Hasya Yoga

Definition - What does Hasya Yoga mean?

Hasya yoga is the name given to a style of yoga that encourages voluntary laughter for prolonged periods. The practice of deliberate laughter, even laughter for no reason, is believed to have the same physiological effects and benefits of spontaneous laughter.

The name hasya yoga comes from the Sanskrit hasya, which can be translated as “humour” or “comedy" and is one of the nine rasas or moods. Hasya is said to lead to the exultation of the mind.

Yogapedia explains Hasya Yoga

Hasya yoga is generally practiced in a group setting, often outside in parks. The class may begin with gentle warm up exercises, stretching, chanting or eye contact to encourage playfulness, and then progress to the voluntary laugher exercises. It is said that even forced laughter quickly becomes real laughter as the brain can't tell the difference.

Along with classes, some organisations even provide options to attend hasya yoga events remotely, such as via conference call.

It is thought that hasya yoga can increase pain thresholds, making it one possible treatment for chronic pain. There have been some small-scale studies of hasya yoga which indicate its potential to have positive effects on health, including cardiovascular fitness and mood. Other reputed benefits include:

  • Strengthens the immune system

  • Reduces symptoms of depression

  • Cultivates playfulness

  • Increases social bonding

  • Reduces stress

  • Alleviates physical discomfort

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