You may want to share a joke with yoga class members on May 3. It’s World Laughter Day. Laughter yoga, a mind-body practice developed in Mumbai, India, by Dr. Madan Kataria over 20 years ago, has spread throughout the world, and clubs now exist in more than 72 countries. The practice combines yogic breathing, stretching and laughter exercises. “The celebration of World Laughter Day is a positive manifestation for world peace and is intended to build up a global consciousness of brotherhood and friendship through laughter,” according to the organization’s website.
In a study of nursing students conducted at Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, in Isfahan, Iran, researchers found that students who participated in eight 1-hour sessions of laughter yoga (twice a week for 4 weeks) experienced significant improvement in general health markers compared with similar students who did no laughter yoga. Markers included physical health, anxiety and sleep disorders, social function and depression. The study was published in Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research (2014; 19 , 36–40).
To learn more about laughter yoga, go to www.laughteryoga.org.