Fun intended

Laughter sessions

Fun intended

Charles Dickens rightly said, ‘There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humour’. But with the busy lifestyle that one leads today, it seems like we need to be constantly reminded to laugh. With ‘World Yoga Day’ just round the corner, trying out laughter yoga seems just apt. After all, laughter is considered to be the best medicine.

Yeshoda Gopalakrishnan, a homemaker, has been a part of laughter clubs for a couple of years now. She happily claims to have received many benefits from this therapy. “It’s usually a group of 25 people coming together at the park and laughing out loud. It may seem silly to onlookers but it’s definitely the best therapy. I am so energetic after an hour of breathing, stretching and laughing exercises,” says Yeshoda. She hasn’t been able to attend the sessions lately but she continues to practise at home.

“Today, even the simple act of smiling seems like a hectic job. But by making this an exercise routine, you’ll realise how much your body needed that kind of relaxation. It’s very contagious too,” adds Yeshoda. The founder of ‘Laughter Yoga Movement’, Dr Madan Kataria, also opines that this is one of the best ways to de-stress these days. He says, “Our body really can’t make out the difference between a real and a fake laugh, that’s why you should laugh as much as you can. You will definitely find an improvement in your immune system.”

Laughing together is a way of meeting new people one probably wouldn’t otherwise. It also helps one stay positive in life. Madan explains, “Laughter is a life-changing experience which many don’t realise. All you need to be is more extrovert so that you can laugh out loud without worrying about other things. Being in a group will make you feel less conscious and healthier in return.”

Having said that, there are certain aspects to laughing loudly that one should remember. Mohit Sharma, a counselling psychologist explains, “Laughing does have a certain set of benefits but it can also be a hindrance to talking about real issues. When you laugh, you think it’s more of an acceptable form than crying or sulking. So when you’re putting on a smiling face, it could lead to a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation about one’s emotional state at the time.” Nevertheless, one can find that balance in order to laugh like they mean it.

Standup comedian, Sanjay Manaktala, says that sometimes even comedians need a good laugh to relax. “I met my college friends after many years and we laughed like we were 18. That’s when I realised what it was like to laugh — I didn’t even know that I had forgotten how to! So I think we do need to let go of everything at times, just so our body relaxes,” he states.

He also says that screaming is a good way to relieve stress. “It’s not practical to burst out laughing everytime but I’ve realised that you can also scream when you’re frustrated.” That’s probably why it’s said, ‘Laughter is an instant vacation!’ Need we say more?

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