Happy World Laughter Day 2021!

Everybody laughs. It’s fun and it’s good for you.

“Laughter is the best medicine” has been bandied about for centuries in one form or another. Now, that proposition has been proven conclusively through clinical research — but most of us already understood it instinctively.

We just know we feel good when we laugh.

I’ve written before about laughter yoga, a 21st Century movement pioneered by Dr. Madan Kataria, that promotes the health benefits of prolonged laughter. Noting the proven physiological benefits of spontaneous laughter, Dr. Kataria explored the possibility that voluntary laughter could produce these same benefits.

His groundbreaking book, “Laugh for No Reason,” laid out the fundamentals of laughter yoga nearly 20 years ago, and now there are over 5,000 Laughter Yoga clubs in over 50 countries around the world.

In this short video, Dr. Madan Kataria explains the basic phases of a laughter yoga session: clapping & chanting; breathing; childlike playfulness & cheers; and laughter yoga exercises.

While I love the idea of laughter yoga, I have only participated in one group session, several years ago, in Austin. And we only had 4 people, so it was slightly subdued. Of course, you can do laughter yoga by yourself at home just the same as you can any other form of yoga. I just suspect it’s a little easier to sustain the laughter in a group.

See, we all know laughter is contagious. Even if we don’t know why someone else is laughing, just seeing them laugh, just hearing that sound — whether it’s a chuckle, chortle, cackle or guffaw — can trigger us to laugh along. Laughing in public promotes group participation and good cheer, as amply demonstrated in this brief video of a “social experiment” about spreading laughter on a subway.

Enough talk already about laughter. Go out and get you some today — and every day! Don’t be greedy — spread it around!

There’s plenty of comic fodder out there from funny memes and cat videos to stand-up comedians and screwball comedy movies and funny music from folks like Spike Jones, David Wilcox, and the Austin Lounge Lizards.

Just to help you get going, here’s a longer video of various people laughing uncontrollably. Bet you can’t watch all the way through without laughing!

Laugh it up, friends — it’s good for what ails ya!

About bullersbackporch

I am a native Austinite, a high-tech Luddite, lover of music, movies and stories and a born trainer-explainer.
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