Laughter yoga comes to St. Andrew's Church

By Carolyn Goard, Niagara News - Thorold

Thorold is laughing its way to happiness and better health.

According to Chantal Rouleau who owns Laughter Yoga of Niagara, laughter is one of the best medicines.

On Thursday, May 19, St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church welcomed the certified laughter yoga teacher to guide a laughter yoga session. Lesley Kirkwood, member of the congregation planned the event and opened the invitation to the members of St. Andrew's parish as well as the Thorold community.

Kirkwood said she learned about laughter yoga from a friend and wanted to introduce the practice and its benefits to the people of Thorold.

She said she believes laughter has the power to improve health and wellness. "I hope laughter yoga is something that will catch on here and become a regular thing."

Rouleau said, "Laughter yoga is a unique class where anyone can laugh for no reason. All you need is the willingness to laugh." She added the one-hour laughter yoga class first initiates laughter as a form of exercise with the body through laughter-provoking activities, but it soon becomes real due to eye contact and the contagious nature of laughter.

Rouleau said as a laughter yoga teacher her job is to guide the class in silly exercises to provoke laughter.

"We fake it until we make it," she said.

"The benefits of laughter yoga are huge. It increases blood circulation, releases tension, helps with digestion and reduces blood pressure." She added it can also be a relaxing activity, can improve confidence and relieve stress.

"Laughter yoga is just a natural healing method."

She said laughter doesn't involve any yogic postures like most yoga practices, but is called yoga because it teaches students to breath deeply from their inner stomach. "It's totally suitable for anyone. If you can laugh, you can do laughter yoga."

She said one minute of laughter is equal to ten minutes on a rowing machine in terms of cardiovascular exercise.

"Laughter is the one language we all have in common throughout the world and it's a great exercise to boost happiness and improve health."

"We all need a little more laughter in our lives."