Make ‘Em Laugh

Laugha yoga is good medicine.

“Bwahahahahahaha!” is a totally appropriate reaction to a clever SNL skit, but in a yoga class? Amidst a backdrop of reverential hush punctuated only by sporadic grunts and the occasional “Om”? Laughter—commonly referred to as “Laugha”—yoga aims to change that thinking. 

Created in 1995 by Madan Kataria, a doctor in India researching the health benefits of laughter, the practice of self-inducing laughter (no jokes necessary) decreases cortisol levels and is an effective mind-body tool, particularly for the self-serious (“You looking at me?”). Charlottesville yoga teacher Mary Burruss first attended a Laugha class during a silent retreat at Yogaville in Buckingham. After three days of sitting in silence, she took the class and says, “My whole body started tingling and my mood elevated like 300 percent.” She’s now a certified Laugha yoga leader and teaches classes and workshops in Charlottesville and Richmond. “It’s a fantastic way to get out of your left-brain,” says Burruss. “All you need is the ability to breathe.” LaughaYoga.com

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