Best of Laughter Yoga exercisesI was recently going through my archives and came across the following list of over 150 Laughter Yoga exercises that a few friends and I put together in 2005, a couple of months after I attended the first formal Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher training in India. All I had been given there was a list of 17 laughter exercises and it left me disappointed and hanging. Laughter Yoga was already in its 10th year by then, but only had 17 documented laughter exercises? That would change, quickly.

As you are about to see, the following list is filled with the essence of what I had been taught at the time, which is lots of pantomimes (you engage in simple movements of everyday life as you fake-laugh) all wrapped up in playful silliness.

I look at these today as memories of a time now gone, just like I recall my childhood with much affection. It was fun at the time, and I’ve since grown into a different space. (You’ll get the gist of where I am now at here.)


  1. 1 cm. Laugh: only one short “ha”. People usually laugh because this is unexpected.
  2. 1 meter laugh
  3. Age Laughter: Imagine how your laugh would sound when you are double your current age; half of your current age; 10/20/30 years older; ten years younger; as a child; as an infant; 95 / 5.
  4. Airline Safety Instruction Laugh: first in English, then in French
  5. Airplane laughter
  6. Alphabet Laughter: letter off from A to Z; vowels come forth and sound; consonants sound.
  7. Animal Laughter: donkey; pig snorts; dog woofs; Cheshire cat caterwauls; hoot owls; chimpanzees; gorillas
  8. Ants in Your Pants
  9. Apology Laughter: see Forgiveness Laughter
  10. Appreciation Laughter: look at others as you laugh and appreciate each other. This is a value-based laughter, reminding the participants how important it is to appreciate others. The tip of the index finger is joined with the tip of the thumb, making a small circle. The hand is moved forward and backwards in jerks while looking at different members and laughing in a very gentle manner, appreciating your fellow beings
  11. Argument Laughter: The leader presents an absurd scenario and seeks a number of volunteers. Two volunteers begin by arguing with each other with laughter and pointing at each other. Substitutes can take their places, or, eventually, two teams can argue against each other, pointing index fingers. Alternately, you don’t need a scenario and you can argue hypothetically.
  12. Balloon-popping laughter: 2 people try to pop each others’ imaginary balloons that you imagine are attached to their ankles.
  13. Basketball Throw: someone throws an air basketball and everyone either cheers or groans, depending on whether the shot sunk or missed.
  14. Beethoven’s Fifth: Ha ha ha haaaaaaaa, ha ha ha haaaa
  15. Belly Laughs
  16. Bite a Towel
  17. Body Scan Laughter: be aware of and/or laugh from hair, scalp, forehead, eyes, nose, cheeks, mouth, throat; shoulders, arms, chest, stomach, gut, hips, legs, feet, toes, toenails, skin. Body scan can also include: nasal laughter, humming, yawning, coughing, etc.
  18. Boo-Hoo Laughter: stand, then fake a sad “boo-hoo” while sliding down into a crouch, then laugh while you stand up; repeat a few times
  19. Bored Laughter: Fake it until you make it (sic).
  20. Boss Quit Today: cheering is allowed
  21. Bouncing tiger laughter (from Winnie the Poo), both hands together, palms down, ahead of chest
  22. Bowling Laughter
  23. Break March Laughter: A Sergeant-major starts by leading a group of soldiers in standing on the spot, directing them to “march left, … left, … left, right, left” and then, “ha, … ha, … ha ha ha”. The sergeant-major then instructs the soldiers to ‘break march’ when crossing a bridge, that is, everyone steps at their own random pace. The Sergeant-major takes the soldiers on a march where laughter is structured at first then becomes more spontaneous when they ‘break march’ when they cross the bridge
  24. Broken Motor
  25. Bus Stop: teen resists laughing or smiling while others take turns telling jokes or in other ways trying to make subject laugh.

  1. Laughter Yoga exercisesCelebration Laughter: get everyone in the group to come close together and then tell them a secret, for example, “no work tomorrow” and then give high fives and jump around celebrating.
  2. Cell Phone Laughter: Hold imaginary cell phones; move around to meet different people and interact while laughing; point to cellphone as if pointing to the person you’re talking to
  3. Cha Cha Cha Ha Ha: Laugh as you dance a la cha cha cha.
  4. Cheesecake Laughter: throw an imaginary cheesecake into someone’s face (cream pie can substitute; better still, a banana cream pie).
  5. Chicken Hat Laughter: flaunt it if you’ve got it
  6. Clean / skin / dry hands while chanting ho ho ha ha ha
  7. Cocktail Party Laughter: What do you imagine people talk about at cocktail parties ? How do people stand? How do they Sound ? What do you talk about at cocktail parties ? Pick one topic to talk about. Group into threes and snicker with each other over imaginary drinks. Grasp one another’s fingers as if you had been told something just too precious
  8. Constipation Laughter: squat on an imaginary throne and let go with laughter.
  9. Cookie Monster Laugh
  10. Crying laughter (cry on the way down, laugh on the way up)
  11. Dancers: “We’re all skilled dancers”. Everyone dances skillfully and with style while laughing
  12. Deck the Halls: … with boughs of holly, ha ha ha ha ha, ha ha ha ha
  13. Don’t Laugh Too Hard Laughter: sometimes we need quiet or medium-volume laughter to not ‘bust a gut’.
  14. Donkey Laugh: “ee-haw, ee-haw”.
  15. Dr. Evil: raise a pinky to your chin and snicker. Similar to Evil Laughter where you rub your hands in a mischievous way
  16. Drinking Straw Laugh place plastic drinking straw between your teeth.
  17. Driving laughter (with 2 hands first, then putting one hand over eyes)
  18. Dyslexic Laughter: swing both hands gently from side to side chanting ho ho ha ha ha, which engages both left and right brains.
  19. Electric Shock: shake hands and imagine receiving an electric shock from touching the person’s hand.
  20. Embarrassing Scenario: Recall an embarrassing incident and retell it, laughing at the end or throughout. For example, demonstrate a story of raising your hand while in the middle of a very large meeting and say : “I want to say something ……… but I seem to have forgotten what”, then laugh hysterically out of embarrassment or nervousness.
  21. Emotional Release Laughter: get hit by a wave of emotion, such as insanity laughter, angry laughter, sad laughter or scared laughter.
  22. Eyes Closed Laughter (when group trusts)
  23. Face in Belly, Imagine: imagine a face painted on your belly and that it is laughing uproariously.
  24. Fake Laughter: insincere; “I don’t feel like laughing today”, then do it anyway. Grimace, smile, giggle.
  25. Fall Down Dead Laughter, or Fall Down Laughing and Go To Sleep: similar to the childhood game of pretending to shoot a person dead and the victim over-dramatizes the death. Alternately, the victim is ‘poofed’ by throwing imaginary magic dust; victim laughs self to death or to sleep.

  1. Finiculi Finicula: … ha ha ha ha ha …
  2. Forgiveness Laughter. Greet people one-by-one and both apologize to each other, offering forgiveness to each other. See “Laugh For No Reason”, Kataria, pp. 140-149.
  3. Freezing Laughter: “It’s winter outside and I’m shivering with cold” (shivers turn into laughter).
  4. Goalkeeper Laughter: Goaltender stops every shot, laughs and throws it back..
  5. Golf Laughter: swing an imaginary club
  6. Gradient Laughter: Fake a frown; fake a smile; giggle, then laugh slowly and gradually increase in tempo and volume.
  7. Greek Restaurant Laughter: raise an imaginary plate in the air and then smash it on the floor laughing.
  8. Greeting Laughter – Greet one another in as many cultural styles as you want (indian, japanase, …)
  9. Guru Laughter : Put one hand over your head and say : “I learn from my mistakes, Ha , Ha, Ha.” Put the second hand over your head and say : “ I learn from others’ mistakes, Ha, ha , ha.”
  10. Hand on Throat Laughter: Put your hand on your throat, laugh and observe the vibrations. Put your hands on different body parts and observe how they vibrate differently or not at all.
  11. Happy Birthday Laughter : (to the tune of ‘Happy Birthday To You’): Happy Ha ha to you / Happy ho ho it’s true / Happy tee-hee dear _______ / Happy hey hey ha who ?
  12. Hawaiian Laughter: Sing aloha ha ha ha as you swing your hips side to side and hands above your head
  13. Head phone laughter: act the action of putting headphone on, plugging it in taking short deep breath and then jump because the sound it too loud
  14. Heart to Heart Laughter: (Intimacy Laughter) Hug each other and laugh by feeling the vibrations in each others’ bodies; alternatively, you can hold hands and laugh. The participants come closer and hold each others hands and laugh with compassionate eye contact. One can shake hands and hug each other while laughing if convenient.
  15. Hearty Laughter: Spread the arms up, pointed to the sky, with head tilted a little back or with chin raised; laugh heartily. Direct your laughter to come straight from your heart. Arms can be brought down as needed.
  16. Heimlich Maneuver laughter (make a fist and push inward on abdomen, hold breath, then burst out laughing
  17. Hold Yourself Laughter
  18. Hot Soup Laughter: Move your hands up and down as if you have had very hot and spicy soup and say: “Hee .. Hee .. Hee” (or, eat sushi with a hidden lump of wasabi, with heat escaping from your nostrils).
  19. Hugging Laughter
  20. Hum and Laugh At The Same Time : don’t close lips too tightly; hum and laugh simultaneously. Look at others, making gestures to stimulate each other. Shake hands. Be Playful.
  21. I Don’t Know Where to Hold Myself, I’m Laughing So Hard
  22. Ice Cube Down the Back Laugh:
  23. Imitation Laughter : imitate someone else’s voice, such as a celebrity.
  24. Insanity Laughter: it can be a lot of fun but be careful to not stay too long
  25. Intimacy Laughter (see Heart to Heart Laughter): Participants come closer, hold each others hands and laugh with compassionate eye contact. One can shake hands and hug each other while laughing.

  1. Karate Brick Laughter: hold both hands in front of head (they are a brick); hit the imaginary brick with your head and then laugh as if in great pain.
  2. Karate Chop Laughter: hold one hand in front of you, imagining that it is a board; hit the imaginary board with your other hand and then hold it as if you are in great pain.
  3. Laughter bomb (start hands up, whistle on the way down and then “explode” laughing
  4. Lawn Mower Laughter: start the engine in three laughs.
  5. Left Side of Mouth Laughter:
  6. Lemonade laughter: squeeze lemon, add sugar (can be sticky), then drink (can be too sour)
  7. Lion Laughter: stick tongue out; pose with hands held like lion’s paws; roar and laugh; from belly – no gagging – helps us open up and stretch our psychological boundaries/barriers
  8. Look Into Someone’s Eyes, Smile and Giggle : The other will laugh without even knowing why.
  9. Lose Control of Your Knees
  10. Milk Shake Laughter: Hold two imaginary glasses of milk and mix them by saying Aee .. Aeeee … Ah .. ha .. ha … Alternately, the milkshake spills or participants could throw the imaginary milkshake over each other.
  11. Motorcycle Starting
  12. Mouth Wide Open
  13. Nasal Laughter
  14. No-Sound Laughing, like Silent Laughter
  15. Open the Curtains: Go to your window and open the curtains, saying: “Hit me with all the sunlight you’ve got” while spreading arms wide open.
  16. Opera Singers: “We’re all fantastic opera singers.”
  17. Orchestra Conductor Laughter: Practice low volume, medium volume and loud laughter; conductor directs volume, intensity and tempo with hands and arms just as an orchestra conductor would direct music. The orchestra could be split into two or more sections. You could also invite ‘guest conductors’.
  18. Overhead laughter (Pick up a heavy weight on a high shelf and then almost fall back, arms outstretched, laughing)
  19. Paired Clapping: clap with another person’s hand along with one of your hands
  20. Party: while at a party you encounter someone you haven’t seen for fifteen years – hug and laugh.
  21. Paul’s Laugh: guffaw, chuckle and snort like a 3-year-old.
  22. Pee Laugh: you can’t pee here so cross your legs and laugh
  23. Penguin Walk
  24. Pigeon flying laughter (take off flying like a pigeon laughing, going up and down)
  25. Pigeon Laughter: act like a pigeon, puffing up, moving head and arms while walking around;

  1. Pigeon poop laughter: wipe imaginary pigeon poop off your clothes
  2. Plotting To Take Over the World Laughter: somewhat like Sinister, Evil or Villainous laughing
  3. Pound Your Chest Laugh
  4. Pull Down Oxygen Mask: three times laughing
  5. Pull Open the Curtains and let the sun shine on you while you laugh. Alternately, you could imagine that it’s a rainy day, there’s snow, the mailman just arrived, your new refrigerator is just now being delivered or that there are pink flamingos on your lawn.
  6. Put seatbelt on (3 times laughing ha ha ha ha ha)
  7. Quiet Laughter: as someone is sleeping in the adjoining room laugh very quietly so as to not awake the sleeping person. End with normal volume when the sleeper awakes and requests a good laugh. (Giggles; Cough; Evil/Sinister; 100/Newborn; left side of mouth).
  8. Rainy Day Laughter:
  9. Raising Hands Up Laughter: Observe whether it is easier to laugh with hands up or down. Point upwards; touch the sky; flap hands while they’re up.
  10. Roller Coaster Ride: 1. Low moan 2. Hands over head; shrill shriek; scream; laugh.
  11. Running Through Sprinklers with Cold Water or with water that is the ‘perfect temperature’.
  12. Santa Belly Laugh or Sanity Clause (Marx Bros) Laughter
  13. School House Burned Down: there’s no school tomorrow, you know what to do
  14. Serious Laughter, or Try To Be Serious Laughter: Talk with a straight face while trying to not smile or laugh.
  15. Shake Hands Laughter
  16. Shake Your Foot Laughter Caution: shake both feet simultaneously only when sitting or lying.
  17. sheep laughter (or woody-wood pecker laughter)
  18. Show fire exits (3 times laughing ho ho ho ho)
  19. Shy Laughter: Hide your face behind your palms and look sheepishly left and right towards other people, then laugh as if you are a shy person and you don’t want to draw attention to yourself or take up any space.
  20. Sign language laughter: chant ho ho pointing at yourself, then ha ha ha pointing at others and making sure index & hands are pointing down (not aggressive)
  21. Silent Laughter with Mouth Wide Open: look into others’ eyes and make funny gestures;
  22. Silly Laughter: goofy Laughter, helping us identify and confront our personal limitations and uneasiness in acting and appearing silly. Act like you did as a child and observe whether it is enjoyable and comfortable for you. Explore the absurd, the ridiculous and the unbelievable.
  23. Skipping Games Laughter: pick and rehearse a skipping rhyme
  24. Slow Motion Laughter: move very slowly while greeting people and shaking hands, laughing with slowed-down sound as if you had been filmed and the action is being played back in Slo-Mo.
  25. Sour Lemon Laughter:

  1. Sports Audience Reactions: at baseball, hockey, basketball games, tennis, football, volleyball etc.: the group responds to imaginary game events with cheers, sighs, oohs, ahhs, groans, derision, heckling, disappointment or elation.
  2. Standing Ovation: Direct everyone to stand. Declare a ‘standing ovation’ for yourself or for someone who wants one and lead everyone in clapping, cheering and laughing.
  3. Stand-up / Sit-Down Laugh: Stand up and smile; sit down with straight face (3–4X)
  4. Straw Laugh : give straws to hold sideways in mouth, held between teeth, while leader talks.
  5. Stuck Smile: your face is stuck in a smile pose, like Batman’s Joker; laughter is optional.
  6. Subway: Group stands in a clump and has a rough ride on a crowded subway, banging into each other and laughing (if participants have signed releases).
  7. Superhero Laughter: While breathing, spread out super-hero cape while spreading your hands up back and sideways, then hide your inner spirit of laughter as you reverse
  8. Swinging Laughter This has a lot of playfulness. All the members move outwards by two meters to widen the circle. On instruction from the anchor person people move forward by making a prolonged sound of Ae Ae- Aeeeee, simultaneously raising the hands and they all burst into laughter while meeting in the center and waving their hands. After the bout of laughter, they move back to their original position. The second time they move forward by saying Oh- Oooooo and burst into laughter.
  9. Tarzan Laughter:
  10. Tax-Free Laughter: 100% tax-free
  11. Telescope laughter (making imaginary binoculars with hands
  12. Throwing Football Laughter (and catching it or not catching it)
  13. Throwing Frisbee Laughter: (group or individual) If outside, laugh while actual frisbee is in the air, or, laugh while imaginary frisbee is in the air.
  14. Throwing Magic Laughter Dust: Die Laughing after being hit by Magic Laughter Dust or Magic Laughter Goo.
  15. Throwing Snowballs and Slushballs Laughter
  16. Toboggan Ride Laughter: Some people laugh when they hit a bump.
  17. Trampoline Laughter
  18. Triad Laughter: sing the notes of the musical triad, ascending and descending (do, mi, sol, do, sol, mi, do), using “ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha”
  19. Truck Driver Laugh: pretend to drive a big rig, honk your horn and let out hearty guffaws
  20. Trying to Get to The Ocean While Walking On Very Hot Sand Laughter
  21. Unconditional Laughter: “Two minutes of unconditional, thought-free laughter, 1.. 2.. 3 .. Go”
  22. Vowel Movement : laugh with “a, e, i, o, u and sometimes y”.
  23. Whisper Laughter
  24. Windmill laughter
  25. Winnie the Pooh Laughter, or Bouncing Tiger Laughter: put both hands together, palms down, ahead of chest.
  26. Winter Car Laughter: “chug chug ha ha” when starting a cold engine
  27. Wiping the Feet Laugh: When you were a kid and you ran through the house your parent yelled: “wipe your feet !” Back then you spread mud all over the kitchen floor and felt ashamed. Now you can finally laugh about it. Wipe your feet and laugh.

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So what did you think of these laughter yoga exercises? Join the discussion and leave a comment below!