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.