“A good life is when you assume nothing, do more, need less, smile often, dream big, laugh a lot and realise how blessed you are for what you have…” Laughter is the best medicine, right? We all know that. But what exactly is laughter yoga and does it really work?

As a laughter yoga teacher, I am going to absolutely tell you that yes, it does work! Even for the most sceptical people who don’t believe it will work on them. 

It works on the guy who has nothing to laugh about. 

It works on the girl who doesn’t feel like laughing. 

It works on the person who is so stressed that laughing seems like something they did in another lifetime. 

Let me explain. 

Laughing yoga (I prefer the term laughter yoga, but tomay-toe, toma-toe and all that) was discovered by a family physician in Mumbai, India, in 1995. So it’s been around for a good few years. But now, with life bringing us more stressors than ever, it’s really starting to kick off.

To put it simply, laughing yoga involves a series of movement and breathing exercises to encourage deliberate or “fake” laughter.

Here’s the question I get asked all the time:

“Why would I force myself to laugh when I don’t feel like laughing?”

And here’s the medically proven answer I give:

Because simulated laughter offers benefits equal to those of spontaneous laughter. It is physically impossible to feel angry or stressed when you are laughing – whether the laugh is real or fake. 

Learn the 6 ways Laughter can improve Children's Wellbeing

No matter what is going on in our lives, every single one of us has an in-built power to instantly make ourselves feel happier and less stressed. That’s what laughter therapy is all about. 

Learning to laugh on cue can help us deal with stressful situations by promoting optimism and positivity. Since we cannot always rely on external influences to make us laugh, learning to do it on our own is a massively valuable tool. 

Look at me, for example. I may be a laughter yoga coach, but I still live in the same world as you. I still have stressful things that try to get the better of me. I don’t always feel like laughing, but I start my day with a burst of laughter. Because it makes me feel so much better. 

The controlled breathing that comes with laughter yoga activates the parasympathetic nervous system, your body’s natural relaxation system.

Laughter yoga increases my energy levels; it enables me to better manage any hardships and it point-blank improves my life. So why wouldn’t I do it?

There’s a reason why laughter yoga is accessible in over 110 countries and becoming increasingly popular online. There’s a reason why  laughing coaches are bringing laughter yoga workshops directly to people in places like college campuses, workplaces, and senior living facilities.

Because it works!

So how do you do laughter yoga?

Most laughter yoga sessions begin with simple breathing techniques, such as chanting and clapping to help you relax. For example, you may begin the class by clapping rhythmically 1-2, 1-2-3 while chanting “ho-ho, ha-ha-ha.”

Yes, I know, this may seem silly, but the intention of this exercise is to remove any internal judgement you may have and leave your ego at the door. After a few times of doing this, any feelings of self-consciousness will leave your body. And even that feels great. 

The session may also include improv exercises, citing positive affirmations, gentle stretching, breathing work, and meditation. Collectively, these exercises are intended to help you laugh, let loose, and take yourself less seriously.

The most important thing to remember is that everyone is in the same boat and that you are there for a reason – to feel good!

Learn the 6 ways Laughter can improve Children's Wellbeing

How quickly will it work?

The more relaxed you are, the sooner you will start to feel the positive effects of laughter yoga. I’ve already mentioned that laughing can bring immediate benefits, such as improved mood. But let’s look at the long-term benefits of regular, daily laughing.

Laughter yoga releases endorphins and the “feel good” hormones, dopamine and serotonin. It also suppresses that pesky stress-hormone, cortisol. These effects are linked to a better mood, reduced pain, lower blood pressure, a stronger immune system, and lower stress levels and rates of depression.

Of course, sharing a burst of laughter with other people can also increase social connectedness and bonding and strengthen relationships. It’s also linked to feelings of security and safety, allowing a person to feel more relaxed.

Laughter yoga isn’t just a quick fix, to say the least.

Remember that laughing is contagious, so it’s no surprise that laughing yoga has grown from one small group in Mumbai to over 5,000 clubs worldwide!

Even if you’re sceptical that laughter yoga will work for you, there’s always a reason to have a good giggle. 

Let’s remind ourselves:

  1. Laughter puts life in perspective. Not everything has to be serious all the time, right?
  2. Laughter can change your worldview. Look at the same situation with a smile, and watch as your feelings and thoughts change.
  3. Laughter helps us stay balanced. Staying light and loose is essential in a world with so much stress. 
  4. Laughter brings us together and helps to create stronger bonds.
  5. Laughter slows things down. When we laugh we remember.
  6. Laughter brings out the best in others. Even a smile can help another person.

Go ahead and give it a try. Turn the corners of your mouth up into a smile and then give a laugh, even if it feels a little fake or forced at first. Once you’ve had your chuckle, take notice of how you’re feeling. Are your muscles a little less tense? Do you feel more relaxed or light? That’s the natural wonder of laughing at work.

Want to find out more? Check out these techniques. 

You’re only one step away from feeling great.


Find me on LinkedIn.

I hope to laugh with you soon.