Jean-Lee Fung reports that there are now over 110 Laughter Yoga professionals in Borneo (Indonesia). “The impact of laughter is so profound that many practitioners claim they no longer need anti-depressants. The sustained positive emotions keep them coming back for more.”
World Laughter Day was celebrated in hundreds of cities this year across in 63 countries on our count (possibly more, and if so we just don’t know about it): all over Western and most of Eastern Europe, North America, Asia/Pacific (Taiwan, China, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand), parts of South America, Parts of North & South Africa and a volley of island nations across 4 of the 5 oceans (Pacific, Atlantic, Indian and Southern).
Laughter yoga or laughter therapy promises to relieve stress and strengthen the immune system. Dozens of instructors from as far away as Zimbabwe and Venezuela recently gathered for a training session in Rosemont with Madan Kataria, an Indian doctor widely credited with starting laughter yoga in 1995.
This is a nervous stand-up comedian’s dream audience. Not only will they laugh at anything, apparently they will also laugh at absolutely nothing. Laughter yoga, yes seriously, has become a popular stressbuster worldwide. The premise is that laughter — spontaneous or contrived — releases endorphins in the body that relieve anxiety.
Whitney Munro did not think that as a fitness specialist and mother she had to take a class just to learn how to laugh. But she signed up for laughter yoga class and second-guessed herself all the way to the American School of Laughter Yoga in Chicago. Two days later, she returned home exhilarated, eager and certified to teach laughter therapy to the seniors she helps at Fairview senior living community in Downers Grove, Illinois.
Dianne McNinch was invited recently to co-conduct the first Laughter Yoga Leader training on Rapa Nui, more famously known as “Easter Island”. Well done Dianne! Laughter Yoga is slowly spreading all over the globe.
So a scientist walks into a shopping mall to watch people laugh. There’s no punchline. Laughter is a serious scientific subject, one that researchers are still trying to figure out.
It was off to Mumbai for Jessica Simpson and her crew on the Price of Beauty VH1 TV show to find the definition of beauty in India. There they also experienced a new form of yoga called, “laughing yoga.” Verdict: “If you haven’t tried it, it’s worth giving it a try.”
As you meander down the long, quiet corridors of the Great Neck Adult Education Center, you’re reminded of the sounds and smells of elementary school. The muted voices and shuffling of feet that echo down a narrow hall, the arid scent of stale books and wooden furniture. Then you hear laughing. A lot of laughing. Deep, cackling, hysterical laughing. Suddenly, it ceases, and a chant begins. “Ho, ho, ha ha ha,”
Here are several more local articles & videos that covered Laughter Yoga and Laughter Clubs in the US and Canadian media this month, from Vancouver to Miami, via Los Angeles and New York. Laughter Yoga is not a joke. Have we said that before?