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The Science of Laughter
Beyond being a joyful and fun activity, laughter has some real body benefits—from our heart system to our heart center.

By Caitlin Berens
That joy is similar to the feeling we find on our yoga mats. “There’s a deep well of joy within us, and laughter yoga opens up your well of joy,” says Beth Bongar (aka Laughing Diva), a laughter yoga teacher of 10 years. “Remember, it’s not about ‘real’ or ‘spontaneous’ laughter necessarily—although this is likely to happen if you practice laughter yoga, especially when the going gets rough,” she says.

Laughter yoga incorporates yogic breathing—pranayama—to get the body to an aerobic state in order to laugh, whether you feel like it or not. According to Bongar: “If you’re not in the mood, which is not a requirement, think of laughter yoga as physical, mental, and/or spiritual exercises that have benefits backed by science.” Though it’s different than a typical yoga class, some common poses are used, as well as some, perhaps unexpected, mantras. “Ha-ha ho-ho, ho-ho ha-ha is a mantra,” says Bongar.
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