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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Today is World Laughter Day

World Laughter Day: May 5th

The Who, What, When, Where and How!

Every day is special in one way of another. Just awakening to a new day is indeed special enough, whether filled with sunshine or raining cats and dogs! Of course, storms are not our choices of best days but there is no way to avoid them. Regardless of your location or the conditions of the weather, today is World Laughter Day! But how did this day become a global day where laughter is the predominant emotion? Let's take a look at Who, What, When, Where and How it all began.
Would you believe it did not have its start in the month of May? It was actually on January 11, 1998 as part of Dr. Madan Kataria's (The Laughing Guru) laughter yoga movement that extends around the world. Whoa! Pause for a moment...laughter yoga? Never heard of it!
5 May - World Laughter Day - Dubai @ tbc

That's right...laughter yoga! It combines gentle yoga breathing, stretching and simulated unconditional laughter. While it may begin as simulated laughter, it does not take long for the effect to become truly genuine, especially when exercised in a group. The health benefits are positive attributing to a reduction in blood pressure, as well as benefiting the cardiovascular system. It has even been said laughter speeds healing! Really? Next time I am sick I will burst out with laughter! Well, it is worth a try. What can it possibly hurt?

We all already know laughter is a great stress reliever since it fosters thinking positively and focuses on a feeling of happiness. Within a matter of minutes filled with laughter, stress levels drop. Yea! My workload is on overload...laugh, laugh, laugh! 


OK! Back on track...we know the who - Dr. Madan Kataria, the what - laughter yoga, the when - January 11, 1998 - Wait a minute! January? We are celebrating in May! Let's dig deeper into the when. Laughter yoga was started by Dr. Kataria in 1995 and World Laughter Day created by the good doctor in 1998. No specific notations were found as to why it is celebrated in May, only that it falls on the first Sunday in May, which in 2013 is May 5th. Help! Anyone who can shed some light on why the celebration was changed to fall in May is welcomed to enlighten us in the comments section.

Let's move on to the where... The first World Laughter Day gathering took place in Mumbai, India. Twelve thousand members from local and international laughter clubs ... Hey! Nobody has mentioned laughter CLUBS! Are they for real! Very much for real. 

Read on...

The Laughter Clubs is "a global initiative to unite entire mankind through unconditional love and laughter." The laughter yoga movement is now counting over 6,000 Laughter Clubs (wikipedia declares over 8,000) in 65 countries. By practicing in clubs, or groups, the laughter effect is multiplied. Once the laughter effect has taken each individual from the group goes forth continuing the laughter much like a domino effect or the Energizer Bunny that keeps going and going and going or in this case, laughing and laughing and laughing...You get the picture! Right?

 Jarod Hackenberg, seven, flies past Nira Berry, left, during a laughter yoga session. Linda Davidson / The Washington Post via Getty Images
Jarod Hackenberg, seven, flies past Nira Berry, left, during a laughter yoga session. Linda Davidson / The Washington Post via Getty Images
Last, but not least, is the how. It all started with laughter: "Laughter is a positive and powerful emotion that has all the ingredients required for individuals to master themselves and to change the world in a tubular way." ~Laughter Yoga

 “When you laugh, you change and when you change, the whole world changes around you.” ~Dr. Madan Kataria

Laughter march is the finale of the World Laughter Day 2012 Celebration in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. More than 200 people laugh their hearts out at KSL City with many other onlookers. The NGOs involved were the Befrienders JB, Breast Cancer Support Group, Johor Bahru Alzheimer group, Toastmasters International Division A, Hospital Permai, Spastic Children School, Stroke Association, Intan LifeZone and many laughers from their respective Laughter Groups......

"It’s been proven that 10 minutes of hearty laughter is equivalent to spending 30 minutes on the rowing machine." ~Jo-Dee Walmsley, a motivational speaker and laughter facilitator


What are you waiting for? LAUGH! 

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