I was born and raised in India but have been living in Japan for the last 33 years. I came across an article on Laughter Yoga somewhere in late 90’s. Few weeks later, I saw a TV program which showed people laughing loudly and doing ‘funny’ exercises in a park in Mumbai. It was something really crazy but within five minutes I was laughing uncontrollably while watching the show. I was laughing as I used to laugh in my childhood. It brought back memories of my mother who had a hearty and unrestricted laughter. We loved to spend time with her as much as possible. Years rolled by, I taught in a college in India and then came to Japan for research in 1979 and got settled here.
My second encounter with Laughter Yoga was at our NPO Center about three years ago. We had invited a Japanese Laughter Yoga teacher and had a brief session of laughter with her. It was a lot of fun and I felt a strong urge to laugh more and more and also make people laugh around me.
There were two reasons for me to think about laughter seriously.
My health has been declining due to over work. In 2011 my mom passed away and her last words to me were, “You’ve got everything in life, caring family, booming career, but you don’t look healthy or happy. You remember to do everything, but have forgotten the most important thing in your life - Laughter.”
I feel people no matter the age group, they don’t laugh. And I thought how nice it will be if I can laugh together with my students, friends or with anyone. Many people live alone and have no chance to talk and laugh.
Highly inspired, I was all set to go to Bangalore to learn Laughter Yoga by Dr. Madan Kataria but the night before I had a small accident. I hurt my leg and was unable to walk. Though my husband and son asked me to postpone my trip, the next day I was on board with my unbearable pain! I finished the course with all smiles and laughter and once back in Japan I underwent a thorough treatment for my injury. Despite the fact that it will take a long time to recover fully, I started our social laughter club and when we all meet and laugh together I forget all my pains and aches.
I am thankful to Dr. Kataria and Laughter Yoga to give me a chance to reset my life style. I learnt from him not only Laughter Yoga but also how to be a good teacher and excel in my career, how to work efficiently in groups and above all how to remain connected with my inner self. After practicing Laughter Yoga just for two months, everything seems so different; I feel more energetic, calmer, and can handle my life and work more efficiently even with a limping leg... ha ha. It was a life changing and soul searching experience. I went there for two reasons and within two months I found my health conditions improving and I was also able to make people around me laugh and be joyful.