Off the Mat with Natasha Ellis: What Is Laughter Yoga?

What is Laughter Yoga?

Laughter yoga is a unique exercise and wellness routine that was first developed by Indian physician, Dr. Madan Kataria. It allows practitioners to laugh freely, without humor, jokes or comedy as a cue. Taking place at a laughter club, laughter yoga encourages laughter as a bodily exercise done while making eye contact and being playful – the result is contagious laughter. Unlike Vinyasa or Yin yoga, laughter yoga doesn’t involve any of the traditional asanas or yoga poses, all you have to do to practice is laugh.

The Benefits of Laughter Yoga

Laughter really is contagious, and the benefits make it a happy hobby to consider. Laughter yoga is the idea that you can reap the same benefits from voluntary laughter as you can from spontaneous laughter. So, imagine what can happen when you dedicate an hour of each day to overwhelming, laugh-out-loud happiness.

Laughter yoga can specifically help caregivers and seniors. At the Ballard Northwest Senior Center, laughter yoga is offered as a fitness program. Benefits include stress relief, more energy, sharper mind, clearer emotions, lower social anxiety, better self-esteem and overall peacefulness.

About Natasha Ellis

Natasha Ellis is a Certified Laughter Yoga leader, and has been teaching the practice for more than seven years. Natasha, who has been sober for more than 15 years, has a history of mental illness and cross addictions, but attributes her current state of thriving and surviving to yoga. A self-described social bug, Natasha, who also goes by “Tosh,” now helps others heal and grow as a Certified Mental Health and Addiction Support Coach. Additionally, she also practices as a Safety Trainer.