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A laughter yoga event in the United Kingdom

Laughter yoga (Hasyayoga) is a practice involving prolonged voluntary laughter. This type of yoga is based on the belief that voluntary laughter provides the same physiological and psychological benefits as spontaneous laughter. It is done in groups, with eye contact, jokes and playfulness between participants. Forced laughter often turns into real and contagious laughter.

In the mid-1990s, laughter yoga was practiced in the early mornings in open parks, primarily by groups of older people. Laughter yoga is an exercise routine developed by Indian physician Madan Kataria, who writes about the practice in his 2002 book Laugh For No Reason.[1]

Laughter yoga is found in 53 countries.[2] There are about 5,000 Laughter Yoga clubs worldwide, with roughly 200 of those in the United States. [3]



The yoga is performed without any humorous reason to laugh, with one practitioner observing that "The mind does not know that we’re faking it."[4]

Laughter yoga sessions may start with gentle warm-up techniques which include stretching, chanting, clapping, eye contact and body movement, to help break down inhibitions and encourage a sense of playfulness. Breathing exercises are used to prepare the lungs for laughter, followed by a series of ‘laughter exercises’ that combine the method of acting and visualization techniques with playfulness. Laughter exercises are interspersed with breathing exercises.[5] Twenty minutes of laughter is sufficient to develop fully physiological benefits.

The organization Laughter Yoga USA provides laughter yoga via conference call for participants unable to attend an in-person laughter yoga event.[6]

Scientific evidenceEdit

Laughter has been shown to decrease cortisol, the body's stress hormone. When this hormone is elevated it can cause issues like high blood pressure, weight gain, and memory loss. It also increases endorphins, which lowers pain in the body. [7] Yoga has been shown to decrease cortisol and increase endorphins. [8]

In a four week study of 50 subjects who have depressive disorder, the ones who utilized laughter yoga plus talk therapy and medication saw a decrease in their symptoms. While those in the group who only used talk therapy and medication had a slight decrease, but not nearly as drastic as the laughter yoga group. After 3 months without laughter yoga, the group reported their depressive symptoms returning. [9]

See alsoEdit

  • Gelotology
  • World Laughter Day Guinness World Record on Laughter Yoga – It is a matter of history that India’s First Guinness Record on Laughter Yoga was made by Man Pasand Laughter Yoga Club, Indore on 28.11.15 which was led and conducted by Dr. Madan Kataria.
  • The Laughing Club of India realised by Mira Nair.


  1. ^ Kataria, Madan (2002), Laugh For No Reason (2 ed.), Mumbai, India: Madhuri International, ISBN 978-81-87529-01-9
  2. ^ "Laughter Yoga: Relaxing, If a Bit Kooky". Retrieved 2019-04-21.
  3. ^ Kanigel, Rachele. "How Laughter Yoga Heals, Plus 6 Fun Exercises to Try". Yoga Journal. Retrieved 2019-04-21.
  4. ^ Wilson, Mary (23 June 2016). "Finding focus, relaxation and improved health through Laughter Yoga". ABC News 10. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  5. ^ Bokur, Debra. "What's So Funny? ''Yoga Journal''". Retrieved 2013-08-02.
  6. ^ "Laughter Yoga on the phone". Laughter Yoga U.S.A. Retrieved 2017-07-12.
  7. ^ CNN, Mayra Cuevas. "The science behind laughter yoga". CNN. Retrieved 2019-04-17.
  8. ^ Publishing, Harvard Health. "How yoga may enhance heart health". Harvard Health. Retrieved 2019-04-17.
  9. ^ "Laughter Yoga Shows Promise as Alternative Therapy in Depression". Psychiatry Advisor. 2019-02-28. Retrieved 2019-04-17.

Further readingEdit

  • Birklbauer, Walter (2011), Why Laughter Yoga or The Guitar Method: A Neurologic View, ISBN 3-8423-6907-7

External linksEdit