This website provides information on Laughter Yoga sessions and other resources for those interested in Laughter Yoga; a method of exercise which stimulates the  benefits of laughter, without being dependent upon humour. Initiated and developed in 1995 by Dr. Madan Kataria; a qualified physician in Mumbai, India.  Laughter Yoga has spanned the globe and is currently available in at least 60 countries, with representation in many of the major cities of the world.


The History of Laughter Yoga

In March 1995, Dr. Madan Kataria was writing an article ‘Laughter - The Best Medicine’ for a health journal. In his research, he discovered many modern scientific studies, that described in depth, the many proven benefits of Laughter on the human Mind and Body. In particular, Dr. Kataria was impressed by Norman Cousins' book Anatomy of an Illness and the research work by Dr. Lee Berk. Profoundly inspired and being a man of action, Dr. Kataria immediately decided to field-test the impact of Laughter on himself and others.

Starting with just a handful of (5) persons, at 7 am on March 13, 1995, at a public park in his neighborhood in Mumbai, India; and managed to persuade four people to support him in launching a ‘Laughter Club’. They laughed together in the park that day to the amusement of bystanders; and the small group quickly grew to more than 50 participants, within a few days. In the initial meetings, they stood in a circle with one person in the center, to tell a joke or a funny story. Everybody enjoyed and felt good for the rest of the day.

After two weeks, the Laughter Club hit a snag. The stock of good jokes and stories ran out, and negative, hurtful and naughty jokes started to emerge. Two offended participants complained that it would be better to discontinue the Club than to continue with such jokes. Dr. Kataria asked the Club members to give him just one day to develop a ‘breakthrough’ that would resolve the crisis.

That night, Dr. Kataria reviewed his research and finally found the answer he was looking for: Our body cannot differentiate between pretend and genuine Laughter. Both produced the same ‘Happy Chemistry’. The next morning he explained this to the group, and asked them to try to act out Laughter with him, for one minute. Amid skepticism they agreed to try…. The results were amazing. For some, the pretend Laughter quickly turned into real Laughter - this was contagious and in no time others followed. Soon the group was laughing like never before. The hearty Laughter that followed persisted for almost ten minutes. This breakthrough was the birth of Laughter Yoga.

Realizing that there are ways other than humor to stimulate Laughter, Dr. Kataria developed a range of Laughter Exercises including elements of role-play and other techniques from his days as an amateur theater actor. Giving a thought to the importance of childlike playfulness, he developed further techniques to stimulate this within the group.

As Yoga practitioners, Dr. Kataria and his wife Madhuri, Co-founder of Laughter Yoga, saw the similarities between Laughter and Pranayama exercises, and incorporated elements from this ancient form of Yoga into Laughter Yoga, including the deep breathing exercises now used between Laughter Exercises, to deepen the impact.

The result - Laughter Yoga: A blend of Yogic Deep Breathing, Stretching, and Laughter Exercises that cultivate child-like playfulness.


About the benefits of Laughter and Laughter Yoga

In the last two decades, extensive research all over the world has shown that Laughter has a positive impact on various systems of the human body. Laughter helps to unwind the harmful effects of Stress, the number one killer in the world, today. Stress causes the most number of illnesses in today’s world – Heart disease, High Blood Pressure, Depression, Anxiety, frequent Cough and Cold, Insomnia, Allergies, Asthma, Menstrual troubles, Peptic Ulcer, Fibromyalgia, Tension Headaches. Stomach upsets, and even cancer, are somewhat related to Stress. It has been shown that Laughter lowers the Blood Pressure, relaxes muscles, improves blood circulation, increases oxygen level in the body, elevates mood, brings hope, enhances communication and most importantly, it boosts the Immune System, the master key for maintaining good health.

Laughter provides Stress Relief

Laughter is one of the finest, most economical and easy-to-practice anti-Stress measures. Laughter is one of the best muscle-relaxants. Laughter expands blood vessels, and sends more blood to the extremities and muscles all over the body. A good bout of Laughter also reduces the levels of Stress hormones Epineprine and Cortisol. Laughter can be said to be a form of Dynamic Meditation or Relaxation

Laughter Yoga as Eustress Or Stress Buster

Hans Selye described Laughter as a form of Eustress. This means that it is a positive, Life-enhancing type of Stress. Laughter has a built-in balancing mechanism that encourages the two-step action of Stimulation and Relaxation, due to the release of the chemicals – Adrenaline, and Noradrenaline. This produces a feeling of wellbeing, by relieving the minor stresses and strains of daily life. Laughter reduces Anxiety, Tension and Depression. Thus, Laughter helps in mitigating several serious diseases such as Hypertension, Heart disease, Diabetes, in which Anxiety and Tension are predisposing factors.

Kay Herth (American Journal of Nursing 1984) has documented reduction of Hypertension after Laughter Therapy. Many have reaped the beneficial effects of Laughter in reducing Hypertension, Heart disease, Diabetes, Anxiety, Insomnia, etc.

Now modern medicine is proving this with research that has shown that Smiling and Laughing cause physiological changes in the human body. After a bout of Laughter, it is observed that there is a reduction in Cortisol, a chemical that indicates Stress in the body, and an increase in Mood elevating Endorphins. Laughter is also thought to improve Circulation, stimulate the Nervous System, heighten the Immune System, and make the Heart stronger.

Laughing releases the tension of pent-up feelings and can help us keep things in perspective. Laughter is one of the body's safety valves,
a counter balance to Tension. When we release that tension, the elevated levels of the body's Stress hormones drop back to normal, thus allowing our Immune Systems to function more effectively.

Dr. Robert Holden, tells us in his book "Living Wonderfully":  "Social psychology research shows that children laugh on average 150 times a day; adults laugh on average only six times a day. During an average day, a child will smile 400 times; an adult will smile no more than 15 times." When we grew up, somehow we lost over a hundred laughs and hundreds of smiles a day. By learning to smile and laugh again, more easily and more often, we could make profound and positive effects to our health and well being.

Laughter Yoga and Chronic Stress

Chronic Stress lasts for a long time or occurs frequently. It is potentially damaging. Family problems, a difficult class at school, a schedule that is too busy, or a long illness can cause Chronic Stress. Nowadays, Chronic Stress is one of the primary causes of most of diseases. There are many ways to control Chronic Stress, like Exercise, proper Diet, Time Management, adequate Rest, and relaxing Hobbies. Laughter Yoga is the most economical, less time consuming, fun exercise which is easy to learn. Anyone can do it. All you need is little time and commitment.




World Peace through Laughter, Starting with you!!!

One of the objectives of Laughter Yoga is to promote world peace through laughter. Some people find this idea fanciful, but an understanding of the science of emotions and emotional contagion in particular shows how this might be achieved.

The practice of Laughter Yoga causes the body to release into the bloodstream high concentrations of communication substances related to feelings of happiness, warmth, unconditional love, bonding, tolerance, forgiveness, generosity, and compassion. Let’s call this a joy cocktail.

The presence of this ‘JOY COCKTAIL’ of hormones and neuro-peptides precludes the production of other hormones and neuro-peptides that correspond with hatred, fear, violence, jealousy, aggression and the emotions associated with war and oppression.

By practicing Laughter Yoga in groups, the level of joy cocktail is raised to high concentrations through the multiplier effect: people leaving Laughter Yoga sessions go forth and interact with many people who are in turn affected to varying degrees by this powerful emotional state of joy. They in turn ‘infect’ other people they come into contact with…

You will experience this ‘chain reaction’ for yourself after your first Laughter Yoga sessions. Not only will you cheer up your friends and family but you may also cheer up the bus driver and others on your bus, the people you work with, the staff at the shop and more. They in turn will cheer up others, and so on.


This site is maintained by Christopher Lyons;  a certified Laughter Yoga Leader registered   with the Laughter Yoga Oraganization, and resides in Windsor,Ontario, Canada.  Direct inquiries are obtainable by E-mail:

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