Oklahoma Outreach Sober School students embrace laughter yoga

Students at the Oklahoma Outreach Sober School say laughter yoga class is a fun way to relieve stress. Instructors hope it might help diffuse temptation in the future.
BY TRICIA PEMBERTON Published: November 18, 2010

She said some participants have come to class with migraines and left without pain. Others have reported it's helped them in their social lives.

Samantha, 16, said she initially didn't want to participate in the class this week because she wasn't feeling well.

“I didn't want to do it today at all, but afterward it makes you happy,” she said.

Tina Barker, teacher and director at the school, said she's always looking for new techniques to help her students relieve tension and deal with their issues.

Since school started this year she's led the students through a meditation series each morning. She's also tried having them draw mandalas, a sacred art form used in many Eastern religions to help the artist focus and reach a deeper level of consciousness. She's taught different breathing techniques and is exploring a method called Journey to the Wild Divine, which claims to teach adherents to control their brains.

“When working with individuals, you have to try different techniques to find whatever is going to work for them,” she said.

Recently, she found laughter yoga, and it's been popular with her students, she said.

“I realized, I could have gone all day without laughing,” she said. “This lets your brain change your mood.”