A new form of yoga is sweeping the world from its home in Mumbai India. Laughter Yoga has gained hundreds of thousands of followers in more than 50 countries in just 10 years. What is laughter yoga and why are all these people laughing?
It started 10 years ago when Indian medical doctor Madan Kataria decided he must find a way to prescribe laughter to his patients.
Modern medical research into the effects of laughter on the human body showed that laughter was extremely beneficial to our health and mental wellbeing. Ancient Ayurvedic and yogic wisdom said that laughter was essential to good health and mental wellbeing.
It was clear that laughter is a powerful medicine that can help treat a wide range of mental and physical illness and conditions. Dr Kataria searched for a solution to the problem: how to prescribe laughter to people who needed it?
In a now-famous flash of inspiration that has become known as Dr Kataria’s Ha Ha, A-ha, he decided to form a laughter club where a group of people could laugh together every day and explore ways to deliver laughter to those that needed it. On 13 March 1995 he gathered together his wife and three others for the world’s first laughter yoga session in a public park in Mumbai.
They met daily to laugh in the public park. They started by telling each other jokes to make themselves laugh. After each session they felt wonderful, happy and full of energy, but after a few weeks they ran out of fresh jokes. Struggling to find new material, some jokes started to become hurtful and even offensive. The club started losing members but Dr Kataria decided to search for a way to continue the laughter without using humor.
Dr Kataria and his yoga teacher wife Madhuri began to develop laughter exercises incorporating yogic breathing exercises and exploring ways to laugh without jokes or humor. These were tested in daily sessions and with perseverance and inspiration laughter yoga was born.
As jokes and humor were no longer needed the laughter club became more focused and effective. It attracted crowds of onlookers (look at those crazies laughing for no reason – why are they laughing --- what’s so funny?) but word got out about how good it made you feel more people joined, more clubs were started. Today there are thousands of laughter clubs meeting daily across India.
Laughter yoga approaches laughter as a body exercise. In fact it’s a great aerobic workout and leaves your body and major organs oxygenated and bursting with energy. It’s also nature’s depression & stress buster --- a 20 minute laughter yoga can reduce your stress levels by 75%. It leaves you with a positive outlook on life and when you’re looking at the world through rose tinted glasses, it really does seem a better place.
Today laughter yoga is practiced daily by hundreds of thousands of people in more than 50 countries. Laughter yoga is arriving in public parks, yoga studios, fitness clubs, schools, companies, hotels and government offices around the world.
Laughter yoga has been featured by CNN, Time Magazine and major media around the world. Dr Kataria is kept busy training ever more laughter yoga leaders and teachers and finding ways to deliver courses in more countries and more languages.
Try laughter yoga for free in more than 5,000 laughter yoga clubs around the world, or pay a small fee for the convenience of laughing in your yoga or fitness center or workplace.