Posing on one foot can be helped by laughing

Ashley Wulf

Ashley Wulf

We have all heard that laughter is the best medicine but could laughing while performing yoga be even more medicinal?

This is the concept behind laughter yoga.

According to laughteryoga.org, “Laughter yoga combines unconditional laughter with yogic breathing. ? The ultimate objective is to bring good health, joy and world peace through laughter. ? Laughter is universal with no language or cultural barriers.”

Pam Wilson, a junior Spanish and media productions major, said the concept is the most interesting part to her.

“I would be interested in it because I would be interested to see how it’s set up.”

Laughter yoga, according to laughteryoga.org, was developed by Dr. Madan Kataria, a physician from Mumbai, India. The first class, taught by Kataria in 2005, had just five people. Only four years later, the trend has “become a worldwide phenomenon with more than 6,000 social laughter clubs in 60 countries.”

The East Central Multi-District (ECMD) in Brookings is jumping onboard with the trend. For the first year, laughter yoga is being offered through the adult education program. The class starts Feb. 21 and will be offered twice that day from 1 to 2:30 p.m. and from 3 to 4:30 p.m. for $20.

ECMD Business Manager Dee Dee Buettner said the class is being offered through a suggestion of the instructors, Jill and Dan Johnson.

“Anytime a person requests to teach a class, they give a presentation to our board,” Buettner said. “So far, we’ve had a lot of people sign up.”

Buettner said there are still several openings in either of the laughter yoga classes, and the ECMD will take registration for this class up to the day before. Payment is due at the time of sign-up.

According to Buettner, college students probably have a lot to gain from the class.

“It’s in the health and recreation section,” she said. “College students are under a lot of stress, and laughter is the best way to use energy and have a healthy and good feeling. It’s got to be something that’s a real stress-reducing thing.”

Laugher is known to have healing powers. The Associated Press (AP) reported, “Numerous scientific studies have found that daily laughter can help lift depression, lower blood pressure and boost the immune system.”

Still, the AP story warns, “Yoga and health experts say little has been done to study the combined effects of chuckles and chakras.”

Charlie Kenyon, a senior media production major, said laughter yoga does not sound like something he would be interested in.

“Laughing while standing on one foot sounds dangerous,” he said.

There are others who think the concept is farfetched. According to the AP, “Roger Cole, a San Diego-based certified yoga instructor ? said he worries about the forced nature of laughter yoga.

“The idea that putting a posture, as it were, on your face – a smile – is an idea that’s not foreign to yoga,’ Cole said in the AP story. “But the whole concept seems pretty contrived and uncomfortable. I think it could work, but there are more tried and true versions out there.”

The healing power of laughter does not just come from real laughter. In fact, according to laughteryoga.org, “The concept of laughter yoga is based on a scientific fact that the body cannot differentiate between fake and real laughter. One gets the same physiological and psychological benefits.”

Junior pharmacy and Spanish major Melissa Schram said she thinks the concept is interesting. She also believes students could gain from the class.

“I think it would be beneficial for students to encourage working out as a fun activity instead of another thing to get done.”