Walking in the park in Mumbai, New York, California, Auckland, Sydney, Taipei or Beijing? Don't be surprised to hear chants of Ho Ho - Ha Ha Ha from groups of people doing laughter yoga. Are they getting hooked on happiness?
In India there are thousands of laughter yoga clubs that meet every morning in public parks. Club members proudly tell you they haven't missed a day in five years or more. They say it makes them happy, healthy and full of energy, that it has changed their lives.
Laughter Yoga has swept the world and spread to more than 60 countries since it was started in 1995 by Indian medical doctor Madan Kataria. Laughter Yoga treats laughter as a body exercise that has profound positive body-mind effects. It includes ancient yoga breathing exercises, some modified to make it easy to learn and use. Scientific research shows that hearty laughter reduces stress and promotes health and wellbeing. It boosts the immune system and controls high blood pressure, reduces depression and leaves us happy with a positive mental attitude.
In Laughter Yoga the laughter starts as a body exercise but almost always turns into peals of real joy within minutes. Many practitioners say it is that feeling of pure childish happiness they get from laughter yoga sessions that keeps them coming back for more. It is practiced in groups with a trained laughter leader running the session. Exercises vary every time and they are fun and easy to do. No special clothes or training is required and you enjoy the benefits from your very first session.