Monday, May 9, 2011
The compliment that I cherish most came from Anurag, my 24-year old son. He loves adventure sports and takes care of fire and safety hazards at Nestle. I was visiting Gurgaon, the town where he works, and was suddenly asked to do a presentation on Laughter Yoga. When I told him about it, he remarked, “Papa, this is a unique life skill you have acquired. You can do it anytime, anywhere, for anyone. Now, you have the heavenly gift of giving joy to other beings. That is really wonderful.”
This insight coming from a youngster is amazing. I had gone to attend a workshop on leadership skills at the State Bank Academy. It was an awfully cold morning – the earlier day was the coldest in the last 46 years. There were 44 participants, all senior officials of the Bank, in the workshop. When the Principal of the Academy came to address the participants, he observed, “The energy level appears to be low. I have never witnessed something like this at the beginning of any programme. What’s the reason?”
One of us responded,” It is terribly cold and foggy, sir. We are not used to such a climate. Our flights landed very late in the night. It was chilling cold and windy. We have not had enough sleep. Moreover, we carry a lot of stress in our roles as such.”
As the class didn’t appear to take-off convincingly, I requested for a 5-minute slot and assured that the class would cheer up in a while. The Principal was magnanimous enough. I asked everyone to clap and chant ‘hoho-hahaha’ and ‘very good very good yay’ and followed it up with a few laughter exercises. The atmosphere brightened instantly and there was warmth all around.
Thereafter, we did some laughter exercises every morning before the start of sessions and everyone relished it. I also did a presentation on Laughter Yoga in the auditorium where several officers of the Bank, senior and junior, from all over India were present. The presentation was well received. After a few months, I went there again with my wife, Radhika, to give one more presentation before a much bigger audience.
We have done sessions for school children, housewives and elders. Everyone loves it. We are regularly invited to a reputed yoga and naturopathy centre in our town for laughter therapy. The feedback from patients is very positive.
One of the members of our laughter club told us that her parents stayed at a remote place far away and felt lonely. She learned the steps of laughter yoga from us and jotted down some exercises which would be more suitable for them. Now, she has gone to them and would be spreading some good cheer in the neighbourhood.
Laughter Yoga can be done for those in the orphanages, hospitals and prisons. The educational institutions are very conducive to Laughter Yoga. It takes stress out of workplaces and makes life vibrant for those who feel lonely.
We were curiously watching sunrise with many tourists in a hill station recently. As the sun came up, everyone was thrilled and clicked their cameras vigorously. Then, after introducing ourselves as Laughter Yoga trainers to the crowd, we requested them to join us for a brief session of laughter exercises before moving back. All agreed readily. A short but sweet session followed and the joy of watching the sun rise was enhanced manifold.
Laughter Yoga is truly an invaluable life skill which we can use to bring joy to all around us anytime, anywhere. It is Divine!