I know there are so many strains of yoga—and for the yoga purists it might seem overwhelming, daunting, and just plain hokey. Well not to thousands of practitioners and students who take some of these more untraditional practices and call it there own.
Enter Laughter Yoga. Laughter Yoga (LY) is a relatively new style of yoga, but nonetheless legitimate. According to Laughter Yoga’s official site, LY was started in 1995, by a doctor in Mumbai, India, Dr. Madan Kataria, stemming from the outcome of research he did for an article “Laughter—The Best Medicine” for his monthly health magazine. And of course we’ve always heard that laughter is indeed the best medicine, but Dr. Kataria was able to show real preventative and therapeutic effects from a laughter regime.
So where does the yoga come in, you ask? (For the purists, this will make your heart sing … ) Laughter yoga uses traditional yogic breath work called pranayama and simple yoga asanas (postures) while going through loud, freeing, “HO, HO, HA, HA” sounds. Dr. Kataria has devised 40 LY exercises that form the basis of the practice which certified practitioners learn and master.
Laughter yoga is utilized in corporate environments to relieve stress and build comradery also in prisons to temper violent tendencies. Two of the studios at which I teach in New York City both have laughter yoga regularly on their roster of classes. It’s a way to release, let go, explore, not be judged and well, laugh. And there’s nothing wrong with that!