Laughter Yoga and Barre Are New Ways to Stay Fit

Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years and has been a popular form of exercise for the past few decades. By now, there are dozens of spins on the ancient practice — everything from hot yoga, performed in hot and humid rooms, to hatha, which is focused on slow breathing. Though laughter yoga and barre might not be as well-known as some other forms, they’re certainly just as beneficial. If you’re looking to diversify your yoga routine, yogamn and Blooma, which share space in Plymouth, have you covered.

Laughter Yoga
Though we may laugh a lot, we rarely stop to think about the science behind it or the benefits that a good giggle fest can bring. Some studies suggest that the act of laughter has numerous positive effects, both physiological and psychological. And, since the body can’t tell the difference between spontaneous and forced laughter, even faking a few ha-has could improve your well-being.

That’s the idea behind yogamn’s monthly laughter yoga meditation classes. “Laughter yoga is a way to practice intentional laughing,” says Ally de Lange, studio manager at yogamn. “This meditative practice doesn’t involve any stretchy, bendy poses but fun, practical exercises to practice laughing out loud. It is different from traditional yoga classes in that way, not physical movement and stretching of the body as a whole, but of the mind primarily.”

There’s no need for special yoga mats, workout gear or even a sharp sense of humor—all you have to bring is yourself, a desire to try something new and perhaps a willingness to look a little silly for a while. “Anyone is a perfect candidate for laughter yoga meditation,” says de Lange.

Jeff Sonnek is a laughter yoga regular. He appreciates feeling at ease both in mind and body. During one class, “I came in with a little sciatica pain, and when the class was over, it was gone,” he says. "It's a total distraction from the ups and downs of life. It will get you breathing deeply and your circulation will be revved up!"

Barre has quickly become a major fitness trend, which could perhaps be a sign of the times. In our digital age, many of us spend the majority of our waking hours hunched over at a desk staring at screens. Barre, which fuses elements of yoga, Pilates and ballet to target and strengthen muscle groups, can be a great corrective.

Blooma, a women- and family-focused yoga studio with locations throughout the metro, hosts barre classes at yogamn’s studio in Plymouth. Founder Sarah Longacre says the partnership works perfectly. “We have our certain demographic that we really focus on, and they've got their clientele who are absolutely loyal through and through, so it's a really great partnership and support for many different stages of life.”

Like their yoga offerings, barre classes are baby-friendly, so you can squeeze in a solid workout without having to hire a sitter—there’s even a baby-wearing barre class in which caregivers perform the exercises with their baby in a carrier.

Yet, despite the maternity focus, Blooma’s classes are always open to anyone. “This is an open space for anyone and all to come and celebrate whatever yoga practice they're looking for,” Longacre says. “We kind of have it all under one roof, and we love doing it together in this partnership.”