Laugh It Up

A yoga class that makes you smile—whether you want to or not
Chris Edwards
Crunches? Treadmill? Lunges? Forget it. Laugh your calories away.

The strong core and lean limbs you get from yoga are no laughing matter, but that doesn’t mean the exercise itself shouldn’t be. Yoga guru Ranjit Deora is the organizer behind a local group called Charlotte Laughter Yoga. The group, which began meeting in April, gathers every other Saturday at Tom Sykes Recreation Center and typically draws around twenty people, who spend an hour standing in a circle laughing. That’s right, just laughing. There are no jokes or funny faces. Participants force laughter until it comes naturally. “You fake it until you make it,” says Deora, who has taught the practice to groups as large as 2,000 people. It sounds strange—and looks even stranger—but Deora claims that the combination of movements and laughing provides a physical and mental workout. “Laughter yoga is the best medicine for stress relief,” says Deora, who markets the sessions in a variety of formats—such as workshops for stressed-out executives or fun exercises for kids. You may not get the rock-hard core or impressive flexibility of some more intense yoga workouts, but these meetings are free and designed to be fun. Bet that puts a smile on your face. or