Laughter Yoga is a unique concept where anyone can laugh for no reason without relying on humor, jokes or comedy. We initiate laughter as an exercise in a group but with eye contact and childlike playfulness, it soon turns into real and contagious laughter. The reason we call it Laughter Yoga is because it combines laughter exercises with yoga breathing. This brings more oxygen to the body and brain which makes one feel more energetic and healthy. The concept of Laughter Yoga is based on a scientific fact that the body cannot differentiate between fake and real laughter if done with willingness. One gets the same health benefits, whether laughter is real or simulated. It was started by a medical doctor Dr. Madan Kataria supported by his wife, Madhuri Kataria, a yoga teacher, from India with just five people in a Mumbai Park in 1995. There are thousands of Laughter Clubs in more than 106 countries.
Five Benefits of Laughter Yoga
Laughter Yoga can change your mood within minutes by releasing endorphins from your brain cells. This makes you feel good and if you are in a good mood you do everything well. It makes you cheerful all throughout the day.
Laughter Yoga reduces stress and strengthens the immune system. If your immune system is strong you will not fall sick easily and if you have chronic health conditions, it will help to heal faster.
Our brain needs 25 percent more oxygen for optimal functioning. Laughter exercises can increase net supply of oxygen to our body and brain which helps to improve efficiency and performance. You will feel energetic and can work more than you normally do without getting tired.
Quality of life depends upon quality of our friends and our relationships. Laughter is a great connector of people and brings lots of good friend with caring and sharing relationship.
Laughing through Challenges
Anyone can laugh when times are good, but Laughter Yoga teaches people to laugh unconditionally so that they can laugh even when times are hard. It provides strength in adversity, a coping mechanism to help people keep a positive mental attitude regardless of circumstances.
ABOUT HUMAN FIRST
Human First aims to be an outstanding provider of training courses dedicated to developing people and improving their lives Human First dedicates itself to addressing design needs by providing feel good and ideas for people and their environments. You are Human First before you develop your identity in terms of race, ethnicity, sexuality, culture, religion and class. Every so often, under pressure to develop an identity, the concept of being Human First is relegated. It is therefore vital to remain focused on being Human First within the confines of identity. Human beings possess potentiality, which means that they have an innate potential for growth, development and fulfilment. It is this potentiality that Human First seeks to nurture. Human First’s training programmes uses this inner-ability of people to move them from inability to empowerment. It offers training and design with the intention of leaving people feeling good about themselves and revitalized.
Jayesh Bhana began as a teacher of physical science and biology at junior secondary level about twenty years ago. In 1999, equipped with a Masters’ Degree in Education, Jayesh began working as a freelance facilitator. Over the years he has accumulated extensive training experience in people development through the facilitation of life (soft) skills programmes for various organisations. He also has a keen interest in art and design. He is also a Certified Laughter Yoga Leader, completing a course in India in 2017. Jayesh’s facilitation of learning is empathetic, energetic, humorous and motivational. He believes that knowledge retention is greater if people learn by doing.
HUMAN FIRST’S APPROACH
Comments from participants
“Jayesh is a talented, motivating and extremely encouraging lecturer. He talks directly to you and ensures full understanding of what he is teaching you. He allows you to voice out your opinion and NEVER makes you feel little or stupid because of it.”
“I liked everything about this course because I’ve learnt so much – about HIV/AIDS; about myself; about how to control myself and how to behave.”
“I like the way he communicated to us as a team and facilitated and encouraged us and gave us hope that we can achieve what we want in life”
“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery none but ourselves can free our minds.” from Redemption Song by Bob Marley
“Very good, very good! Yay!”
With one arm stretched forward from the nose like a trunk and a hand on the back making the tail, the pre-schoolers move around like laughing elephants. Laughing chickens follow the elephants; bunnies are next and then come the monsters.
Each move of mine is emulated with varying degrees of confidence. They laugh and laugh - sometimes falling over each other.
The pre-school group is a recent addition to my Laughter Yoga sessions. The pre-school and crèche caters for indigent children in an informal settlement. The school was started by a nurse who saw the need for such a facility. Donations and volunteers have helped refurbish the tiny classrooms.
I was introduced to the school by a board member and arrangements were made to have a weekly session with two groups: 3-4 year olds and 5-6 year olds. Most learners do not speak English but with the teachers acting as translators we get going. The LY activities are based mainly on animals that the learners know about; otherwise they copy my physical actions. The children appear to enjoy the sessions.
The teachers participate as well. In fact a teacher said that a few days after the first session learners had chanted in class, “Very good, very good. Yay!”
The session ends with the learners sitting with their eyes closed and a doing a very short breathing exercise. Getting the children to understand breathing was a challenge. They seemed to have no idea what it meant to breathe in and out as a deliberate action.
Therefore in the last session we taught the learners a breathing exercise. We started by asking them to point to their noses (using the primary language of most of the children who attend the school). The teachers then asked them to say what the function of the nose was. The few learners who answered thought that the nose was there to blow it!
The simpler breathing exercises do not present a challenge for the senior citizen group. My attempts to show them alternate nostril breathing were not altogether successful. I will persevere.
A few pensioners who were sedentary in the earlier sessions now move around doing the laughter exercises with great enthusiasm. The more frail participants do the exercises in their seats. More people have started attending the Monday sessions, but I haven’t established if LY is the attraction – however feedback has been positive from the participants and the supervisors. A few senior citizens who are doing the laughter exercises at home have been subjected to curious looks and questions from family members, but they persist nevertheless
Having to work with both the young and the old on the age continuum provides a fertile ground for contemplation. I do my LY practise almost daily and have begun to find myself laughing spontaneously at the vicissitudes of life.