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Bradford woman spreading joy with ‘Laughter Yoga’

Cathy Nesbitt says both bean sprouts and Laughter Yoga take us to our happy places, both mentally and digestively
Cathy Nesbitt laughter yoga
Cathy Nesbitt teaches Laughter Yoga online Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m.

Laughter or beans are the best medicine.

Vermiculturist Cathy Nesbitt believes both bean sprouts and Laughter Yoga take us to our happy places, both mentally and digestively.

Celebrating 20 years with her Cathy’s Crawly Composters, the 59-year-old worm rancher has a new hobby and a lot to say on Laughter Yoga and why it works to help lessen our stress and improve our overall health.

“Laughter Yoga is not about fancy pants or poses. It’s intentional laughter exercises designed to make us feel good. When we’re laughing, we’re secreting the love drugs,” Nesbitt said.

Laughter Yoga was started in 1995 by Dr. Madan Kataria of India. Nesbitt said his goal was to bring about world peace through laughter. Now 26 years in, it’s a global movement with Laughter Yoga clubs around the world.

“I don’t have a separation between my life and work; it’s just worms and laughter and sprouts,” she said, with a laugh – as most things she says are.

That’s because Nesbitt believes laughing is a cardiovascular work out. In a human’s physiology, she points out that the diaphragm is connected to our internal organs, so a few ‘ho, hos’ or ‘ha, has’ exercises more than just our senses of humour.  

“As soon as we smile even, we send a note to our brain ‘hey I must be happy’ and we start secreting the love drugs; dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins,” she said. “I joke but we are in charge of our own pharma. When we’re stressed we secret cortisol and we’re really stressed during this (COVID) time.”

As a teacher of Laughing Yoga leaders, Nesbitt said her research shows the human brain doesn’t recognize a difference between real and simulated laughter.

“That’s the magic piece about this laughter thing. When we’re laughing, our brain or ego might be like ‘stop it, this is weird, what’s happening?’ If it’s your first time, it might feel weird – but break through that discomfort. The magic is on the other side of your comfort zone.”

When she’s not laughing, she’s tending her worm farm or growing bean sprouts. With a dinner-plate sized hydroponic germinator, Nesbitt grows sprouts in roughly a day, saying they offer 100 times more digestive enzymes than raw vegetables.

While she is still using and selling worms to help biodegrade organic kitchen waste to help stave off climate change, she said she’s happy demonstrating Laughing Yoga classes to corporations, school children and online clubs alike.

For a laugh, visit for a free online Laughing Yoga class Tuesday mornings at 9:30 a.m.