Laughter is a universal language that needs no translation. It banishes negativity, increases endorphins and sends joy throughout the muscles, nerves, organs and tissues.
That’s why the demand for Laughter Yoga clubs and activities has sprouted during the pandemic.
With so many of us facing challenges of isolation, insecurity, financial and job uncertainties, among others, the stress and pent-up emotions have impacted our mental health to some degree. Some have forgotten how to laugh.
Dr Madan Kataria, a medical doctor and the founder of the laughter yoga club movement that started in 1995 in Mumbai, said Covid-19 has provided opportunities to laugh more frequently as hundreds of free virtural laughter clubs are sprouting in the midst of the pandemic.
Currently there are more than 10,000 Laughter clubs found in India, and between 8,000 to 9,000 found worldwide. This is just a rough estimate as the organisation does not have a structured data on all the clubs.
“Laughter Yoga is not a comedy. It is an exercise programme for Health and Wellbeing. Dialysis and cancer patients have turned to this exercise, which is part laughter and part yoga as it incorporates the Pranayama breathing techniques, to enhance their overall health,” Dr Madan said in a Zoom meeting today.
“If you laugh for 10 to 15 minutes a day, one can enjoy many benefits. Laughter strengthens the immune system and keeps the mind positive. It is the quickest way to drive away depression and anxiety,” he said, adding that laughter is also a universal language.
Dr Madan thanked the Johor Bahru Happy and Joyous Club for bringing Laughter Yoga to places and people who would benefit from the exercise over the last 10 years, namely, in dialysis centres, drug rehabilitation centres, cancer patients, the physically and mentally challenged and senior citizens.
Since the Movement Control Order was implemented, the Johor Bahru Happy and Joyous Club has been conducting Laughter Yoga on their Facebook Page daily from 9am to 9.30am. The pandemic has deterred physical meet ups but in the virtual world, members can meet and laugh beyond borders.
If you’re feeling bored or frustrated but you don’t want to curse and swear because that’s just adding to the negativity, you can try speaking Gibberish for a few seconds. That is just to melt the frustration, and clear the way for joy to flow in. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, maybe Sarjit Kaur can explain it better.
Sarjit will be one of the presenters who will share her thoughts on this at the Malaysian Laughter Yoga Zoom, the first of its kind on February 6, 2021 from 2pm to 5pm (Malaysia time). It is organised by Mega Malaysia Laughter, a non-governmental organisation.
The aim of the 3-hour event, which will be launched by Dr Madan, is to increase public awareness on Laughter Yoga, foster ties among Laughter Yoga practitioners and enthusiasts as well as share updates on Laughter Yoga.
Six dynamic laughter Yoga Teachers/Masters will be sharing their expertise as follows:
1. Merv Neal (Australia) on ‘Laughter Yoga & Business and the Pandemic’
2. Bill Lewis (UK/Malaysia) on ‘Rhythm & Laff’
3. Shifra Arwas (Israel) on ‘The Wisdom of the Older Child’
4. Dusty Susan (Australia) on ‘Cradle to Death’
5. YM Dr. Raja Kamariah Raja Mohd (Malaysia) on ‘Laughter in the Malaysian Public Sector’
6. Sarjit Kaur (Malaysia) on ‘Embracing our Authenticity’
Meanwhile 7 Laughter Yogis will also be present to lead and share their Laughter Exercises. They are Kara Sherman (USA), Keyem Thomez (Bahrain), Sara Mei Woo (Singapore), Bachan Singh (Malaysia), Lina Lim Lee Mui (Malaysia), Raja Perumal Raja (Malaysia) and Siem Lee (Malaysia).
The organisers are expecting a turnout of 500 participants from all over the world. All are welcome to join the event on Feb 6. There’s also a new laughter song titled “Kung Fu Ha Ha” which they’re keeping under wraps until the day of the event, so do turn up on Feb 6 🙂
To know more about Laughter Yoga, you may check out