laughter yoga: no joke

laughter yoga with friends

It’s been said that laughter is the best medicine. With just one shared smirk, warmhearted chuckle, or a good ol’ belly-aching-pee-in-your-pants laugh… you can get rid of stress, lift your spirits, or carry memories that can last a lifetime. But could the secret to health and happiness lie in laughter yoga?

It’s no joke. This type of yoga has been hailed as an exercise routine that will sharpen your mind and body. According to Laughter Yoga International, the practice’s humble beginnings started in a Mumbai park nearly 15 years ago. Today, laughter clubs have students giggling and going global, with more than 6,000 social laughter clubs in five dozen countries.

Laughter Yoga combines deep breathing (Pranayama) and yoga poses with laughter. The idea behind this type of yoga is that our bodies cannot differentiate between fake and real laughter, so by simulating smiles our bodies will start feeling more vibrant and energetic.

I gave it a try recently when a trained instructor came to lead a complimentary class at our Ala Moana store. We started off with some stretching, but then we really got going by making amusing noises, imagining ourselves in funny situations, or role-playing with partners. At first I wasn’t convinced. Making eye contact with a stranger and pretending to speak in a foreign language over a phone just didn’t coax a chuckle out of me. I turned to a fellow educator and told her, “this isn’t that funny.” She replied, “This is laughter yoga. She’s a teacher, not a comedian.” This made me realize, if I was searching for a good laugh, I’d have to live in the moment and appreciate the simple childlike playfulness that I had abandoned years ago. Once I stopped taking myself so seriously, I noticed how contagious silliness and a smile really are. One person’s amused grin would turn into smiles, would turn into giggles, would turn into laughter, until the entire class was erupted in an explosive sound that was full of joy and happiness. Medicine for the body and soul.

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This is very interesting and sounds like a fun yet relaxing thing to do!

Comment by Nicci@NiftyEats — September 11, 2009 @ 7:18 pm

I really enjoyed this post as well as your employee features.

Comment by Ann Votaw — September 12, 2009 @ 9:11 am

Thanks so much Ann! Marisa is an amazing writer – I can’t wait to see what other posts she comes up with. And I promise lots more great employee features to come. If there is any type or person you’d like to see profiled or have any questions you’d like to ask our peeps – just drop me a line in the comments or email

Comment by Carolyn — September 12, 2009 @ 9:34 am

Thank you Ann and Carolyn… i appreciate your comments. it’s a fun job being able to write about lululemon clothes, events, and fun!

Comment by Marisa — September 13, 2009 @ 11:16 am

I think the biggest take away I got from this article was the line “Once I stopped taking myself so seriously, I noticed how contagious silliness and a smile really are.” This rings very true for me. When I am in a tense or stressful situation, I will catch myself and say stop taking yourself so seriously. It is when I can let go of the situation a little bit that answers to problems come more freely, my energy level increases and I can take more effective action.

Great post, and keep them up.

Comment by luluJunkie — September 14, 2009 @ 8:53 am

It was contageous! Just looking at them laughing at each other made us look stupid NOT laughing and (look like we are) having a good time :)

Comment by akeeko — September 15, 2009 @ 2:56 am

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