Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Laughter Yoga

When was the last time you have laughed? Not just a chuckle, or a smirk, but a laugh that radiates from your core, changing the way you feel? The kind of laugh that makes your stomach muscles ache and your eyes brighten.

Laughter Yoga, (which is just as it sounds) is a type of practice that draws on the healing properties of yoga to prepare the body for happiness. Participants attend a yoga session and…well…laugh.

Madan Kataria, a physician from Mumbai, India, is the founder of and chief proselytizer for Laughter Yoga, a movement that since 1995 has spawned 5,000 laughter clubs—in which people meet regularly just to laugh—worldwide. To date there are just 200 or so clubs in the United States, including ones in Atlanta; New York; Orlando, Florida; St. Louis; and Tucson, Arizona. But Kataria hopes to change that over the next few years, by training more teachers. “Our objective is to build an international community of people who believe in love and laughter,” Kataria says in an article in Yoga Journal by Rachele Kanigel.

In the article, Kataria explains why laughter is good for the body. “When you start laughing, your chemistry changes, your physiology changes, your chances to experience happiness are much greater,” he says.

A typical Laughter Yoga session involves some warm-up clapping and chanting
(“Ho, ho, ha, ha, ha”), a few deep breaths with prolonged exhalation, 15 to 20
minutes of laughter exercises interspersed with deep breathing, and then 15 to
20 minutes of laughter meditation. Here’s a primer to help you get started:

Greeting Laughter: Walk around to different people with
palms pressed together at the upper chest in the Namaste greeting or shake hands
and laugh, making sure to look into other people’s eyes.

Lion Laughter: Thrust out the tongue, widen the eyes,
and stretch the hands out like claws while laughing.

Humming Laughter: Laugh with the mouth closed and hum.
Silent laughter Open your mouth wide and laugh without making a sound. Look
into other people’s eyes and make funny gestures.


Megan said...

Thanks for the post! I really enjoyed this article as well. I wonder if there are any studios offering laughter yoga classes or workshops. Anyone know any web resources about this?

I think it's no small coincidence that the long-time yogis that I've had the fortune to take classes from all have a great sense of humor.

Jasminka MS said...

I love the article, and esspecially the picture.


noo said...

LaughingRx yoga, laughter yoga led by Nira Berry, offers several classes and workshops in the Washington DC area.
Contact: for class dates and times
or check website: