Laughter Yoga at La Jolla Community Center is a funny way to spend Monday mornings


By Brianna Alexander

“Ha ha ha ha … ho ho ho … he he he he” are the first sounds you hear walking into the big room at the La Jolla Community Center for the 11 a.m. Monday session of Laughter Yoga.

Leader Ndinda Spada explains the class as “a series of laughter exercises combined with yogic breathing.”

As the class gets underway, all the smiles and giggles are somewhat forced, but Spada assures “the body cannot tell the difference between a fake laugh and a genuine one; both provide the same healthy benefits.”

As the class progresses, the laughter becomes contagious and more natural due to the group dynamic.

A bizarre use of one’s time?

Spada says the good science behind laughing speaks for itself. There are many physical, mental, and emotional benefits gained when you laugh.

According to the medical profession, laughter helps you to unwind from the negative affects of stress, and is also proven to boost your immune system. When you laugh, you naturally take in more oxygen, which is needed to fight disease, to reduce blood pressure and insomnia, and to

improve digestion and the cardiovascular system.

The process of laughing also boosts the production of “happy” hormones, or endorphins. You literally leave the session of Laughter Yoga feeling more emotionally liberated, and your positive emotions are brought to the forefront, Spada insists.

In addition, Laughter Yoga is a safe, gentle and fun exercise that is accessible to anyone — regardless of age.

Dr. Madan Kataria, a physician from Mumbai, India, started his first Laughter Yoga club in 1995 with only a few people. Today, Laughter Yoga is a worldwide phenomenon with more than 6,000 clubs in about 60 countries.

If you go

— Laughter Yoga sessions are free, 11 a.m. Mondays at the La Jolla Community Center (open during renovations) at 6811 La Jolla Blvd.

— Contact: (858) 459-0831