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Laughter Yoga At Village Shalom Is Good Medicine


Want a good laugh? How about a whole lot of healthy, stress-relieving, emotionally recharging laughs? They’re being offered up as part of a new Laughter Yoga group at Village Shalom conducted by certified Laughter Yoga leader Maurine Pachter.

Maurine Pachter (standing) elicits a hearty chuckle from the participants in her Laughter Yoga session at Village Shalom.

“It’s fabulous,” commented Rickie Haith, who first participated in a session that Maurine offered several months ago at Congregation Beth Shalom. “It’s great exercise, but you don’t have to get up and move around. I thought it would be great to do at Village Shalom to get the residents involved.”

Rickie, who periodically brings meetings of Beth Shalom’s Prayerworks spirituality and healing group to Village Shalom, is especially attuned to activities and programs that can include the retirement community’s senior adults. Laughter Yoga certainly meets those qualifications.

The worldwide movement was developed by Dr.Madan Kataria, a physician in India who used scientific research to support his theory that laughter, whether “genuine” or “pretend,” has many beneficial health properties. As a longtime practitioner of yoga, he introduced laughter exercises into the ancient practice to deepen its impact, and Laughter Yoga was born.

“It’s really for all ages,” says Maurine, who became certified in the practice in 2010. “I work a lot with preschool children around the Kansas City area. Laughter Yoga allows you to let yourself go, and involves the physical and the spiritual. As you get older, you become aware of the enormous benefits of laughter and how it can change your perspective towards life and make you more positive and joyful.”

Maurine’s mother, Regina Pachter, agrees. Regina, a resident at Village Shalom, has often said that “laughter is very important in our daily lives.” She makes a point of laughing for at least five to 10 minutes every day, and it has helped to keep her looking and feeling much younger than her 98 years.

Displaying a variety of Laughter Yoga techniques are session participants (standing, from left) Rickie Haith, Janna Zhitlovsky, Naomi Kauffman, instructor Maurine Pachter, Roni Beshears, Florence Hadley, Edith Markowitz, (seated) Helen Coppaken, Joyce Bratman, Regina Pachter, Joan Beaver, Betty Hastings.

Added Maurine, “Laughter Yoga is the greatest of inventions. In fact, it is better than all the medication you take.”

Village Shalom’s Laughter Yoga sessions are open to the public at no charge. They are offered at 11:00 a.m. the first Monday of every month. For more information, call Village Shalom’s Programs Department at 913-266-8451.