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02/24/2014 10:07 am ET Updated Feb 24, 2014

Laughter Yoga Induces Guffaws From The Gut That Are Uplifting And Therapeutic

David Jakle via Getty Images

It’s been said that laughter is the best medicine—an adage that aptly describes a growing movement known as Laughter Yoga. I’d heard of the practice and was intrigued enough to attend a free late-afternoon class led by laughter yoga coach Vishwa Prakash at his midtown office. About 20 attendees, regulars and newbies alike, filled the large main room. I was a bit nervous about what was to happen and tired from a long day in Manhattan, but I was ready to laugh.

We began by walking in circles, clapping and chanting “ho, ho, ho, ha, ha, ha” with gusto. We continued by talking gibberish, flapping our arms like chickens, pretending to rev a motorcycle, and engaging in other crazy exercises, all the while smiling at and making eye contact with one another. I felt ridiculous at first, but before long acting full-on silly without reservation came naturally; so did the laughter. Just hearing the chortles around me proved contagious and made me laugh harder. At the end of the class, I felt refreshed, cleansed and more alert.

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