Somebody who was unaware of what was going on might have thought the hyenas from The Lion King had relocated to the multi-purpose room at Western Washington University. Or maybe they thought there was an extra hilarious comedian who didn’t even have to talk to get his or her audience to laugh.
Peals of laughter poured from the doors of the building. Inside, people were frolicking with flailing limbs and grins plastered across their faces. The chuckles bouncing around the room ranged from high pitched squeals to hearty bellows.
On April 27, WWU’s Meditation Club gathered to giggle. Anna Baker led the group in a laughter meditation/laughter yoga, which is a fairly new movement started by Dr. Kataria in India. He found that laughter helps people live longer and improves moral.
Baker learned about laughter yoga from a friend four years ago and has since led several laughter meditations. During the meditation she guides people through a series of silly activities they do while laughing. The trick is the laughter can be fake! It turns out the physical benefits from laughter can be achieved through both genuine and contrived laughter! Generally people are infected with amusement and begin laughing authentically within minutes.
“It’s physically demanding,” Baker said. “But it works at clearing the mind.”
Tomorrow is World Laughter Day, which comes every year on the first Sunday in May. Giggle with your buddies, guffaw with your family and chuckle to yourself to contribute to the positive experience that will be shared across the globe on that day.