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The Concept

Over the past two decades, extensive research has been conducted all over the world and it has been proved that laughter has a positive impact on various systems of the body. Laughter helps to remove the negative effects of STRESS, which is the number one killer today. More than 70% of illnesses like high blood pressure, heart disease, anxiety, depression, frequent coughs and colds, peptic ulcers, insomnia, allergies, asthma, menstrual difficulties, tension headaches, stomach upsets and even cancer, have some relations to stress. It has also been proved beyond a shadow of doubt that laughter helps to boost the immune system, which is the master key for maintaining good health.

People have forgotten How to laugh : Scientists are convinced that laughter has both preventive and therapeutic value. According to a study done by Dr. Micheal Titze, a German Psychologist, ‘‘In the 1950's people used to laugh 18 minutes a day, but today we laugh not more than 6 minutes per day, despite the huge rises in the standard of living.’’ Children can laugh up to 300-400 times in a day, but when we grow into adults this frequency comes down to just 15 times a day.

How to laugh and who will make you laugh : Jokes can't make you laugh every day and a sense of humour is not everyone's cup of tea. The million-dollar question is how to laugh and who will make you laugh? Here is a breakthrough! For the first time Dr. Madan Kataria, a Mumbai (India) - based physician has developed a new technique: free group laughter based on yoga (Hasya Yoga). Anyone can participate in group laughter, every day for 15-20 minutes, without resorting to jokes. Each laughter session starts with deep breathing and a Ho-Ho, Ha-Ha exercise, followed by a variety of stimulated laughter techniques like hearty laughter, silent laughter, medium laughter, lion laughter, swinging laughter, one meter laughter, cocktail laughter, gradient laughter and many others.

It is not difficult to laugh without a reason : Self-induced, stimulated laughter can easily be converted into real laughter when you do it in a group. Laughter is infectious, laughter is contagious and it spreads when you laugh in company and have good eye contact. We have all laughed without a reason when we were children. Children can laugh for no reason because they have very few inhibitions. The very essence of laughing without a reason lies in developing your child-like spirit and playful attitude. If you can do that, laughter will come to you with great ease.

Philosophy of ‘Fake it Until you Make it ’: There is sufficient data available from medical research to show that even if you pretend to laugh or act happy your body produces happiness chemicals. According to the principles of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) whether you laugh spontaneously at a joke or a situation, or if you stimulate laughter (with willingness), it is still a form of exercise. Therefore, whatever may be the source of laughter it leads to the same set of physiological changes occurring in our bodies. The idea of Laughter clubs is based on this philosophy of acting happiness. Another theory is called motion creates emotions. If you put your body into an act of happiness, your mind will follow.

Willingness Factor : The most important factor in a Laughter Club is your WILLINGNESS TO LAUGH. Though the members of laughter clubs laugh out voluntarily, it is with full commitment and willingness. If you are not willing to laugh, nobody in this world can make you laugh. On the other hand, if you are willing to laugh and give yourself permission to laugh nobody can stop you from laughing. You don't even need any reason to laugh.

Laughter yoga activates laugh muscles : Yogic laughter exercise is not a SUBSTITUTE for the spontaneous laughter which we get throughout the day. As a matter of fact it helps to increase our capacity to laugh during the day. According to another research study, if you stretch your laugh muscles on a regular basis it will make them respond more spontaneously whenever there is something amusing. Group laughter exercises help the members to reduce their inhibitions which enables them to laugh more often.

Laughter and its yoga connection : A typical laughter session is a blend of yogic deep breathing, stretching, stimulated laughter exercises and cultivating child-like playfulness. The whole concept of group laughter exercises is based on yoga, which produces a unique physiological balance in our bodies, by connecting body, mind and spirit.

World Peace : the Mantra for the New Millennium : There is war in the world because we are at war within ourselves. If we can bring peace inside us there will be peace outside. If we can bring peace inside us by practising yogic laughter and following ways and means of sensible living and these Laughter Clubs multiply all over the world, there will be everlasting peace on this planet.

To learn more about Laughter Yoga and Dr Madan Kataria : www.laughteryoga.org

Yogic Laughter - a Breakthrough!