When I tell people I’m a Laughter Yoga coach I’m usually met with strange stares. Of course we all know what laughter is (I really hope!) and most of us know what yoga is (probably). But put these two nouns together and people appear confused.

So I’m using this blog to let you know exactly what Laughter Yoga is.

Put simply Laughter Yoga is a (relatively) new concept in mind and body exercise. It combines simulated laughter exercises with gentle breathing techniques to teach the body how to laugh without relying on jokes or humour. Many people don’t realise that you can actually fool your body into laughing. The physical act of laughing has so many healthy benefits. Laughter Yoga aims to give us those benefits in a controlled environment, just like a visit to the gym or other exercise class.

Learn the 6 ways Laughter can improve Children's Wellbeing

Laughter Yoga was developed in 1995 by Dr. Madan Kataria, a family physician practicing in Mumbai, India. (click here to listen to my interview with Madan)

Looking for ways to alleviate stress from living and working in the over-crowded city, he decided to create a laughter club to test out the theory that laughter truly is the best medicine. Dr. Kataria did this by gathering a group of people in a public park to tell jokes. What Dr. Kataria observed was that whether something was funny or not, people laughed when they saw others laughing. The laughter was visually contagious. Realizing that he was on to something special Madan created and perfected simulated laughing techniques and incorporated breathing exercises into the routine. That is how Laughter Yoga got started. The concept took hold and has now spread worldwide.

What I love about Laughter Yoga is the fact that it can be enjoyed by anyone and everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re fit and fabulous or tired and terrible, all can enjoy the benefits of Laughter Yoga. All you need to do is keep an open mind and not take yourself (or life) too seriously. You don’t even have to wear any exercise kit. Just come as you are and you’ll immediately feel the positive effects of Laughter Yoga.

Learn the 6 ways Laughter can improve Children's Wellbeing

There are many mental, physical and emotional benefits attributed to the practice of Laughter Yoga. (click here to find out more)

 Your mood will elevate and you’ll begin to feel calm. Any feelings of stress, depression and tension will decrease. As you begin regular laughter sessions you’ll find that your immunity to common ailments improves. You’ll find that your lung capacity increases through deep breathing, enhancing oxygen delivery to all parts of the body. Endorphin and serotonin (the ‘happy’ chemicals your body naturally produces) levels rise. Laughter provides an excellent internal massage to digestive tract as well as improving blood supply to your internal organs. Studies show that people who laugh don’t worry as much as people who don’t laugh.  Overall, laughing feels good and when done in a group, positive bonds are formed between the participants.

All of this from allowing yourself to have fun, relax and have a good laugh! So now you know all about Laughter Yoga, why not give it a try?