yoga

Photo: Courtesy of Vishwa Prakash/Yogalaff

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Laughter Yoga
Try it if you like:
Slow yoga or guided meditation

Health perks:
Based on breath exercises called pranayama, laughter yoga started in India and is now practiced in 60 countries. Because a good chuckle—spontaneous or not—has been shown to reduce stress, yogis yuk it up through a series of moves.

Goofiness factor:
While I abhor silliness, I was curious to find out whether a belly laugh really could trim my belly fat. Within minutes of my arrival, our instructor had the group in pretend giggles: We lifted imaginary barbells overhead, then snickered as we threw the weight to the floor. We skipped around, flapping our arms like chickens. Embarrassing? You bet. But a funny thing happened during this session of artificial gaiety: I let out a genuine laugh. By the time we said a closing prayer, I felt lighter in spirit—if not on the scale. (LaughterYoga.org)

Fun scale: 4/10

—Ashley Williams, senior editor
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