Laughter Yoga Made Me Happy & Taught Me To Play Once Again


Sarah Bourassa, Lifestyle Associate Social Media Editor, The Huffington Post, NYC: For a long time I had not felt carefree, without a worry in the world, until I attended a Laughter Yoga class as part of the Huffpost happiness challenge program.

The practice which combines laughter exercises and yoga breathing provides several health benefits, including improving the immune system, relieving pain, reducing stress and boosting your mood, while all the time encouraging childlike playfulness.

Children laugh hundreds of times a day but as adults, we laugh only 12 times a day, which is because live in their hearts and as adults we’re in our heads. And that’s exactly what Laughter Yoga allowed me to do. It stopped me from thinking too much and allowed me to be playful.

Initially I was apprehensive of attending the laughter session, but as soon as I walked into the room, it felt like a totally different world. Everyone in the class was smiling and making eye contact (pretty much the opposite of what I am used to in New York City) and I immediately felt welcomed into the group. I felt a little awkward at first, but forced myself to do the laughter exercises. After a few minutes, I was no longer thinking about the frustrations of my day or worrying about tomorrow. Instead, I was in play mode.

We formed a laughter train and laughed to the tune of popular songs. We threw balls to each other and burst out giggling every time the music stopped. We even practiced silent laughter, pretending we heard the funniest joke on the phone but couldn't make any noise.

Sometimes my laughter was a put on and sometimes it was real. But it didn’t matter. It all made me feel good. The whole concept of Laughter Yoga is based on the fact that the body doesn’t know the difference between simulated laughter and spontaneous laughter. It is still going to respond and one can experience both psychological as well as physiological changes.

At the end of the class, almost everyone agreed they felt less stressed. As for me, it gave me a new mindset. It taught me the importance of being childlike and how to live in the present and let go of the past. It helped to recover the lost child in me and allowed me to play freely and joyfully.

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