A Wigan GP practice is a lot jollier – and hopefully healthier – now patients and staff have been taking part in Laughter Yoga.
The technique, designed to relax people by having a good old chuckle, comes from India and has spread around the world since it was first practised around 20 years ago.
Laughing releases ‘happy hormones’ in the body which make you feel more content, cutting stress and reducing blood pressure - leaving people healthier overall.
The first in what will be a series of Laughter Yoga sessions was held at Bryn Street Surgery, in Ashton
-In-Ma kerfield, for patients and practice staff.
They are being led by Wigan GP Dr Alka Trivedi, who has been providing the Laughter Yoga lessons at a number of SSP Health GP practices across the borough since last August.
Dr Trivedi, who is also President of Hindley Rotary Club, began giving lessons in Yoga Laughter after her husband, Dr Deepak Trivedi, a well-known local GP, member of Wigan CCG’s Governing Body and Ex-National President of the British International Doctors’ Association, passed away three years ago.
As a qualified yoga trainer, Dr Trivedi now travels around the world giving sessions in Laughter Yoga – known as Hasya Yoga – including visiting Indonesia, South Africa and Brazil, where she gave a lesson to 100 people in a single event. She also runs regular sessions in India during her holidays, including on the beach in Goa.
A Laughter Yoga session, which lasts about 70 minutes, includes hearing about the theory behind it, practising deep breathing and then doing exercises with sustained laughter as well as clapping, followed up by meditation.
Dr Trivedi, a part-time GP at SSP Health’s Lowton Surgery who is also National Vice President of the British International Doctors Association, said: “People enjoy the sessions a lot. It all started a few years ago when my husband passed away. He was a very jolly person and so had no stress in his life.”
Dr Trivedi, who has been given the key to the city in India where she was born due to her many achievements, said: “Laughter releases happy hormones into the body, people feel more happiness and the stress goes.
“When we laugh, we let oxygen in and carbon dioxide out, the pulse slows, and blood pressure goes down. It is great for our overall health and well-being. “Laughing together in small groups of about six also boosts relationships and human contact.”
Sessions at Bryn Street Surgery, on Queens Avenue, will be held on Wednesdays from 2pm to 3.15pm.
Dr Trivedi is pictured, above right, with SSP Director and GP, Dr Shikha Pitalia and, below, with SSP Health staff and members of the practice’s Patient Participation Group at the Laughter Yoga session