Rachel Ben-Dor's, professor of philosophy and religion at the Capital University, Ohio, describes her first experience with Laughter Yoga as totally embarrassing. "I felt weird and stupid," she said. Still, she returned for more and quickly learned to cut loose without worry. "I have so much energy right now, and feel so much better and can be myself."
Several medical studies have shown that laughter is a great way to reduce stress, increase blood flow and strengthen the immune system. Stress is a risk factor and can trigger cardiac attacks according to Dr. Thomas Ryan, director of the Ohio State University Heart and Vascular Center. So stress-reduction strategies like Laughter Yoga is one of the ways to reduce risk, he added.
Spirit Sky, 64 who regularly conducts a Laughter Yoga class, feels that it is like an endorphin cocktail. "I feel refreshed and so much lighter, she said.
At the start of her recent class at the Bexley library, Spirit Sky handed out small round stickers - "laughter buttons," she called them, telling participants to place them somewhere on the body. "OK, let's all press our laughter buttons and laugh for no particular reason," she said.
Everyone laughed for no particular reason.
The group later prepared and rattled imaginary milkshakes and, in a separate exercise, dribbled a basketball in circles, laughing hysterically. Each laughter scenario was followed by the same chant: "Ho-ho-ha-ha-ha. Ho-ho-ha-ha-ha, Ho-ho-ha-ha-ha, Very good; Very good. Yea!"
Even first-timers quickly got over any embarrassment, losing themselves in the experiences and almost all participants felt more relaxed,not as stressed, and even happier and wanted to come back for more.