I Tried It: Laughter Yoga

You Try It!

Laughing Yoga
Balboa Park
Saturdays at 9:30 a.m.
Free

Laughter yoga takes the practice of the ancient tradition and applies it liberally—but not in the way you’d think. Instead of chaturanga, you chuckle. Instead of cobra, you clap. And instead of shoulder stand, you sing. This is not your average yoga class.

I arrive at Balboa Park early on a Saturday morning for a class with instructor Michael Coleman. He says that laughing helps clear out stale air, increases oxygen flow, and relaxes the mind, which aligns perfectly with the goals of traditional yoga.

Michael starts the class with a series of simple stretches and teaches us a comical cheerleading chant in which we clap our hands and yell "very good, very good, yeah!" He then asks us to fake laugh, and within seconds, our collective phony giggles melt into real laughter. Two students even step away from the group when they can’t control themselves, which in turn leads to more laughter. We also sing songs with our own gibberish lyrics, converse in made-up languages, and imitate each other’s funny sounds, similar to the telephone game I played as a child—all to reduce tension on the brain.

The class ends with a laughter meditation circle. We lie down on a tarp and spend several minutes in pure laughter. Some yogis hum and make eccentric sounds, and we all laugh harder. All ages are welcome to this informal class, and though it’s not the most sweat-inducing workout, it’s most certainly stress-reducing. Just laugh it off! 

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