A UNIQUE group is proving exercise can be really good fun.
Laughter Yoga, which combines deep breathing with copious amounts of laughter, is proving to be a hit among residents of Brighton.
The Brighton Laughter Club, who run the sessions, claim that the combination of deep yogic breathing and laughter helps to reconnect people to a more playful, fun-loving aspect of themselves.
Emma Hiwaizi, 44, Laughter Yoga leader at the Brighton Laughter Club, believes laughter is the best medicine in life and that the new style of yoga has numerous physical and mental benefits.
She said: “When you laugh it has the opposite effect on your body as anxiety so it’s the perfect stress buster.
“I moved house recently, which is normally a stressful occasion, but I didn’t find it stressful at all.”
Mrs Hiwaizi said laughter yoga can also boost the immune system, relieve pain and increase endorphin levels.
The Laughter Yoga sessions have already accumulated a set or regulars, from a market trader to a doctor.
In one of the exercise sessions, participants simulate mowing a lawn, which has been inducing real laughter as well as the fake laughter called for as part of the group.
Mrs Hiwaizi said both fake and real laughter stimulate the same physiological response and that laughter is often contagious so everyone reaps the reward.
When asked if everyone would enjoy the laughter yoga sessions, Mrs Hiwaizi said: “I’ll be honest, it’s like marmite.
“Some people love it and some people hate it but even if you hate it, you will still get the benefits.
“A laughter yoga session to me feels like a good night out down the pub with friends, just without the alchohol.
“It’s that great feeling you get when you’ve had a good laugh.”
Laughter yoga was founded in Mumbai in 1995 by Dr Kataria, an Indian doctor, who wanted to prescribe laughter for his patients.
Sessions take place every Thursday evening from 7:30pm to 8:30pm at One Church in Gloucester Place.