Laughing hysterically for absolutely no reason in public may be considered utterly bonkers, but pepper it up with some slow elongated breathes and it's called laughing yoga. You need to let your inner weirdo out; the technique is an effective way to reduce stress and release endorphins. German life coach and certified laughing yoga facilitator, Ute Devika Meinel, is bringing the laughing yoga game to Egypt with her newly launched initiative: Cairo Laughers.
Cairo Laughers is run by a group of 15 certified laughter yoga coaches, who will start meeting weekly every Friday at 10 am at al-Azhar Park for free laughter yoga sessions.
The first session will take place on Friday, March 3 and the facilitators will coach alternate weeks. Meinel personally certified 14 coaches who will be working alongside her on this initiative.
"The reason we do this is because a huge number of Egyptians are depressed, feeling stressed or anxious due to hardships they may be going through, and the best way to alter this state is by laughing naturally," Meinel told Egypt Independent.
Anyone can do laughing yoga, there are no difficult postures, no previous experience required, it's for everyone, Meinel added.
Laughter yoga is a unique social health promotion and disease prevention that uses safe, gentle, fun breathing exercises and simulated laughter techniques to enhance ones emotional, mental and physical wellness. It helps in regulating blood pressure and sleeping patterns as the chemistry in the body starts to change with the practice.
"What we are trying to do is to take it public by offering people — those with not enough money to go to studios or those with some reservations about practicing yoga — to come check out the open venue and have fun. They'll feel the difference," Meinel added.
There is no target age group or social segment as the practice aims to alter the lives of everyone, everywhere.
Trained and certified by the founder of laughter yoga and physician Madan Kataria in India, Meinel introduced laughter yoga to Egypt in the beginning of 2012 by offering group sessions as well as one-on-one laughter yoga coaching for individuals.
She added that usually people who join may feel a little awkward or embarrassed at the start for the mere fact of laughing for no reason but with time their inhibitions are thrown out the window.
"The body cannot differ between real and fake laughs, it releases the endorphins needed once swamped with all those laughs and it consequently relieves physical pain," she said.
"We don't crack jokes, we don't play music, we don't wear funny outfits, it all comes naturally and the laughter doesn’t leave you thinking, that's the best part of it,"Meinel said.
Cairo Laughers is eyeing to expand and take it corporate. "The aim is to not stop," she said.
Check out more details about the event here.