Laughter yoga is the brainchild of physician Madan Kataria and his wife Madhuri, who, in 1995, created a laughter club in Mumbai, India, to document the positive effects of sustained laughter on human beings. There are now over 6,000 laughter clubs in 65 countries. In May 2011, Certified Laughter Yoga Leader and Teacher Mary McDonald created Laughter Hours to offer laughter yoga classes in her community and throughout southern New England.
Why should I go to a laughter class?
You will feel more relaxed after a one-hour session of laughter yoga than you have felt in a very long time. A regular laughter practice will joyfully alter your life.
Who can attend?
Anyone who wants more laughter in their lives–men and women, seniors, kids and teens. Laughter yoga is appropriate for athletes, handicapped people, the physically fit, and the wheelchair bound. The only people who should not attend are those who have a medical condition that forbids aerobic exercise. If you have stitches, for example; or have had recent surgery, or an untreated, chronic disease, you should not attend a laughter yoga class. Anyone who questions if laughter yoga is appropriate for them should check with their personal physician prior to attending.
What happens at a laughter class?
In a typical hour, we will perform playful laughter exercises in a group setting. For instance, we may pretend to toast each other with champagne and then laugh. We will chant and clap, celebrate, breathe deeply, and relax, sometimes accompanied by music and/or singing. We then spend time in laughter meditation, which seems to be everyone’s favorite part of the class. We end the session with affirmations and sharing.
Will I have to stretch and contort my limbs?
Never! The yoga part of laughter yoga is in the deep and rhythmic breathing, called pranayama, we practice in between laughter exercises.
Why is it so relaxing?
Laughter relieves stress because it is a right-brain activity. Thinking, worrying, and anxiety are left-brain activities. Since you cannot activate both sides of the brain at the same time, laughter gives you immediate relief from stress and anxiety. Imagine what a full hour of sustained belly laughter can do for you!
What if I have no sense of humor?
Are there other health benefits?
Yes! Studies show that sustained laughter lowers blood pressure, strengthens the immune system, and relieves chronic pain. See the “Best Medicine” page on this web site to read about the many health benefits you can obtain from laughter yoga.
How can I learn more about laughter yoga?
Check out Dr. Kataria’s web site at www.laughteryoga.org. Also visit the American School of Laughter Yoga at www.laughteryogaamerica.com, www.followthelaughter.com/links.htm and the Laughter Yoga Institute atwww.LYInstitute.org to obtain all the information about laughter yoga that you will ever need to know.