Bronwyn, the principal of This Way Up Well Being, introduced the group to Laughter Yoga in this week’s breakfast meeting. Laughter Yoga was started about 20 years ago by Dr Kataria in Mumbai. The doctor’s goal was to offer Laughter Yoga as a free therapeutic activity across the city’s public parks.
Laughter Yoga is based on the theory, and supported by evidence, that the benefits of laughter apply whether or not the laughter is ‘genuine’ (i.e. the result of finding something funny). Indeed, laughter yoga sessions do not use jokes to induce laughter as they run the risk of causing offence. Laughter can reduce stress and anxiety, relax muscles and improve sleep. 10 minutes of laughing is reported to be as good a core workout as 30 minutes of rowing!
Bronwyn took the group through a couple of short exercises, involving much genuine hilarity in addition to the deliberate acts of laughing (after all, it is contagious). A typical session lasts between 1 & 1.5 hours, so time did not allow for a full exploration, but the group certainly got a feel for what happens.