Laughter really is the best medicine

Caryl Lajoie of Concord and Carol Goward of Bow yuk it up.
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"Ha-ha-ha ho-ho-ho! Ha-ha-ha ho-ho-ho!" Step into a session of the New England Center for Laughter and you'll definitely hear this mantra repeated several times. It's both a breathing exercise and a manifestation of what the Center for Laughter is all about - better living through more laughing.

Founded in May, the New England Center for Laughter is the Concord area's only source for laughter yoga. Laughter yoga was developed in 1995 by Dr. Madan Kataria, also known as "The Guru of Giggling." The practice combines laughter exercises with yoga breathing in an effort to deliver more oxygen to the body and brain.

The center was created by Marcia Wyman, a former archery instructor who discovered laughter yoga last year while in rehabilitation for a stroke. She said the results were almost instantaneous.

"My body started rehabilitating," Wyman said. "Just after laughing for two days, the depression started to leave my body."

Wyman, along with co-founder Marcia Sprague, started running weekly laughter yoga sessions in Concord. The meetings are a fun, social way to get together and share a belly laugh-all in the name of health. Don't worry, you won't be the butt of anyone's joke if you show up for a session.

"We laugh together, not at each other," Wyman said. Instead of cracking wise or doing a standup routine, the laughter is induced by a variety of exercises designed to get people guffawing. Participants get their giggle on by acting out things like "Cell Phone Laughter," miming a cell phone call and laughing at what you hear on the other end.

"It's healing, it's socializing and it's helping people feel good," Wyman said. "We're trying to bring a little sunshine into people's lives."

The New England Center for Laughter meets every Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Raquet Club of Concord.

Upcoming Laughter Yoga events:
June 8 from 7-9 p.m.  at the Payson Center.
June 13 from 7-9 p.m. at the Payson Center.
June 23 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Society for Preservation of New Hampshire Forests.
July 26 at 11 a.m., event for seniors at
Elm Brook Park.

For more information, call
224-5768 or email

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