In March 1995, a physician was working on writing an article “Laughter – the best medicine” for a health journal. The name of the physician was Dr Madan Katari and as he researched his article he came across studies that pointed to immense benefits of laughter. Impressed by what he had found he decided to test it to see if it would really work. He managed to convince four other friends to help him with this experiment.
On 7 am March 13 Dr. Madan Kataria and his four friends assembled in a park in the neighborhood and began by telling each other jokes. In just a few days the word spread and the group quickly grew to 50 people. The technique was that the group would stand in a circle and one person would move to the center and tell a joke and the rest would laugh. But they quickly ran into a snag. As the stock of jokes diminished, poor tasteless jokes surfaced that offended more than humored. The group faced dissolution as members threatened to quit. Dr. Kataria asked for one more day to see if he could solve the problem.
As he researched for a solution he got a breakthrough insight. He realized that the body could not tell the difference between real and fake laughter. The group would simply do away with telling jokes. Instead they would simply just laugh. Next day when he explained this to skeptical members of the group. But since they were all standing there, they gave it a shot and remarkable results followed. The initial fake laughter soon turned into genuine laughter and everybody felt that they were on to something. This breakthrough was the birth of Laughter Yoga.
Soon under the guidance of Dr. Kataria, the group developed formal “laughter exercises”. These exercises are designed to evoke laughter without the need for any cognitive thought. The success of this first “Laughter club” led it to spread like wild fire. As per Wikepedia there are now more than 8000 laughter clubs in 65 countries.
The benefits of laughter are immense. Spending 10-15 minutes in the morning at a laughter club can help relieve stress and get you in a good mood for the day ahead. Laughter can combat depression and anxiety and aid in alleviating symptoms of many ailments. When stress levels go down internal healing processes kick in and the immune system is also strengthened. Dr. Kataria’s web site states that this helps with many ailments such as: hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, depression, arthritis, allergies, asthma, bronchitis, backache, fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, menstrual disorders, cancer and many others.
So are you ready to take the plunge and laugh? Here is where you can find a laughter club near you. These clubs are free and anybody can participate. If there is no club conveniently located you can start one.
You may also like: Superbrain Yoga