In a December edition of the Daily Tarheel, writer Olivia Ross gives us a glimpse into the laughter yoga class of Liza Engstrom, where participants leave their mats at home but still take part in traditional yoga components, such as stretching and meditation.
There’s just lots of laughter sprinkled in between.
Engstrom discovered laughter yoga while living in Mexico, an influence you can see in her current N.C. class (between exercises her students chant “Muy Bien! Muy Bien!” while clapping and performing hand gestures).
But what exactly is laughter yoga?
It’s about cultivating laughter and consciously laughing. As Engstrom puts it, there is a connection with the breath. Laughter is just a way to facilitate deep breathing.
The benefits of laughter include a strengthened immune system, aerobic exercise, decreased blood pressure and increased life expectancy. Studies show it doesn’t even matter if the laughter is real or fake – the health benefits are the same.
Engstrom ends her classes with a brief meditation, which concludes with giggles as Engstrom recites an important principle of laughter yoga:
We do not laugh because we are happy. We are happy because we laugh.
Learn more about Laughter Yoga in NC now.