Many friends who participated in my recent Joyful Living and Stress Management with Laughter Yoga sessions request me to blog and demystify these terms.
Joyful Living is the philosophy of leading a life of prosperity with joy. It is all about how living in the materialistic world, we lead a balanced life where our needs are met and we live every moment of life joyfully. By joyfully we mean not a conditional happiness, but a mindset of sustained happiness.
Laughter Yoga is a unique exercise routine, which combines unconditional laughter with yogic breathing (Pranayama). Here anyone can laugh without relying on humor, jokes or comedy. Laughter is initially induced as a physical exercise while maintaining eye contact with others in the group and promoting childlike playfulness. In most cases this soon leads to real and contagious fountain of laughter. Recent advances in science (especially monitoring of active regions of brain through fMRI) have proved that the body cannot differentiate between induced and real laughter. The benefits you get from real or induced laughter are the same. Laughter Yoga is a technique that allows adults to achieve sustained hearty laughter without involving cognitive thoughts. It bypasses the intellectual systems that normally act as a brake on natural laughter.
Many professionals after participating in laughter sessions tell me that if they smile and laugh at work, they fear to be tagged as non-serious at work. I have two thoughts – one, as professionals we have to do serious work but we need not be serious for it. Second, IT IS YOUR LIFE; you need to live your life joyfully. Ignore such comments. Let people think and do what they want. Life is not a sprint, it is a marathon. Running fast for first 100meters does not lead to success. In the marathon of life, I am confident that you will fare better with smiles and laughter all along the way.
Laughter Yoga sessions start with gentle warm-up techniques which include stretching, singing, clapping and body movements. These exercises help break down inhibitions and develop feelings of childlike playfulness. Then breathing exercises are used to prepare the lungs for laughter, followed by a series of ‘laughter exercises’ that combine the method of acting and visualization techniques with playfulness. These exercises, when combined with the strong social dynamics of group behavior, lead to prolong and hearty unconditional laughter. The laughter routines are interlaced with rhythmic breathing. Scientifically it has been proved that twenty minutes of laughter is sufficient to develop full physiological benefits. A Laughter Yoga session finishes with ‘laughter meditation’. This is a session that triggers natural laughter to flow from within us like a fountain.
We recharge our mobile phones, laptops, and other electronic gadgets when the battery runs low; yet we ignore our “Body-Mind-Soul” getting discharged - crying for a recharge. Now you can join monthly iRecharge sessions and enjoy Joyful Living lifestyle. These sessions are more than hearty laughter. These sessions are about learning to live every moment of life in joy. iRecharge is a powerful experience that often leads to a healthy emotional cleansing and a feeling of joyfulness that can last for days. For most of the participants, Laughter Meditation can be the first experience of zero thought (Zero-T) state. If you would like to participate in iRecharge Zero-T experience and if you are in Bangalore (India), please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to be included in the iRecharge mailing list and experience Joyful Living.
(You can find more about the author at www.arunb.com)