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Laughter Yoga with Commandos

I took a morning flight from Indore, halting briefly at Mumbai, which touched Bengaluru by noon.

As I came out of the arrival gate, a pleasant surprise, which I had not dreamt of, overwhelmed me. I shall write about it in a separate blog sometime later, not now, as it is a different subject matter altogether.

We proceeded to theLaughterYogaUniversity; just about 20 minutes drive from the airport. Dr Madan Kataria, the Laughter Guru, whom I adored, was here. I touched his feet and he introduced me to his young team.

Before I could settle down, he said, “We will have lunch now and then, within an hour, we are leaving for an interesting assignment – Laughter Yoga with the Commandos!”

The Centre for Counter Terrorism was a couple of hours drive from the university.

Over a cup of tea, the trainers there told us, “The commandos are here for training. They have a strict routine. They get up at 5 am and go to bed only after 11 pm. The whole day they have strenuous physical activity as well as theory classes. They feel a lot of stress, fatigue and are sleep deprived.”

We were taken to an indoor shooting range where 30 commandos were waiting for us.

Dr K greeted them with laughter and said, “We know that you are going through a very tough routine. You don’t get enough sleep. The physical activities you do the whole day are exhausting. You are away from your loved ones and being combat ready at all times drains away all the energy.”

The commandos felt that here is someone who understands their plight and empathizes with them. They were now willing to listen.
Dr K said, ”We are here to show you ways to relax, build stamina and be happy!”

We then had an out of the world experience of laughter yoga and meditation for more than an hour. The commandos were all smiles. Fully relaxed!

Each one wanted to shake hands with Dr K. We could feel the gratitude in their eyes. The tough exterior of the commandos had melted and the child within was visible all around.

We too felt blessed and realized that we owe a lot more to them.

On our way back, Dr K shared, “How fulfilling this experience has been! I am feeling really good.”

He continued, “We had conducted a session with the commandos earlier too but this time it was something different. We shall not leave it mid-way. We shall depute one of our teachers here for as long as they want who will also train their trainers to conduct laughter and breathing exercises.”

Dr K spoke to their superintendent and sent one of our star laughter yoga teachers, Vinayak, to be with them all along the day for a couple of days.

Vinayak was with them from early morning till late night. Whenever the group energy drooped, he shared some laughter and breathing exercises. The effect was magical.

The trainers told us that the commandos were now more willing to learn, responded cheerfully to their commands and shared a lot of positive energy as a team.

They laughed during breaks, doing their own versions of the laughter exercises and would allow Vinayak to leave the place.

(Thank you, Vinayak, for the splendid efforts! We are looking forward to a blog with a detailed account of the experiences you had there which you alone can share.)