The Laughing Buddha

Jan 14, 2009 | January 2009, Yoga

Hasya Yoga makes Yoga a Laughing Matter

By Janis Turk

Ho! Ho! Ha! Ha!

Go ahead and laugh at Yoga.

Why not? You’re even supposed to laugh in some Yoga classes.

Yoga can be so much fun — especially if you’re practicing Hasya Yoga. It’s silly, playful, empowering and refreshing; best of all, the laughter is contagious.

Everyone knows that laughter is the best medicine, so today’s instructors and gurus are more closely examining that idea and integrating it into the positive mind/body/spirit work that Yoga is all about. During such a stressful times in a world where frowns seem more common than smiles, it is no wonder that Hasya Yoga, or “Laughing Yoga,” is becoming increasingly popular with people of all ages.

So what is this new-fangled Yoga trend all about? Well, Laughter Yoga is simply “a physically oriented technique” that is “playful” and “tension-releasing” with simple laughter exercises combined with traditional asanas and breathing exercises, coupled with rhythmic clapping, group chants, lots of laughter (and sometimes even howling) done alone or in unison with the group — thereby releasing all the pent-up stress and exuding joy into the universe while sharing it with others in the sessions.

While the theory isn’t anything new — that laughter reduces stress and helps one to relax and enjoy life more — this kind of Yoga is relatively young. Dr. Madan Kataria, a family physician from Mumbai, India, started the first “laughter club” in 1995 and introduced Hasya Yoga. Today it is reported that there are thousands of Laughter Clubs all over the world in as many as 40 countries. Most are free and open to the public.

For more information about Hasya Yoga, visit the Laughter Yoga International Website at

So go ahead and laugh at Yoga; it’s good for you, body and soul.

South Texas Fitness & Health