Laughter yoga (Hasyayoga) is a practice involving prolonged voluntary laughter that can be achieved by all ages and fitness level. Laughter yoga is based on the belief that voluntary laughter provides the same physiological and psychological benefits as spontaneous laughter. Exercises are done in groups, with eye contact, jokes and playfulness between participants. There are four primary focuses in laughter yoga: breathing, childlike movement, clapping, and laughter.
This form of yoga does have physical benefits as well as psychological benefits. Thirty minutes of sustained laughter equals ten solid minutes of core work. A handful of small-scale scientific studies have indicated that Laughter Yoga may potentially have some medically beneficial effects, including benefits to cardiovascular health and mood. Benefits to mood in depressed patients have been found to be as good as exercise therapy. A study by Oxford University found that pain thresholds become "significantly higher" after laughter, compared to the control condition, and saw this as being due to laughter itself, rather than the mood of the subject. The study suggested that Laughter produced an "endorphin-mediated opiate effect" which could "play a crucial role in social bonding".
About the teacher:
Kali Meister is an award-winning writer, actor, and filmmaker. She served as the Jack E. Reese Writer in Residence of the University of Tennessee Libraries for 2008-2009. She holds the MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont and a BA in Psychology from University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee. Meister prides herself on being a true cross-genre writer and eclectic artist and individual. She has had original poems, short stories, essays, news features, non-fiction works published in various anthologies and literary reviews, and she also works as an actress, activist, spiritual healer, and teacher. Learn more about Kali here.