The Laughing Yogi’s Recipe for Happiness

By Abby Hurst, Vice President of U.S. Programs

When buildOn constructs schools in Nepal, yoga is a required activity for all students and staff members, often beginning as early as 6:30am and lasting over an hour. It’s a physically demanding start to the day, but our urban youth and staff teams have again and again risen to the challenge.

I was in Nepal earlier this year and got to experience this firsthand. The sun would be rising over the hills as the mist began to burn off, and we would embark morning after morning on a crazy journey of dancing, stretching, straining, breathing and chanting in Nepali. Our instructor gave lengthy explanations for all the ailments and potential cures for each position; it was as much a mental exercise as a physical one. I’m sure a lot was lost in translation but we all sat patiently and tried to really appreciate the surreal nature of the moment. Often times host family members would join us in the morning ritual and there was always lots of laughter as we unsuccessfully tried to contort our bodies and balance in precarious ways. Most of the buildOn students had never done yoga in the U.S, so this was a new and unusual experience right from the start.

Our  instructor’s recommendation for a healthy/happy life:

– Eat 1/2 as much food

– Drink 2x as much water

– Do 3x as much yoga

– Laugh 4x as much.

In the video above, our yogi demonstrates a series of laughing exercises that one can follow to achieve his recipe for happiness. I really think the world would be a much better place if we followed this simple advice. Seriously, who can argue with more laughter in this world?