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Laughter Yoga
What do you get when you combine yoga and fake laughter? Laughter Yoga! The Ventura County Star has an article about this new twist on yoga. Groups of people get together and just start laughing. At first they fake the laughter, but after about ten minutes, apparently most people are laughing for real. Googling the term "laughter yoga" reveals that this seems to be a pretty popular new form of yoga.

The article explains that the technique was created by yoga instructor Madhuri Kataria back in 1995. At first Kataria started a group in which people sat around and swapped jokes. But then they ran out of jokes. So then he realized, "If you can't make it, fake it. If you can't laugh, pretend laugh."
It was, he realized, very much like yoga. Just as the physical poses in yoga are designed to pave the way to a deeper sense of spiritual connectedness, the physical act of laughing could lead the way to an improved mental and physical state. "So, with about 50 people we started Hahahahahaha,' and people started cracking up for real," he said. The behavior of laughing — without the jokes or humor catalyst — still resulted in an attitude change.
I can understand how this could have therapeutic benefits. Releasing tension, etc. But it definitely seems like something you want to avoid doing in public. I've seen people doing yoga at parks and even in airports. But if you're standing there laughing loudly for no good reason, you might get carted away to the loony bin.
Posted by The Curator on Mon Oct 15, 2007

Actually, I started this yoga fad last semester when I - at over 200 pounds - was taking a yoga class. All you had to do was watch me try to get into some of the poses. Belly laughs galore! Mostly from me!! :-D
Posted by RainOubliette  in  Pennsylvania  on  Mon Oct 15, 2007  at  11:24 PM
TV beat this guy to the punch, and maybe radio as well, I don't remember if radio had fake laughter before TV came along. One of the reasons I no longer watch TV is the fake laughter. In the article Mr Kataria says he had been hunting name fame and money. I bet he has at least one of the two now, and soon the other. Any bets on how long it is until his book comes out? Suggested title: FAKE YOU WAY TO REALISM.
Posted by Christopher Cole  in  Tucson, AZ  on  Mon Oct 15, 2007  at  11:30 PM
When I was in Ventura about 3 years ago, the locals seemed to only be interested in surfing. I guess this is what they do indoors.
Posted by Captain Al  in  Vancouver Island, Canada  on  Tue Oct 16, 2007  at  02:22 AM
And people actually pay money for this...?
Posted by LaMa  in  Europe  on  Tue Oct 16, 2007  at  04:42 AM
Or they could just go round someone's house and watch Seinfield...
Posted by Nona  in  London  on  Tue Oct 16, 2007  at  08:18 AM
I sometimes start laughing at things that aren't really that funny and then I can't stop. Maybe I do need a loony bin. It usually happens when I'm half asleep though..everything seems funnier when you're sleep deprived. It does feel good to laugh though!
Posted by Sakano  in  Ohio  on  Tue Oct 16, 2007  at  04:50 PM
I tried this last year, but only because we got a free ice cream sundae at the end if we participated. It's really awkward, though.
Posted by Becca  on  Wed Oct 17, 2007  at  03:38 AM
I suppose that if nothing else, it would give your diaphragm a good work-out.
Posted by Accipiter  on  Wed Oct 17, 2007  at  04:46 AM
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