“Laughter is the best medicine,” you might have heard. That adage — probably more credible than “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” — is the basis for a form of yoga, appropriately called laughter yoga. We attended a laughter yoga workshop with our friend Allie yesterday at the Old Town School of Folk Music to try out the practice, and because an hour of laughing sounded like the perfect Sunday activity.
Laughter yoga originated in India about 15 years ago when Dr. Madan Kataria noticed the medicinal benefits of laughter among his patients and organized the first laughter club. He coupled laughter exercises with Yogic breathing routines, and the practice is now an international well-being phenomenon.
Our bodies cannot discern the difference between real and fake laughter, and as we found in class, what starts as forced laughter inevitably turns into real, and often uncontrollable, laughing. You won’t be expected to tell jokes, and there’s no need to sport your Lululemon, because you won’t be contorting into downward dogs or warrior poses. (Still, being comfortably clothed helped us relax.)
“It’s kind of like reawakening your joy, like you’re a little kid again.” -Judith Sample, certified Laughter Yoga instructor
Our instructor, Judith Sample, took the 10 of us through an hour of activities that included introducing ourselves to each other with a laugh, imitating types of laughter, including animal laughter, slow motion laughter and shy laughter, and practicing deep breathing. Less than halfway through the class we were already feeling lighter and happier.
If nothing else, laughter yoga is a healthy reminder to smile more, relax about how seriously we take ourselves, and just laugh.
–Tara and Karina for TKGO
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