The secret of “Laughter Yoga”
is that the body doesn't care
if your laugh is sincere or trained. The positive process
in your body starts in any case!
It was for no small reason that Posta da VIP went to work on the 1st of May holiday. To be precise, we had a meeting and photo shoot with the Indian beauty Anju Shahani. In a country house near Skolkovo we were greeted with a table carefully set with unbelievable vegetarian food — Indian, of course. Spinach pancakes, veggie and potato sandwiches, caramelized rice with vegetables and cheese. And of course some wine to help the mood. One could see right away that the people living in this house know enough about good cuisine and quality of life, which is right down our alley.
Founder of “Laughter Yoga” club Anju Shahani invited Posta da VIP to her country house to tell us everything about the key points of laughter yoga
The quality of life in Moscow is not the same as in London, where our children are studying, or Hong Kong, where my husband and I lived for 10 years before moving to Moscow.
How did I get to the idea that the Russian capital could use laughter yoga lessons?
Russians hardly ever smile. And they laugh even less. The weather isn’t always helpful: it’s gray, it’s cold, business here requires speeds that make your head spin, even if you’re a very dynamic person. I understand it all too well — my own husband doesn’t laugh often, even though he is from India. When you’re in a serious business, there’s no time for laughing. You think?
But we should keep in mind, that such way of life negatively affects our health. There’s a reason for the saying: “Wake up in the morning and try to smile”.
The body is instantly charged positive and it launches all kinds of chemical processes, like those we have inside us when we’re really feeling good. In 2000, in Copenhagen, 10 000 people came together and... laughed all at once. This laughter experiment made the Guinness Book of World Records. And I kept coming back to the thought every now and then — what if we did something like this in Moscow?
So I started to tell everyone about “Laughter Yoga” and its benefits. Especially for any corporation, big or small, it can make a big difference in productivity if their employees are feeling good. One lesson of “Laughter Yoga” per week for example, before a meeting or a conference, is enough to make people feel much better. I’ve already taught such sessions and you can’t imagine, how much the performance of the employees improved, compared to when they were just sitting in meetings feeling gloomy.
How does “Laughter Yoga” work?
There are no particularly challenging asanas, only breathing exercises combined with special physical exercises, more specifically working on your abdomen muscles. My friends who met me before and after I started laughter yoga were quite surprised: “Anju, you’re looking so much better, and so slim, is this a new diet?”. But diets are one thing I can’t stand, instead I use a special rule: when I’m at home, I don’t allow myself too much. But when I go out with my husband or with the kids, we’ll go to a party or dinner in a good restaurant and I will not be at the table counting calories. We are there to enjoy life, so I’d rather find the time for yoga and sports than deprive myself of the pleasure that is a good dinner and a glass of wine in good company. On May 6th, as part of World Laughter Day, I invite all readers of Posta da VIP to experience the basics of laughter yoga in a first lesson with myself, and afterward we can have a chat during a delicious brunch. That’s the format I like — I love interacting with people and telling them about something I’ve learned myself.
I love people and I love communication. My husband often tells me: “Anju, how quickly you found friends in Moscow!”. My Russian friends are very much like me — we love going on holidays to the same places like Saint-Tropez or Courchevel, we love good cuisine, and we respect each others opinions...
I personally studied the principles of “Laughter Yoga” in Bangalore, with one of the best gurus, and I practiced it a lot in Mumbai as well. There people practice all kinds of yoga in city parks. By the way, my mother-in-law was elected the Queen of Laughter in 2002 — so she is very much involved in these lessons. Most people think that you can laugh when you hear a joke or something. But what I’m telling them is that when you are in a bad place mentally, like everything is going wrong in your business or you’re having trouble in your personal life — then you’re in not in the mood for jokes. But the special “laughing” techniques are different. You can use them no matter which mood you’re in, and you won’t even notice that there’s a smile on your lips, the next minute you’re already laughing and the body believes you’re feeling good and starts functioning in a very different way. We have all heard a million times how good positive emotions are for your health. Moreover, scientists showed us long ago that laughter therapy is a powerful thing that can heal and help. A one-hour lesson once a week is enough to keep you in good shape, giving your body a powerful charge for the next working week. In my lessons I also explain the techniques you can repeat when you’re back at home, between your laughter yoga lessons. 10 minutes a day is enough to make you notice the difference.
You can learn more details about “laughter yoga” techniques at www.laughteryoga.ru or on the Facebook page www.facebook.com/laughteryogamoscow
Posta da VIP suggests:
May 6th, 11 am, Ritz-Carlton hotel roof terrace
Tickets for the “Laughter Yoga” session and the festive Ritz-Carlton brunch are available at the Kaula-Yoga school, Bolshaya Lubyanka 24/15, entrance from the Milutinsky side-street, 3 floor. The price is 2500 RUR. Contact phone number: 8 (499) 638-28-88
I try to do sports three times a week, but if I’ve had several laughter yoga lessons, then I’ll pass on going to the Gym because I’ve already had all the cardio I need.