Boston Magazine


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I Tried That


By Raquel Kaplan

Created in India in 1995, laughter yoga is said to burn calories and lower blood pressure. But the real benefits may be psychological: Believers claim that whether fake or real, giggling releases endorphins that enhance your mood and give you a better outlook throughout the day. There are now about 8,000 laughter clubs in 80 countries, including Let’s Laugh Today, taught by husband-and-wife team Bill and Linda Hamaker in Franklin, Sharon, Walpole, and Westwood.

When I arrived at the Walpole Public Library for a one-hour session with the couple, I found a diverse group: My fellow chucklers ranged from college students to seniors to parents with toddlers in tow. To reap the benefits, you have to be open to getting goofy in front of strangers, and the Hamakers skillfully led us down the road to hilarity through a mix of improv, play-acting, and deep breathing. In one exercise, for example, I had to pretend to give myself a flu shot, use a tissue as a prop to model a miniskirt, search for treasure as a pirate, and fly like a caped superhero.

There were some awkward moments (chanting “ho, ho, ha, ha, ha” isn’t exactly my thing) and bizarre setups (talking to a partner in gibberish), but when I was cut off by an angry driver on my way back to the city, I found myself laughing out loud. In fact, laughter came easier the rest of the day. As an added bonus, I was delighted to discover that my abs were sore the next day.

Wear casual clothing and bring a water bottle—all of that laughing is very