Metrolife: LOL. It’s great for your health

Ashwin Patil (in blue kurta) conducts laughter yoga sessions.Image courtesy: Ashwin Patil

A hearty laugh can change things, say people in the laughter and wellness businesses. And many people in Bengaluru are going all out systematically to incorporate laughter into their lives.

Ashwin Patil, certified laughter yoga teacher, Dhyaana School of Wellbeing, says laughter aids the sense of being happy. 

“I was already impressed by the world of yoga when I came across laughter yoga. Science has proved that children between six months and six years laugh at least 300 times a day, compared to adults who laugh a maximum of just five to six times a day. This clearly means when our intellect grows, we are more stressed out,” he says. 

He recommends laughing even without the help of jokes or videos. 

“It is an exercise that should be done regularly. In laughter sessions, people laugh in a group so that the fake laughter turns into real laughter,” he says.

One has to laugh for at least 15 minutes a day, which is why it is practised as a ritual, he explains. “Our group is dominated by those between 30 and 45. When I am taking community classes, I see a lot of elderly people too,” he adds.

Many ask him if fake laughter helps. “The answer is yes. Science has proven that our minds differentiate between a fake laugh and a real one but our body can’t. When one laughs, happy hormones called endorphins are released and after some time our mind is convinced it is real as the parasympathetic nervous system gets activated,” he says.

Jhanvi Saresh K, a wellbeing expert, says laughter is important for various reasons, “Endorphins keep one’s mood right. The release of T-cells is affected by laughter. These are responsible for our immunity. When one’s system is attacked by disease, these cells help combat the virus,” he says.

She adds, “A recent survey points out that one in four Indians is stressed out and the most surfed question is ‘How to get rid of stress?’ The easiest way is to just laugh.”

SUNDEEP RAO, full-time comedian

“Laughter can be divided into three types. There is the gut-wrenching laughter which cannot be controlled, like when one falls. It is instantaneous and is about poking fun at someone. Then there is laughter which breaks the tension. This is more common, as there are often different people who come together to laugh and this is really satisfying for a comedian. Then there is the situation when 50 per cent of one’s audience at a show has no clue about what the other 50 per cent is laughing about and they join in as they don’t want to seem like idiots. This is the most common laughter at most comedy clubs. Laughter is a good instrument to break barriers and inhibitions. It makes things more relatable.”

My best joke: All my jokes are really funny and work well.

A bad joke: At one gig I tried this: “If in India we celebrate Jawaharlal Nehru’s birthday as Children’s Day, would Steve Job’s birthday be celebrated as Children’s Day in China?”

KRITARTH SRINIVASAN, full-time comedian

“Laughter is important and there are a lot of people who realise that spending Rs 300 for a comedy show is better than watching a movie nowadays. If I’m not doing a gig, I am at one. I just love the whole process of laughter.”

My best joke: “When the rest of the world got its independence through war, we got ours from tantrums.”

A bad joke: There was a bit I did about dogs being superior to human beings and it never worked. This was because at any gig, there are always a lot of animal lovers."

SNEHA SUHAS, standup comedian

“Laughter is very important as it helps one make a point. You can always say something and then say ‘Just kidding!’ and get your point across. I have a frowning face and laughter helps me get my best face on. Laughter actually helps everyone look more charming. You feel lighter in the tummy after a good laugh. Laughter is good to face traffic, it’s just good for everything.”

My best joke: When there are hecklers at the show, I often ask them ‘Could you repeat that?’ and they do. I keep asking them the question, pretending not to hear their reply and then I just replay, ‘Í don’t understand what you are saying but I guess it wasn’t important’ and I continue with my gig. I always get laughs for this.

A bad joke: I used to say: “My first time was very different.. It was like this... I took my friend along and it was after dinner...’ It was a joke about my first time at an Open Mic. It didn’t work as well as I thought.

SHRIRUPA SENGUPTA, standup comedian

“I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown when I stepped into the comedy business. I was crying all the time. When I went shopping I would cry if the tomatoes I wanted weren’t available. I would just be upset about everything. I then started standup comedy and had to reckon with everything with a sense of humour. I come from a family which believes in the lighter side of life. I strongly advise people to laugh every eight minutes of one’s day.”

My best joke: I say this and it always works. “As a woman, I have been stalked by men, women and buffaloes. Cows don’t stalk you. They are classy like that. They’re like men in their 30s. They don’t know where they’re going. They have no idea where they’re coming from. They expect you to be kind to them. And they always chew more than they can swallow.”

A bad joke: I tried and it failed: “My parents believe in silent treatment. I believe in spirits. Can you imagine what it will be like when they die and I am in the middle of an intimate moment and have no idea that they are just there, staring at me, angrily for some tax form I didn’t fill?”

Tickle yourself silly

Bangalore traffic laughter: Don’t get stressed out. Instead, laugh at the traffic. This will release happy hormones.

Brush laughter: Laugh while doing daily chores. Laugh while brushing.

Cell phone laughter: Walk in with the phone in your hand and laugh while pretending that someone else is laughing on the other side.

Namaste laughter: Do namaste, look into each other’s eye and laugh.

Milkshake laughter: Hold two virtual glasses of milk in your hands, mix the milk from one glass to other and laugh.

Credit card bill laughter: Pretend you have a huge credit card bill in your hand, read it , show it to others and
laugh.

Aches and pains laughter: Laugh out on the aches and pains of your body.

(Deliberate ways to cultivate laughter as a routine, recommended by Ashwin Patil, Dhyaana School of Wellbeing)

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Metrolife: LOL. It’s great for your health

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