Together with tens of thousands of Laughter Clubs from all over the world, Federation Square will be bursting with joy and laughter as they run through laughter exercises created by Dr Madan Kataria, founder of the worldwide Laughter Yoga movement.
World Laughter Day was created in 1998 by Dr. Madan Kataria, as a means for world peace and a global consciousness of brotherhood and friendship through laughter.
The history of laughter clubs begun with humbles origins with Dr. Madan Kataria writing an article about the positive effects of laughter. Profound and inspired by his research, Dr Kataria began his laughter movement in Mumbai at a neighbourhood park on the morning of March 13th 1995. With just four of his friends, the laughter club initially started with telling jokes and funny anecdotes to each other as a means to initiate the laughter. However after about a few weeks, they hit a plateau as they ran out of good natured funny jokes.
On that night, Dr Kataria reviewed his research and discovered the most interesting and important information: the body cannot distinguish between real laughter and fake laughter. With this in mind, he proposed to the group to act laughter to one another for just one minute. As a result, the fake laughter instantly became real laughter which, as everyone knows, is contagious.
With the realisation that there were other ways than humour to stimulate laughter, Dr Kataria created a set of laughter exercises and incorporated similar yoga techniques into his laughter movement. The rest as we may know is history.
Dr. Madan Kataria and Madhuri Kataria, Founders of Laughter Yoga International
Having been curious to find out what actually is involved in a Laughter Club, I myself joined along for a session last week at the Melbourne City branch operated by the very jolly, Merv Neal. The session started with gentle warm up techniques used to help break down our conscious inhibitions and develop our playfulness. Breathing exercises are also used during the warm up and throughout the whole session as a means to prepare the lungs for laughter and to force out the built-up bad air in our lungs.
The laughter exercises were then followed with the 'laughter introduction', where you go around the room, look the other person straight in the eye and laugh while shaking their hand. Each laughter exercise would end with chanting 'ha ha, ho-ho, ho' while clapping your hands.
Probably my favourite laugher exercise that we did during that session was the milkshake technique where you have your hands out in front of you as if you're holding two cups. You then pour 'the milk' from one cup to the other while counting down to the big laugh with 'woahhhs'.
The session then ended with 'laughter meditation', a cool down session which allows the natural laugher to flow through the body. I went home that night in a very healthy and positive mood with my face suffering from a delightful pain from all the laughing I had just done.
The World Laughter Day event in Melbourne will kick off on the main stage at Federation Square with the normal laughter exercise session. To help out, a live band specialising in the hypnotic beats of African Drumming will be there playing along with the laughter session. A display of Bollywood Dancers will also be on show as a part of the festive spirit of World laughter Day. The most interesting part of the event to look out for is probably the Laugh Off, a competition between the laughter clubs in Victoria, all laughing it out to win the ultimate glory.
It has been scientifically it has been proved that twenty minutes of laughter is sufficient to develop full psychological and physiological benefits. What you will be getting on Sunday, 1st May 2011 is a fully two hour festival of laughter. More than enough to give you a good boost for the day eh?
Laughter is a direct link to the mind, body and soul. Utilise this simple joy and experience the numerous benefits yourself by having a giggle and a laugh on World Laughter Day at Federation Square.