Fundamentals of 'LAUGHTER YOGA'.

Laughing is very important for health:

The most important principle behind Laughter Yoga or the most significant driving force behind the several Laughter Clubs is the theory that Motion Creates Emotion. Quite a few people wonder how a person can laugh when he is in no mood to laugh or when one doesn’t have any reason to laugh. However, the answer is very simple. For, there is a well established link between the body and the mind. Whatever happens to the mind happens to the body as well. This is easily understood and observed too. If a person is sad or depressed, his body also appears quite lifeless and sluggish. Such a person doesn’t walk or talk enthusiastically. But, what most people fail to understand is that the opposite is also true.

Whatever happens to the body also happens to the mind. I remember my father once telling me, “Son, if you are sad or feeling a bit low, don’t sit idle. Keep doing some physical work or go for a walk or do some jogging or go out to play some cricket or football . You’ll feel better.” And most of the times dad was proved correct. I would start feeling better quite soon. In an unhappy state of mind, if we bring ourselves to behaving or acting happy, soon enough we will start feeling light-hearted and chirpy indeed!

So, Laughter Yoga aims to use the two-way body-mind link to change the state of mind through voluntary physical gestures which include repetitive clapping, chanting, specific body movements along with laughter and breathing exercises. The result is so positive and its effects are so powerful that the modern world today has witnessed Laughter Yoga overcome severe and chronic depression in thousands of people right across the globe. In fact, several Laughter Clubs have adopted the motto, “If your Mind can’t laugh, bring your Body to our club.”

Laughter is all about playfulness. Have you ever wondered why children laugh 300 to 400 times a day whereas adults would consider themselves very fortunate if they manage laughter 10 to 15 times in a day? This is because of that seriously wicked and interfering tool called the brain! Adult use their brains or minds first to comprehend humour and then decide if they have to laugh. Very often, they suffer from what is said in Hindi the LKK Syndrome, that is “Log Kya Kahenge” or “What will people say?” This is called the “Mind-to-Body Model of Humour”.

On the other hand, children, who do not allow themselves to be too affected by the LKK Syndrome and don’t use their brain to seriously do the comprehension first, laugh the most while playing. Even if they fall into mud and slime while playing, they laugh heartily together without bothering about the consequences of soiling their spotlessly white school dress in case of a traditionally strict class teacher or headmistress in school or mother at home! Their laughter comes straight from the body and happily they don’t make use of intellectual capacity of the brain for it. Very clearly, they exhibit the “Body-to-Mind Model of Humour”, It is this childlike playfulness that Laughter Yoga aims at cultivating in people who are quite stressed these days.

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What is sadly significant is the fact that more and more children and even women, to whom smiles and laughter and giggling should come as naturally as the turtle coming out of its shell to walk or leaves falling in autumn, are enrolling themselves as members of laughter clubs nowadays!

Laughter Yoga makes a clear distinction between Happiness and Joy. Happiness is a conditional response of the mind which is totally dependent on the fulfilment of certain desires of the mind. By its very nature, it is related to how one’s life had been in the past or how it will be in the future! It is not there at all in the present moment. The ironical and sad fact is that even if some dreams, goals or aspirations are fulfilled, happiness disappears quite quickly as the mind starts chasing new goalposts-a new, job, a new house, a bigger car, etc.

On the other hand, joyfulness is the unconditional commitment to be happy each moment, to have fun for the moment, despite the problems and challenges of life, no matter how insurmountable they seem to the mind. It is the promise that the Body makes to the mind to indulge in playfulness moment by moment and thereby give relaxation to it. During these periods of playfulness triggered by a plethora of physical activities like dancing, singing, playing and laughing, physiological and biochemical changes take place within our body that give us a sense of well-being that completely alters a negative outlook towards life and its challenges replacing it with confident positivism moment by moment.

Therefore, in Laughter Clubs, members develop positive conditioning of joy. By laughing together over a period of time, clapping in a rhythm ,chanting “Ho Ho Ha Ha” in unison and positive affirmations like ” Very Good Very Good Yay Yay”, the brain develops new neuronal connections to produce happy neuropeptides and hormones in the body that rejuvenate the members.

Finally, Laughter Yoga rectifies shallow and irregular breathing, which is the direct consequence of stress and negative mental state. According to Dr. Otto Warburg, a Nobel Laureate, one of the main reasons for falling sick is the lack of oxygen in the body cells due to incorrect breathing. So, let us laugh together and get the oxygen back into our cells!

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