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[whitespace] Ready, Set, Laugh

EACH LAUGHING session starts with a deep-breathing exercise. Members stretch their hands upward and take a deep breath, hold it for some time and then gradually exhale. This breathing exercise is similar to Pranayam in yoga, which helps in increasing the vital capacity of the lungs and helps in producing laughter.

After deep breathing, everybody starts chanting ho-ho, ha-ha. Slowly increasing the speed of ho-ho, ha-ha, they suddenly burst into hearty laughter by stretching their hands up and looking at each others' faces. Each kind of laughter lasts for about 20 to 30 seconds. This exercise is akin to a yogic practice called Kaphalbhati, where there is a rhythmic movement of the diaphragm and abdominal muscles. It helps to facilitate the lungs in order to initiate laughter. When a large number of people gather in a group and chant ho-ho, ha-ha, it charges the whole atmosphere with laughter. Since everyone can easily participate in this exercise, each one feels a sense of achievement. This is another step toward removing members' inhibitions."

--From the Art of Living Foundation's website, www.artofliving.org

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From the July 4-10, 2002 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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