Laughter as therapy (also known as laughter yoga) was officially created as a group activity by a medical doctor in India's Mumbai over 20 years ago. Now practiced around the world with studies to back up its effectiveness on the mind and the body, Bondi Pavilion is about to get its own laughter therapy club.
Starting on Saturday August 29, qualified laughter yoga instructor Connie Costa will be running her laughter yoga classes from 10-11am weekly.
Qualified to crack you up
Connie is a certified laughter yoga and laughter wellness teacher who started the organisation 'Laugh and Live Well' after experiencing the benefits of laughter therapy on her own physical and mental well being.
She now uses a therapeutic approach to laughter to help others achieve a state of balance and joy through laughter, regardless of how they are feeling or what is going on around them. According to Connie, this leads to empowerment and enhanced physical, mental, and spiritual health and wellbeing.
So just what is involved in a laughter therapy class?
Connie Costa, leader of Bondi Beach Laughter Club
Well, there will be a lot of hearty chuckles and smiling faces, but it's also about focussed breathing techniques, mindfulness and relaxation. Many of the foundations of the therapy are grounded in yoga practices.
Connie says that she usually starts the class by setting the scene and giving people context - you do have to be open to the idea for it to work.
After a brief warm up to 'prepare the body for laughter', the group moves on to laughter exercises (which are often playful and may incorporate acting techniques). These are followed by rhythmic clapping, deep breathing exercises and laughter meditation.
The session finishes off with a grounding exercise, designed to 'ground the energy of laughter and stabilise the body systems'. I imagine it must be like a great big group sigh after one of those hearty belly laughs with friends.
Open yourself up to laughter
I'm really excited about trying laughter therapy out. I met Connie today to find out about the classes and found her to be a warm, welcoming soul. I'm sure she'd be capable of bringing a smile to even the most firmly pursed lips.
You can find out more about the class through the Laugh and Live Well website
, which also has links to their Facebook and Instagram pages. There's a brief video on the website that gives more detail into how the therapy works and testimonials from people who have benefitted from similar sessions.