Laughing yoga cultivates merry mindfulness

Mon Jul 9, 2012 5:18am EDT
 
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Can't touch your toes? Laugh it off.

Laughter yoga, unlike Pilates yoga, water yoga, aerial yoga and other offshoots of the ancient eastern practice of uniting body and breath, doesn't aspire to sculpted arms and bendy backs.

Laughter yoga just wants you to be happy.

"You may not lose fat, but you will lose the idea that you're fat," said Sebastien Gendry, founder and executive director of the American School of Laughter Yoga.

"People come because it's the exercise they can do and it makes them feel good," said Gendry, who founded the school in 2004. "It's the easiest form of yoga. They can't twist, they can't bend, but they can do this."

A blend of yogic deep breathing, stretching, and laughter exercises that cultivate child-like playfulness, Laughter Yoga was developed 17 years ago in Mumbai, India by Dr. Madan Kataria. Laughter Yoga International now claims 600 clubs in 60 countries.

Gendry, who was born in France, was the first American to train as a certified Laughter Yoga teacher.

Central to Laughter Yoga is the tenet that the body cannot differentiate between pretend and genuine laughter.   Continued...

 
Members of the Laughter Yoga club practise laughing during morning exercise at a public park in Hanoi September 24, 2011. REUTERS/Kham