Across the United States, teachers and studios are recognizing that funny business can help yoga businesses thrive. “Humor can help a studio attract and retain students,” says Julie Margolis, an instructor at New Jersey’s Yoga Montclair. “They love it because it helps them relax their muscles, surrender to their practice, and take themselves—and yoga—less seriously.”

Scientific studies show laughter has the same effects as asana practice: It can lower blood pressure, reduce stress hormones, boost immunity, and minimize pain. And the physical act of laughter can be considered a form of spontaneous pranayama (breathwork).

How can humor improve your students’ yoga practice? “When we enjoy leela, Sanskrit for ‘play,’ we get more creative and widen our possibilities,” says Erin Maile O’Keefe, cofounder of New York City’s CircusYoga. Humor can help us laugh off poses we get “wrong,” revel in ones we get “right”—and brave ones that we’ve never broached before.

Click here to read  top tips from yoga’s reigning funny people on how to “enlighten up.”