Laughter yoga

Laughter yoga (Hasyayoga) is a modern exercise involving prolonged voluntary laughter. This type of yoga is based on the belief that voluntary laughter provides similar physiological and psychological benefits as spontaneous laughter.[citation needed] It is usually done in groups, with eye contact and much playfulness between participants. Intentional laughter often turns into real and contagious laughter.

A laughter yoga event in the United Kingdom

Laughter Yoga was popularized by family physician Madan Kataria who modernized and simplified the work of earlier laughter pioneers, [1] who taught very similar concepts starting in the 1960s. Madan Kataria wrote about his experience in his 2002 book Laugh For No Reason.[2]

Laughter yoga is found in 53 countries.[3] There are about 5,000 Laughter Yoga clubs worldwide, with roughly 200 of those in the United States.[4]


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."[5]

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.[6]


A 2019 review and meta-analysis in the field of laughter-inducing therapies suggests that they are more effective than humorous laughter and can improve depression. However, the quality of the evidence was low.[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Gendry, Sebastian (2014-05-17). "Laughter Therapy History: Who, What, When". Laughter Online University. Retrieved 2019-10-12.
  2. ^ Kataria, Madan (2002), Laugh For No Reason (2 ed.), Mumbai, India: Madhuri International, ISBN 978-81-87529-01-9
  3. ^ "Laughter Yoga: Relaxing, If a Bit Kooky". Retrieved 2019-04-21.
  4. ^ Kanigel, Rachele. "How Laughter Yoga Heals, Plus 6 Fun Exercises to Try". Yoga Journal. Retrieved 2019-04-21.
  5. ^ Wilson, Mary (23 June 2016). "Finding focus, relaxation and improved health through Laughter Yoga". ABC News 10. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  6. ^ Bokur, Debra. "What's So Funny? Yoga Journal". Archived from the original on 2013-09-21. Retrieved 2013-08-02.
  7. ^ van der Wal, C.N., Kok, R.N. (2019). Laughter-Inducing Therapies: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Social Science and Medicine, 232, p473-488. (open access).

Further readingEdit

  • Birklbauer, Walter (2011), Why Laughter Yoga or The Guitar Method: A Neurologic View, ISBN 3-8423-6907-7
  • The Laughing Club of India documentary by Mira Nair about the club founded by Madan Kataria