Carolyn Nicholson

What exactly is Laughter Yoga?

It’s a simple, fun way to retrain the brain to laugh more regularly. It has simple, playful movements and pretend laughter that leads to natural, spontaneous laughter. Because we exhale when we laugh we also do yoga deep breathing. It’s a very joyful, uplifting, happy experience. Laughter is one of the best things for your brain and to keep it young.

What does it try to achieve?

It relieves pain and lowers the heart rate. It also strengthens our immune system and takes our mind off negative, worrying thoughts. Laughter Yoga can have a transforming effect on our brain and body - even emotionally and psychologically. A person will notice the difference immediately in the first session. 

If someone was to walk past one of your classes would they think you’ve all lost your marbles?

Yes, they probably would, but it actually has a ripple effect and most people end up smiling and laughing with us – the joyful energy is contagious.

Are there any negatives to laughing?

It speeds up digestion so you can guess the rest (laughs).

Are laugh lines on your face an occupational hazard?

I would much rather have lines going up than frown, sad lines going down – at least people can tell what I do a lot (laughs).

What makes you laugh?

Children, animals having fun, human nature, comedians and even the stupid things I do sometimes.

They say laughter makes the heart grow fonder. True?

Yes. Laughter bonds and unites us because when we laugh we drop our masks and show our true self. And our true self is joy and love.

Is laughter the best medicine?

It sure is to me. I’ve been doing this for 13 years and in that time it has saved my health through numerous challenging times.

Finally, do you know any good jokes?

I am not good at remembering jokes but I am good at laughing at everyone else’s!

Laughter and happiness workshops are being held as part of the 2017 Victorian Seniors Festival, which runs throughout October.