Giggling guru tickles the funny bone in laughing yoga class
When was the last time you had a good belly laugh? If it took longer than a second to recall when, Madan Kataria might be the man to call.
Mumbai-based Kataria specialises in making people laugh, but he's not a comedian, he's a master of laughter yoga - a giggling guru. He teaches people how to laugh without a reason, he said.
Kataria (pictured) is in town this week for workshops organised by the Community Leadership Forum to teach laughter yoga, which he developed 16 years ago. 'You don't have to be happy to laugh. We laugh because we can, and it's an exercise that benefits you mentally and physically,' Kataria said. 'Through laughing, your breath deepens, your heart rate increases and you have more oxygen in your body and brain. Your muscle relaxes and your brain produces endorphins, the happy chemical.'
The key, Kataria said, was to laugh for at least 10 to 20 minutes. So his classes involve hand-clapping to warm up, a breathing exercise and cheerful chanting. He has also developed more than 200 exercises to make you 'laugh like a child'.
And laughing with others doubles the benefits, he said. 'Lots of people are shy when they first come in, but imagine an atmosphere where everyone's laughing. It cracks you up.'
So when did laughter become such a rare commodity that we need to sign up for a class to acquire it? LOL!