Chuckle your stress away with laughter yoga

By Amanda Soine

The skillful art of yoga has become a laughing matter here at University of Wisconsin–Stout. The Wellness Center has teamed up with Sue Halama, a certified laughter yoga instructor, to teach students how to reduce the common feelings of stress and anxiety that are usually associated with college life by engaging in active breathing and laughing.

If this does not sound like your typical yoga class, you are right: it’s not. However, it does offer the same benefits as a regular yoga class, just in a different way. Mackenzie Hunter, the UW–Stout Fitness & Aquatics Coordinator thinks this type of yoga is really beneficial for students, especially those who do not know how to handle their stress and anxiety.

“Laughter yoga is based on the idea that anyone can laugh, anytime, for absolutely no reason,” Hunter said. “The purpose of laughter yoga is similar to the purpose of normal yoga: elevate your mood, reduce stress, strengthen your immune system, improve your focus and, of course, learn to laugh through tough times.”

Hunter, who attended the first ever laughter yoga session, saw immediate benefits from some of the students in attendance.

“Laughter yoga is all about coming out of your comfort zone and letting go of any walls you have built up around you,” Hunter said. “I could tell some students were not able to drop those walls, but there were a number who got into it and enjoyed themselves.”

These sessions are open for everyone and are being held in the Maplewood room in the Memorial Student Center on the first Wednesday of every month with two 45-minute sessions: 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and 12:30 to 1:15 p.m. Come and find out what all the laughter is about!

For information regarding laughter yoga go to www.laughteryoga.org/english

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