Laughter is the Best Medicine

Take Laughter Seriously with "Laughter Guru" Dr. Madan Kataria

welcome everyone to this very special episode of enlightened masculinity we have an excellent guest for you here today and his name is dr. Kataria from Indies the founder of laughter yoga which is a health and wellness movement that he started back in 1995 it's present now with centers all over the world in over 110 countries and we have him here on enlightened masculinity to talk about his methods of course I'm yogi Chris one of your hosts founder of nine clung yoga and I'm joined by akash in t co-host whose biotech research analyst and yoga teacher extraordinaire from new jersey and so dr. Kataria is so happy you could make it how is it from india coming on India's fantastic we have a lot of monsoon raining these days and I just landed from Singapore and Malaysia to work teaching people how to laughs bring more joy and happiness in your life wow this is incredible you know I'm sure you have so much content out and you do teacher trainings and there's just an abundance of content so forgive me if I ask a question that you've asked banan sir you know you've answered it many times before but you know how did you stumble on to laughter as this means of like releasing this it's like immediately you come on the show you're laughter it's it's very contagious it's very from the core and you know has I had feel a deep resonance with it and I'm wondering how did you stumble across this thing and know that this was your purpose yeah in 1995 I was writing an article for a Health magazine laughs is the best medicine and I found that at that time I was too stressed out and I was looking myself for something to de-stress myself so I tried several things and I thought why not started laughter club laughter is the best medicine mass why went to a public park and caught hold of only five people and started laughing by telling jokes but it didn't last more than 10 days and people started saying oh this is vulgar joke started coming in last me to stop this love club I said no no don't stop I'll find some way how to laugh without jokes so I found a research which said that even if you act like a happy person even if you pretend to be happy your body cannot tell the difference where you're really happy or you are just pretending so I thought we could make laughter as an exercise if it is not real and just keep looking at me stop everybody started laughing because laugh is contagious means we don't need anything so I created for the first time laughter yoga is not a comedy it's an exercise program based on the scientific fact that your body cannot differentiate between real and fake laughter you still get the same benefits so we created 10 to 15 minutes of giggling and go fiying every every morning and being a yoga student I found that lot of similarity between breathing exercises from yoga who combined with laughte laughter itself is like a breathing exercise of course you are an exhaling law or of stale air out of your lungs carbon dioxide goes out and inhale a lot of fresh air which has more oxygen so this if you ask me what is love to you well it's very simple not a rocket scent you breathe in so when you're doing it in a group it becomes real and contagious it's so simple and it started with five people now it's global global movement and people are why it's become popular because people are getting benefits from it very soon and this benefits I mean dear few laughs and I feel tremendous benefits and I'm huge I'm a big physiology geek and I can easily spell out the physiology of why a prolonged exhale a rapid inhale engaging all of the muscles of laughter would have such a stimulating effect on the nervous system and you know how you know I'm all about it it makes sense to me and it's like I want to try it all right this is just simple idea lab for no reason and second thing which is love to you guys about we laugh not from the brain we love from the body not from the mind because we don't use humor jokes comedies that's the mind stuff what we do but what we tell people laugh like children do children laugh from the body not from their mind so for it for a duration of 30 minutes we get together and we play like children we have different playful exercises and we we ask people to be like a child just for 30 minutes I know you can't be like a child all day but just let go and be like a kid so we have several exercises one of them is very good let's do it together good then we have an argument laughter we tell people if you want to fight fight laughing funniest laugh is credit card bill laughter imagine you but it builds for your visa card so put your hand like this you just receive your bill for a Visa card and so just like that we have hundreds of exercises which is just too fun so we just be like kids we breathe we laugh we'd be like a child just let's love to yoga Wow dr. Qatari that is absolutely incredible and I just wanted to add on for our audience one of the things I find really really interesting and I think just amongst the group of the three of us is that we all have like a background not only in yoga but also in science and deeply rooted in science so it just there's a little tidbit it's dr. Kataria is a medical doctor I find to be quite interesting nugget area and one of my young teacher trainings we had learned that uh that laughter and play are the Fountain of Youth could you speak a little bit more about this I mean you're you're a bit older than us you're more senior than us but I would love to hear what are your secrets to staying young yeah yeah people ask me what is yoga connection of laughing you have to bring a yoga mat do laughter yoga nothing of that sort so basically breathing is very fundamental to our life you can live without water food for several days nothing will happen you will not die but if you don't read for a few minutes you're dead so there is something in the breath which makes us live and people fall sick because of stress you don't breathe properly our breathing is very shallow we hold red and carbon dioxide accumulates in your system you're making a blood more acidic that triggers the stress response and panic attacks and anxiety everything happens because of the going up level of carbon dioxide in your system so what we tell people just laugh out loud and breathe deeply to increase the amount of oxygen and expel all your carbon dioxide out of your system and this is the physiological side of love yoga it does not matter whether you're laughing on a joke or a comedy when you're laughing you're getting rid of carbon dioxide but science tells us that laughter is beneficial only if you laugh 10 to 15 minutes it should not mean few seconds here and there that won't change your physiology so that's why laughter yoga is the ideal way to get the benefits of laughter it should be prolonged it should be 10 minutes 15 minutes as a group therapy and second part is about child now who are the best lovers in the world children children can laugh 300-400 times in a day and we hardly laugh 10 times 15 times so what we are telling people if you won't laugh more get back to your roots be like a child so we do lot of silly stuff we run around we slap our ties we as we sing we play and we all do what we what we did in kindergarten so laughter yoga Club is nothing but kindergarten of grown-ups so we we ask people come on there's me like a child so laughter yoga is all about joy laughter yoga is all about happiness inside you not outside so we create happiness we don't depend upon something to make us laugh or make us happy so this is in short laughter yoga is happiness inside out in yoga we have a word worse called Sabbath anin joy is inside you not outside so we are teaching people how to cultivate how to create happiness and joy within yourself and I'm curious you know we we interview so many masters and you're clearly a master at this I've never seen someone you're up so easily in a laughter and this you know so many people they develop kind of a coordination internally with this whatever exercise they're doing outside of them so like let's say you do this laughter 10-15 minutes every day you create a tremendous amount of joy inside of you and is it do you see that you're able to access this joy without laughing moving forward like throughout your day that the laughter becomes almost just like an external thing that you could do you could not do but the joy is there you you said it I'll tell you the secret people always ask me or a lot of guru what is the secret where where is the source of laughter where does laughter come from I tell people the source of love display if you learn to play like a child laughter will be the natural outcome of your play if you learn to dance laughter will be the natural outcome of dancing if you learn to sing so there are basically four elements in love to yoga sing dance play and love if learn these four things which automatically comes from laughter yoga methods you'll be laughing it's not about only fake or real laughter or the exercise laughter should be the natural expression of Europe joy inside you so we are training people how to be joyful how to cultivate cultivate four elements of joy but individually we can do we are very weak but when we are together as a group it comes very naturally a cop's brother you got some continued because that's you know you I do I love those four aspects they all seem to be like a social kind of aspect and really play to the fact that we're like a human animal they're social creature and really designed for that kind of communication singing dancing laughing this communal thing I think it's really hacking something deep in the neurology in the genetic behavior and it's super cool but then you just said this one sentence just now that I'm not I gotta hear you elaborate on where you said like individually were weak would you go into that would you unpack that sentence for me a little see everybody knows that exercises exercising is the best way to maintain health but how many people exercise but when it is done as a group it's done like Zumba group or dance group or so anything as a community it's very motivating one of the greatest problem with the exercise programs are people give up they abandon their program because it's not motivating it's not fun it's hard work but like laughter yoga is a community program we we have laughter clubs so everybody's playing everybody is dancing everybody doing all that stuff so it becomes easier to add part of the community so that's why when we are together we're a big force we learn very easily we feel motivated to do that but when it comes to individual myself I need lot of determination there i pain and then do it or if I fall sick and get a prescription from the doctor then I start running so that's the negative motivation yeah yeah so I think it's a mind programming laughter Yoga is everything we we create as a group programming now what I want to say is that when you learn in a group and it becomes part of your body wisdom then you can do it alone like for example for me laughter is the press button service I can just think because I have learned it in a group my my I've got that wisdom in my body but for in for a newcomer if you ask them to laugh for no reason they say are you crazy I can't do that ha ha ha is failure yeah but but for 4 people learn in the group for them no problem anytime no problem you can laugh so it's a it's a practice actually so training is something like conditioning dr. Qatari you talked about something in that phrase there or in that sentence there you said something really really interesting and powerful in in my opinion and that was that there's a wisdom to the body as a doctor and as a yoga practitioner we I mean you learn you study intensely about the human body can you talk about what do you mean by the wisdom of the body or if you can expand on that a bit work see whatever all the emotions ideas thoughts they start from the mind and then that those emotions they are expressed to the body so for every mental thought and emotion there is an expression through the body when you're happy so how do you express happiness either by laughter or by dancing by singing so our body starts to generate what we call emotions are expressed through the body they generate in the mind but when your body starts to do the movement it said they reverse feedback to the brain that this is something that is stored in the mind as a program but also something like body behaviour like for example if you just act like say so this is my body wisdom okay so if I maintain this posture within seconds my brain we get it feedback something is good and then brain will start to create those happy chemicals so it's easy to control your body not easy to control your mind so laughter Yoga is all body mind medicine not mind body mind is tricky you can't control your mind but I can put my body to movement any time my body will do but body also has lots of immune markers like your you got when you laughing in your gut there are a lot of immune system Sarat animals are more secreted in the gut not in the mind all your immune system in your missing cream all lymphatic tissues are in your stomach okay all your muscles have a memory kinesiology so even by changing the body posture you can change the state of mind that's beautiful same thing in yoga you guys the body mind medicine so we we access the mind through the body my final question this time around and this has been really wonderful I feel more free already is how is are you finding and we're gonna have guys everybody catching this on iTunes if you're seeing us on any of the social media you know go to and might masculinity on iTunes leave us a review let us know you want doctor Kataria back on we'd love to have them back what how have my final question how has it been received in your local medical community when you talk about it is there they participating as the participation from them skepticism what are you handling with that initially there was a lot of skepticism in the medical community because there was no evidence but now we have more than 25 research studies around the world which backed this idea and now the doctors and all medical practitioners have beginning to endorse this idea and in fact mostly psychologists and psychiatrists because laughs yoga is not to do with the mental health so they are recommending their patients to do laughter yoga and join the laughter yoga groups 300 million people all over the world are depressed and imagine depressed people never laugh and if you people laughing I don't think you can get depressed so the biggest sickness in the world is depression and what I mean we are ten times more prosperous than 50 years ago but we are ten times more depressed than what we were fifty years twelve thousand billion dollars are spent on net present we need more laughter yoga now ah that's a great statement right there laughter yoga now that's great so I have a message for your viewers first laughter yoga is not a comedy is an exercise program freaking is fine do laughter and exercise learn in a group we have several learning programs our mission is to set up free social laughter clubs worldwide and also take laughter yoga to the senior centers to the schools and colleges as a syllabus because what it becomes too serious and we have to take life too seriously thank you thank you thank you so much this has been an incredible an incredible episode yes I want to take some time to acknowledge yogi Chris as well he's the founder of 9th limb yoga and and and this really focusing on communication itself so 920 oka is the the sponsor of today's podcast as well I'm with that dr. Kotori what's the best way if anyone who is interested in more learning about laughter yoga what how could one go about doing this what are the different websites or such that what is laughter yoga or all these oversight just laughter yoga on the google says to be at number one and this visit our site and a lot of cities around the United States and I've seen especially I think the one that comes up a lot for me is in Denver I think there's a laughing laughing yoga center but I know there's many laughing yoga centers are in the US and I'll feel more comfortable going into the center I mean I've zoomed with the founder Wow it's like cuz even as a yogi I'll tell you like you know I've been to over 100 yoga studios in the United States I've taught it many I've practiced it many I know a lot of people and I still would feel a little bit like that's out of my element kind of thing but I just met it's simple your one-hour yoga session just at the end of five to ten minutes just crack up we have you so laughs yoga can be value added and the end of your yoga class and then you do shavasana and relaxation just crack up first Yogi's are too serious I guess that's incredible well with that uh yoga Chris you have anything last words to add before we close out the podcast today that's all I really want to respect dr. Qatari is time thank you doctor and thank you everybody for showing up and we'll see you on the next episode

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