Madeleine L’Engle says, ‘A good laugh heals a lot of hurts’. As we celebrate Christmas and welcome the New Year, let’s revive our laughter, the most natural and easiest way to stay happy and healthy.
To know more about the health benefits of laughter, we spoke to
Vitthal and Suman Kate, who head Nav Chaitanya Hasya Yoga Parivar, a chain of laughter clubs, in the city.
We know about yoga. But what is laughter yoga?
Vitthal: The basic concept of laughter yoga is that just like physical exercise is necessary to keep the body healthy, you need to exercise for a healthy mind as well. Laughter yoga helps you do that.
Unless you have a healthy mind, you cannot achieve total good health. In laughter yoga, we perform different set of actions combined with yogasanas, which may seem odd, but are in fact good for our body.
What are the different techniques of laughter yoga?
Suman: At our laughter club, we perform 50 different types of laughter yogasanas, which have been formulated by both of us after attending various seminars and meetings. To name a few — ‘Lassi Hasya’, ‘Birthday cake Hasya’, ‘Tu tu main main Hasya’ — which align with the various postures of Surya Namaskar, and exercises all our body parts. In our clubs specifically, we have combined exercise, pranayam and laughter yoga. Together, they are effective for good health.
What are its benefits?
Suman: Laughter yoga increases our resistance power and vitality. Basically, when we laugh, a stress-releasing hormone called endorphine is secreted in our brain which acts as a tonic for the internal organs. It gushes through the 72,000 nadis in our body, improving blood circulation and oxygen intake capacity, thus relieving us of stress and depression.
Also regular exercise along with laughter yoga can control diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disorders, respiratory tract disorders like asthama, joint and muscle pain. It is as good as internal jogging. Also early morning exercise keeps you fresh and energetic throughout the day.
How do you make people laugh technically, without the element of humour?
Vitthal: Humour is short-lived. Also the duration of laughter in humour is for a very short span of time. When people laugh in a group, initially it is indeed mechanical, but eventually it becomes natural, without the members realising it.
You can exercise alone, but you cannot laugh alone. It is the influence of the group activity that enables members to laugh even without humour. As the members follow our instructions, they get into the flow of laughing.
How do laughter clubs act as a medium of sound health?
Vitthal: They help you socialise. Nowadays, there are smaller families, and the elderly people feel lonely. Laughter club helps them interact with others who are in similar situations and make them feel less lonely.
What message would you like to give to people for a healthy life?
Suman: Not many people are able to devote time to physical training because of a hectic lifestyle. Hence more people are becoming prone to various diseases and disorders at a very early age. Young people should give at least 30 minutes for their fitness throughout the day, as their schedule permits. If they are fit, only then can they enjoy the comforts earned out of money.
And, senior citizens should not sit at home and enjoy their pension. We owe a debt to the society that needs to be paid back. So come forward to contribute for the betterment of the society in any way you can. Also, remain active to stay in good health.