Addressing loneliness in nursing homes and senior care facilities is a large concern, but coupled with the COVID-19 situation, this has become a widespread dilemma. Loki, a certified leader in laughter yoga, is fighting this problem by providing a virtual space where seniors, and anyone experiencing feelings of isolation, can come together and quite literally “laugh it off.”
Alok Mahadevia, who goes by Loki, discovered laughter yoga in 2012 after feeling extremely lonely upon moving to the United States from India. His subsequent experience led him to discover how beneficial this practice was for seniors, those coping with chronic problems or terminal illness, and anyone else simply feeling isolated.
Founded in the late 90’s by Madan Kataria, laughter yoga incorporates voluntary, group-based laughter, and ancient Pranayama breathing techniques. Studies have shown that laughter, both real and forced, has numerous physiological and psychological benefits including acting as a natural painkiller, boosting endorphin and serotonin levels, and decreasing cortisone (stress) levels.
Though one must laugh for an average of 10-15 minutes a day in order to feel these helpful effects, most adults hardly even brush that number.
Loki has led laughter workshops in a number of places including the corporate sector and senior care facilities but when COVID-19 struck he had to think up a new method for his practice. He launched Laugh With Loki through Zoom and his virtual laugh yoga sessions have been attended by more than 700 people from over 16 countries.
Loki hopes to start collaborating with nursing homes to bring his virtual workshops to residents who, with the difficulties of COVID-19, are more than in need of a good laugh.
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