Mrs. Rajinder Walia has just returned from Bangalore where she completed a Laughter Yoga training course from the master, Dr. Madan Kataria.
Laughter has no language, knows no boundaries, and does not discriminate between caste, creed, or colour. Laughter is a powerful emotion and has all the ingredients for uniting the entire world. A global community is growing that believes in Love, Laughter, Compassion, Appreciation and Forgiveness.
Mrs. Walia has headed the Nairobi Academy Kindergarten for the last 22 years and watched young children laughing for no reason. They don’t have to tell jokes or have a sense of humor; they simply laugh. She further realized how little older children and adults laugh.
One day she Googled “laughter” and came upon a photo of Dr. Madan Kataria, who founded the Laughing Yoga club in Mumbai, India in 1995. After several emails and telephone calls, Mrs. Walia learnt that he would be holding a teacher training course in Bangalore in January. She jumped at the opportunity, and is now the first person in East Africa to have done this. There are several clubs in South Africa, but none in East Africa.
Over the past two decades, extensive research all over the world has shown that laughter has a positive impact on various systems of the body. Laughter helps to alleviate the negative effects of stress, today’s number one killer. More than 70 percent of illnesses, such as 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, are somehow related to stress.
Laughter is an expression of happiness, and it seems that most people are not happy with their lives. We cannot depend upon a sense of humour to create laughter, since humour is a phenomenon of the intellect, the mind. Moreover, humour is unique to the individual and their culture, and it varies from person to person. There may be few reasons for us to smile and laugh, while there are many reasons for us to be sad, depressed and frustrated. The million dollar question is: How can we laugh and who will make us laugh?
Mrs. Walia’s goal in Laughter Yoga is to make a difference in the lives of students, adults, the elderly and the developmentally challenged. She has been conducting yoga classes in the style of Swami Ramdevjee at the SSD Temple for the past three years, and those who attend have asked her to include Laughter Yoga once a week. She has organised a demonstration class for people from various professional backgrounds to gauge how this innovative discipline might be implemented into our society. Her dream is to have Laughter Clubs all over Kenya, not just Nairobi.
If you would like more information about Laughter Yoga, kindly contact Mrs. Walia and she will be more than glad to talk about it.
Mrs. Raj Walia