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New Exercise Laughs Away Stress

It’s a new take on an old form of exercise that gives some Bloomington residents the skills to laugh away stress.

Sulaiman Zai, Founder and Leader of the Bloomington Laughter Club, says this new exercise is a form of yoga with plenty of smiles.  Zai and the club members meet at the second, third and fourth Wednesdays from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Unity Church of Bloomington.

Zai is adamant that laughter has health benefits such as reducing stress. He says people don’t need a reason to laugh at all.  “You’re not making comedy. It’s not about entertaining each other, it’s just simply being playful, like a child might do with a toy,” Zai says.  “We design exercises that allow you to be playful without having to think hard about calculating or whether the joke is funny or whether it is a joke.”

One club member, Curtis Gresso, says he sees a change in the way he deals with stress.  “I’m beginning to see what my mind is doing to create stress in my body and as a result of that I’m beginning to manage whether I decide I want something to cause stress to my body so that’s been very helpful.”

Zai says laughter yoga allows people to better understand themselves and those around them. Better communication, physical health, and release of tension are among the many benefits of laughter yoga.

“People are pleasantly surprised to find themselves laughing in a way that they haven’t in years and it’s a wonderful release.”

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