Laughter yoga provides many health benefits

ORANGE, Conn. (WTNH) — A hearty laugh could be what your body needs. A hilarious start to a laughter yoga class can get you going. They dig deep inside, belting out the heartiest laugh they can muster. Connie Pino leads the enthusiastic addicted group every Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the Orange Senior Center.

“Once you start laughing with the group, even though you start by faking it, it becomes real very quickly,” she said. “The whole key is to laugh as long and hard as you can because that’s what gives you all the health benefits.”

Just letting go has all kinds of health benefits.

“The number one I think is the reduction of cortisol, reduction of stress, the boost to your immune system, and the expansion of your lung capacity,” said Pino.

But getting silly and spontaneous may not appeal to everyone.

“Truthfully, after the first session I thought ‘what am I doing?’ because I didn’t quite get it,” said Bonnie Coppola.

She came back and got it, and now looks at life differently.

“You’re not really escaping it, you’re just kind of planting a different feeling inside you and that little shift makes you combat your day differently and maybe look at things differently,” Coppola said.

Sol Hitzig is also a regular.

“It’s a slight workout,” he said. “You don’t break out into a sweat, but you’re getting this internal joggle, neck to waist, and you feel it.”

The free-fall cackling is infectious.

“When I first started laughter yoga, I had a tough time putting a smile on my face. I’d walk around with a frown. As soon as I started with laughter yoga, that frown disappeared,” Hitzig said.

The next time you need a boost, think outside the box and join in.

“It used to be if you laughed and there wasn’t a joke, there was something wrong with you,” said Pino. “Now we know that if we laugh heartily, it’s really good for you.”

The free class is 20 minutes to a half-hour. There are seven Laughter Yoga clubs in Connecticut. For more information, click here.

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