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Giggling Guru Madan Kataria and laughter’s power : The New Yorker

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Letter from India

The Laughing Guru

Madan Kataria’s prescription for total well-being.

by Raffi Khatchadourian August 30, 2010

Raffi Khatchadourian, Letter from India, “The Laughing Guru,” The New Yorker, August 30, 2010, p. 56

ABSTRACT: LETTER FROM INDIA about Dr. Madan Kataria and laughter yoga. In the pantheon of celebrity doctors, Madan Lal Kataria has claimed for himself what is surely the strangest mantle. He is a physician who has transformed himself into the leader of an international movement that promotes laughter as a cure for just about any ailment - physical, psychological, or spiritual. He is known as the Guru of Giggling. Estimates of the number of people who engage regularly in Kataria’s exercises are as high as two hundred and fifty thousand, but there is really no way to gather precise figures. Kataria has said that in India alone there are six thousand laughter-yoga clubs. His clubs, like Tupperware parties, are not really his: the people who form them do so without centralized direction. Kataria sells his services as a public speaker and trainer for his own profit. That is how he earns his living. Writer travels to Bengaluru, India to witness a five-day laughter-yoga session given by Kataria to twenty-one trainees. “Laughter is a choice,” he said. “A connector of people. No barriers. No language.” Kataria told his trainees that laughter yoga “is based upon the scientific fact that, even if you laugh for the sake of laughing, even if you are pretend laughing, your body cannot tell the difference.” There is no such scientific fact, but the idea may contain elements of the truth. Discusses scientific studies of the health benefits of laughter and describes the difference between Duchenne (or involuntary) laughter and non-Duchenne (or voluntary) laughter. Kataria believes that true mirthful laughter can have a liberating, transformative effect—one that momentarily erases all practical concerns, fears, needs, and even notions of time, and provides a glimpse into spiritual enlightenment. Tells about Kataria’s youth in Punjab, his early career as a doctor in Mumbai, and his hopes to become an actor. In 1991, he started a magazine that offered medical advice to lay readers. In 1995, he decided to publish an article called “Laughter—The Best Medicine.” He tested the idea out by asking passersby in a public park if they wanted to laugh with him. Describes the evolution of the club and his decision not to make money from his idea. Considers whether laughter has curative powers and discusses research by Norman Cousins, Lee Berk, and others. At the moment, perhaps the most solid scientific argument one can make about laughter and healing is that it can briefly limit physical pain, though exactly how this works is not fully understood. Writer visits Kataria’s home in Mumbai. Discusses his plans to build an ashram to be called Laughter University.

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Posted via email from madankataria’s posterous | Comment »

Dear Laughter friends, World Laughter Day is a very special day celebrated worldwide on the first Sunday of every May. Our mission is to bring Good Health, Joy and World Peace through laughter. The way Laughter Yoga has grown across 65 countries without marketing and advertising leaves me with no doubt that this new concept is widely accepted among different cultures and countries and is truly universal.

Laughter Yoga is a unique concept where anyone can laugh without reason. We don’t rely on sense of humour, jokes or comedy. Developed by Indian physician Dr. Madan Kataria, Laughter Yoga combines laughter exercises with yogic breathing (Pranayama). This allows more oxygen to enter the body making one feel more energetic, healthy and ridding the body of harmful toxins.

Since Laughter Yoga is a unique concept, a person needs to be trained as a laughter leader in order to lead a group of people through Laughter Yoga session and meditation. Whether it is a social laughter club, corporate session, LY for schools, seniors or people with special needs, Laughter Yoga exercises remain the same with slight variations according to the need of a group. There are 3 levels of trainings: 1. 2 Day Certified Laughter Yoga leader training (CLYL): These trainings are done by certified Laughter Yoga teachers for 2 days, at the end of which the participants are certified as laughter leaders. 1. 5 Day Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher Training (CLYT): This is a 5 day intensive training course conducted by Dr. Kataria and authorized teacher trainers (Master Trainers). Certified teachers can train other people as certified laughter leaders and they have in depth knowledge about leading Laughter Yoga in different areas of application, along with promotion, marketing, PR and training skills. 1. Advanced Laughter Yoga Trainings (1/2 day or Full Day): These trainings are conducted by Dr. Kataria, based on his worldwide experience and skills. What you will learn in Certified Leader Training This is a basic training on how to lead a laughter session for social clubs, corporate organizations, seniors, school children and people with special needs. You will acquire the basic facilitation skills of how to lead a group of people through laughter session and meditation. You will also learn the history, concept, philosophy and different steps of Laughter Yoga and meditation.

Videos

World Laughter Day 2010 Munster, Indiana Laughter Yoga is a unique exercise routine fast sweeping the world and is a complete wellbeing workout. It was started on 13th March 1995 by Indian physician Dr. Madan with just 5 people and today, it has become a worldwide phenomenon with more than 6000 social laughter clubs in 65 countries.

World Laughter Day event went very well considering it was blowing a gale and threatening rain,we all blew a hole in the clouds with our laughing and for a while there was a lovely blue patch in between the clouds, here is a fine picture of all who attended on Top of Glastonbury Tor Regards and looking forward to an even bigger event for next year Jay Woods This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view …

World Laughter Day event went very well considering it was blowing a gale and threatening rain,we all blew a hole in the clouds with our laughing and for a while there was a lovely blue patch in between the clouds, here is a fine picture of all who attended on Top of Glastonbury Tor Regards and looking forward to an even bigger event for next year Jay Woods This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view …

Laughter Yoga is a unique concept where anyone can laugh without reason. We don’t rely on sense of humour, jokes or comedy. Developed by Indian physician Dr. Madan Kataria, Laughter Yoga combines laughter exercises with yogic breathing (Pranayama). This allows more oxygen to enter the body making one feel more energetic, healthy and ridding the body of harmful toxins.

Why Laughter Yoga in Business Due to too much stress, work place has become too serious. People think serious people are more responsible and more productive. This is not true. More productive people are those who take their work seriously, but take themselves lightly. Scientific research shows laughter can help resolve workplace stress and create a happy, energetic and motivated workforce. But, until now there was no reliable and effective system to deliver laughter. Humor was the only tool available, but it is not reliable and seldom leads to continuous hearty laughter.