Lakshmi Srinivas, Bangalore, India: Laughter Yoga happened in my life in an amazing way with a phone call from Dr. Madan Kataria about 5 years ago, when I used to work as a freelance editor. I had the opportunity to edit Dr. Madan Kataria’s book, “Laugh For No Reason”, for a revised edition. That was my first time knowledge about the how and what of Laughter Yoga.
A few months ago, I resumed working for Dr. Kataria and Laughter Yoga, in the editorial section. I was working for Dr. Kataria for more than a year and had to quit following a serious health condition. Three years later, when things changed I wrote to him asking him if there is something I could do for him. And he promptly replied and asked me to manage the content on his website, www.laughteryoga.org. All this time, I enriched my theoretical knowledge about Laughter Yoga.
It was during the All India Laughter Yoga Conference, LAFF-2009 in Bangalore that for the first time, I had the opportunity of witnessing live testimonials – most participants were seniors from all over the country – and they shared their experiences with Laughter Yoga and the unbelievable health benefits that they have received by the continuous practice of Laughter Yoga. After going through a harrowing 5-week stay in a hospital 3 years ago, I realized that with Laughter Yoga, I will be able to live life medication-free which was my life’s only desire.
The testimonials I witnessed at the LAFF-2009 was a strong motivation for me to start practising Laughter Yoga. At the end of the conference, I told my boss, Dr. Kataria, that I want to learn to practice Laughter Yoga and that I would really want to learn it from the source, himself. And he graciously allowed me to participate in the next Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher Training program. And today, I am a Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher leading my own laughter club, Panorama Laughter Club in Bangalore. By making Laughter Yoga a way of life, I feel empowered now, to be able to live life with lesser or no medication, having realized the positive health benefits it brings.
There was another reason for me to take the training. The area where I live does not have a social laughter club nearby. And I wanted my mother to attend one – that made me start my own laughter club. The reason being, my mother has been a diabetic for over 20 years now, and is regularly monitored by her medical practitioner. Although she is on medication, her blood sugar levels are always above limits which is of serious concern. In fact, a major dental treatment has been deferred till her sugar levels come down, and this has not happened in a long time. After LAFF-2009, I was convinced that Laughter Yoga can address this issue. She soon started attending my laughter club almost every single day, and in the last two weeks her sugar levels are lowering. For some years, my mother thought that there is nothing that can be done despite the fact that she has changed the doctors and the medication and sticks to her diet and exercise regimen as well. The only new factor is her daily practice of Laughter Yoga for 15-20 minutes which has remarkably helped her condition.
Though Laughter is not very well known in my community, today I have over 20 people in my laughter club with new members coming in every day. I started the Panorama Laughter Club in Bangalore, on 15th February, 2010 - exactly a month after I completing my Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher training. The club meets from 11.30 am to noon on week days for warm-up, laughter exercises and laughter chanting. On Saturdays we do the same but start at 8 am. On Sundays, we do the complete Laughter Yoga session with deep breathing and guided relaxation. The new members invariably tell me at the end of the session they feel very good and positive for the rest of the day. Since I started my laughter club, I feel so much more wanted. There is a group of people, mostly housewives, who look forward to the laughter sessions. In effect, it is the joy, health benefits and other positive changes that brings them back everyday.
Ho Ho Ha Ha Ha Ho Ho Ha Ha Ha
Everyone benefits with Laughter Yoga – you can be a passive participant!
One of the regular brings her 14-month-old daughter along. The very first day the little one was at the laughter club, she kept crying when any one looked at her. I told the mom not to worry as the child will soon get used to us. A couple of days later, the mom said that whenever she mentioned Laughter Club, the little girl would say ho ho ha ha. We noticed that the kid started enjoying herself in the laughter club. Such is the effect of Laughter Yoga with so much positive energy being generated.