- The Washington Times - Monday, December 4, 2006

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. (AP) — This is no joke: It’s a typical day at sunny Main Beach and about a dozen people are wandering around with their hands in the air, laughing hysterically, squawking like chickens and talking gibberish.

Now limbered up, they suddenly form a loose circle and begin clapping and chanting before they resume a group stretch.

This is laughter yoga, a sidesplitting new fitness fad that is part traditional yoga, part improv and all silliness.

About 60 U.S. instructors who trained in India with the man who invented the style now instruct thousands of practitioners from California to Connecticut. About one-third of the known American laughter yoga clubs are in California.

Jeffrey Briar, who founded the Laughter Yoga Institute in Laguna Beach a month ago, said his daily yoga lessons are now such a common sight on the beach that dog-walkers and joggers no longer stare. Sometimes they even join in.

“Most people think they have to feel good first in order to laugh. But you can start from nothing, you can even start feeling unhappy and just laugh as a form of exercise, and happy feelings follow,” said Mr. Briar.

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