How to laugh without a punchline

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Back in the 1990s when Dr Madan Kataria was first investigating the health benefits of laughter in Mumbai, he and his mates met daily in a park and exchanged a few jokes. What he quickly realised was that comedy and ‘humour’ are personal. A joke may be funny once or twice but then it wears thin. And remembering the punchline is really important. And sometimes what one person finds funny, revolts another.

I’m a fan of Kitty Flannery and Anh Do. When I lead a laughter yoga session, I’m not trying to be like them though. I am not a stand-up comic. Laughter Yoga is not like ‘open mic’ at the local comedy club.

You don’t have to be funny.

You don’t have to happy.

Laughter Yoga incorporates simulated laughter exercises, deep cleansing breaths, clapping, a little chanting and a lot of playfulness. Fake it until you make it is the key and here’s why.

Our bodies, amazingly complex and clever creations that they are, can’t discern the difference between simulated or real laughter. The mechanics are the same – and so is the release of a natural cocktail of ‘feel good’ hormones.

Before you realise it, you are genuinely laughing because you feel so good!


(c) Heather Grant-Campbell aka Heather Joy

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It has been scientifically proven that 20 minutes of laughter reaps real physiological benefits.


“Our laughter leader training course was so well customised to the needs of our organisation and we received fabulous feedback from participants. Laughter yoga sessions are now on the calendar each week at our villages.”

— Jennie Hewitt, Positive Living Coordinator, Feros Care

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