter
- Very Good, Very Good, YAY!
- Gibberish Talk
- One Meter
- Household Chores Laughter
- Lion Laughter
- Deep breath, HA HA HA Mantra
I’ll give a written description of how to perform these various exercises. If you prefer, watch this video where I show you how to perform these laughter exercises.
- Ha, ha, ha, Hee, hee, hee; Ho, ho, ho, laughter sounds – Don’t feel like laughing? Try making laughing sounds in the manner I’ve already described. Laughter is like any muscle. The more you laugh, the more you are able to laugh. For me, this starts with just going through the motions of laughing and intentionally making laughing sounds. As I continue to do this, I generally find that my intentional laughter sounds become real and contagious laughter with a little practice each morning.
- Aloha Laughter – Inhaling, stretch upward and say “Alo~~~” for a long breath; at the very end of the breath, fall forward with a firm “Ha-a-a!” You can even finish with a laughing hula wave. I love to do this exercise in bed falling forward into a pillow. When I do this exercise, I try to really burst into laughter.
- Calcutta Laughter – Extend the hands to the front as you make the sounds “Ho, Ho” then press the hands down to the floor making the “Ha, Ha” sound. Repeat “Ho, Ho, Ha Ha” as long as you like. You can get funky with it and turn this into a trancelike dance. I personally love to do this exercise on my morning walk. Feel free to take breathing breaks and repeat.
- Very Good, Very Good, YAY! Chant – Clap twice while exclaiming “Very Good, Very Good” then extend the arms up with a triumphant YAY!” This chant gets us in touch with our sense of childlike playfulness and when I do it, I can’t help but laugh!
- Gibberish Talk – If you want to get out of your head, try gibberish talk. To do this you speak in a language that doesn’t make sense to anybody. Try it. It’s fun! I l personally like to talk in gibberish rapidly while making hand gestures. You can imagine you are having a heated argument in gibberish, but instead of fighting try laughing while you waggle your finger at the other person.
- One Meter Laughter – As if measuring a length of cloth, start with arms raised up to one side, the hands close together. Move one arm along front of body, as if measuring: 1) to the other arm’s elbow, saying “Aeeee…” 2) to the same arm’s shoulder joint, saying (a little higher) “Aeeee…”; then 3) arms wide apart, head slightly back; “Aeee-ah-ha-ha-ha-ha!” laughing heartily, celebrating having succeeded in measuring a meter.
- Household Chores Laughter – Laugh as you pretend to clean the house.
- Lion Laughter – Stick tongue way out and down towards the chin, big smile on cheeks; eyebrows lift high, eyes open wide; hands like a lion paws next to the sides of face like a lion’s paws, roar and laugh from the belly.
- Deep breath, HA HA HA Mantra – Say what’s on your mind then laugh HA HA HA until you can’t make the HA sound anymore.