Yoga instructor says adding laughter to a practice is beneficial

Suzanne Thibault started teaching laughter yoga to help people manage pain and feel better.

Laughter Yoga gaining interest in Sudbury

The class ends with everyone getting down on the ground and putting their head on someone's belly and laughing for 15 minutes. (Sophie Houle-Drapeau/Radio-Canada)

Suzanne Thibault says she's always had the gift of being able to make people laugh. She has a theater background and has found healing from laughter in her own personal life.

It was when she started working with L'Arche Sudbury that she found out about laughter yoga. L'Arche is an organization where people work and live with adults with disabilities. The organization sent her to Toronto to get certified in 2018.

Now she is taking it to the public with her own business, Laugher Yoga Sudbury.  As a single mom of three teenagers, she says it is the perfect side job.

'It doesn't have to be authentic'

"I come back not stressed but full of life and energy to share with my children," she said.

In the few months since starting her Laugher Yoga business, interest is growing.

Thibault says laughter yoga was started in the 90s by Dr. Madan Kataria, in Mumbai, India. He and his wife were caring for critical patients and made some interesting discoveries.

"If they could sustain laughter for 15 to 20 minutes they gained two hours of pain free sleep at night," she said.

"So they started doing studies and they saw that when people engage in sustained laughter they release endorphins which you know makes us feel good and groovy."

Suzanne Thibault is the owner of Laughter Yoga Sudbury.

And when it comes to the laughter, she says it doesn't have to be authentic.

"Science has proven that the body and the brain can't tell the difference between real and fake laughter...and it's fantastic, you're still getting all the benefits whether you buy into it or not. "

Thibault says she loves to see what happens in a class.

"I always love getting those people that come in and they're very sceptical or they're super shy and right away they're winning because they're going outside of their comfort zone."

She ends the class with one last laughter exercise.

"So everyone lies down on the ground and puts their head on someone's belly and we laugh for 15 minutes and it's exhausting but in a really great way."

And if you don't want to lie down on the floor or you can't because you are in a wheelchair or have physical restraints you can still do it in a chair.

"You're still surrounded by the laughter, you're surrounded by the energy."

With files from Wendy Bird


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