by Emily Black
LAUGHTER yoga instructor Karen Flannery is putting a smile on the dials of those who attend her class and is now seeking younger members.
Karen said the first laugher club was started by Dr Madan Kataria in India in 1995, and 22 years later they had sprung up all over the world.
"There are now roughly 7,000 clubs, in over 100 countries and luckily in Hervey Bay there are already two clubs running."
Karen said she was inspired by the original Hervey Bay Laughter Yoga instructors Bev and Daryl Morrison, whose classes have run for about two years.
She explained her passion started at the Morrison's classes and then started her own when she could no longer attend due to work commitments.
"I had been attending their laughter club for two years and now have trained to be a leader, starting a small group at the Senior Citizens Club," she said.
"I have been wanting to get under 50s involved, so now I've started a group on Sunday called the Fraser Coast Laughter Club, which is affiliated with the Laughter Yoga Australia group in Victoria."
Karen said the Sunday group was aimed at workers and she wanted to encourage people to enjoy the program, which she hoped would help them survive the week ahead at work.
"Fraser Coast Laughter Club is for anyone 18 and over seeking an enjoyable exercise program that will set them up for the coming week - whether it be work, health issues or just to start the week with a smile on your face.
"The clubs are full of fun and frivolity, but underlying the fun, is the best wellness program that you can attend.
"The sessions include clapping, laughing, movement and breathing exercises."
She added "laughter is the best medicine", an old saying, but so true, with just 10 minutes of mirthful laughter equal to half an hour of aerobic exercise.
"Not only that, laughter reduces the stress hormones produced in the hypothalamus section of the brain, lowering blood pressure, and can reduce risk of heart attack and stroke.
"It also stimulates our immune system, it can unblock emotions in the body, releases endorphins that create a positive state of mind and unwinds the negative effects of stress."
"Next try to encourage businesses to use it as a strategy for staff well being, as well as run workshops for businesses and schools - but that is still a work in progress."
LAUGH OUT LOUD
WHAT: Fraser Coast Laughter Club for anyone aged 18 and over
WHERE: Senior Citizens Hall
WHEN: 28 Totness St, Torquay.
COST: $4 for session, plus gold coin donation, includes a cup of tea or coffee and a biscuit.
CONTACT: Karen Flannery, 0408969404