The latest trend in yoga is “Laughter Yoga.” It’s even been talked about on CNN and Oprah! It did originate in India and does include laughing, however, if you attend a class, don’t expect too much yoga.
According to the Laughter Yoga International website, laughter yoga began in 1995 when a Dr. Madan Kataria wrote about the health benefits of laughter. He gathered a bunch of his students in a park in India and tested to find out if regular laughter in a person’s life could improve their sense of well-being.
At first, he tried telling jokes. But he soon discovered, perhaps after the forced laughter of the students at his jokes, that simulating laughter offered the same benefits and usually led to real laughter.
And, since Dr. Kataria was a practice’r of yoga, he included some simple stretches and deep breathing exercises into these testing sessions.
Since then, there are those who swear by laughter yoga, and there are many classes offered. In fact, Dr. Kataria has opened many “Laughter Clubs” and he even offers laughter conference calls to those who aren’t near one of his Laughter Clubs.
It’s true that medical research has suggested for some time that laughter is a good way to feel better and reduce stress by the releasing of your body’s feel-good hormones, endorphins. And, even if it doesn’t benefit you the way other yoga’s do, what can it hurt?