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This Sunday, May 6th is World Laughter Day, a special day that can be celebrated by anyone, anywhere - All they have to do, is laugh aloud and rambunctiously, with no inhibitions. Celebrated annually on the first Sunday of May, the fun event was started by Indian physician, Dr. Madan Kataria.
His quest to make the world a happier place began in 1995, with the introduction of Laughter Yoga, a fitness class where yogis traded in the Downward-Facing Dog, for a combination of breathing exercises and uncontrolled laughter.
Though the first class was attended by only 5 students, word of this fun way of exercising soon began to spread and in a short time, laughter yoga classes began to be held all over the world. Today, there are over 6,000 clubs that offer this option in countries ranging from Australia to Kenya in East Africa.
Members get together everyday or at the very minimum twice a week, to 'exercise' by simply laughing out loud, waving their hands and making funny faces at each other, to keep the chortling going.
Besides bringing joy, the doctor also believes that the combination of impulsive laughter and breathing, helps stretch muscles and triggers the endorphins that make us happy - This in turn, helps release stress which, is the cause of many ailments.
In 1998, in an attempt to spread the cheer to non-yogis, the physician declared the first Sunday of every May, 'World Laughter Day'. Not surprisingly, it became in an instant hit. To make the event even more fun, Dr. Kataria suggested organizing the celebrations in public places so that other people could join in - Something that many cities all over the world are now doing. Some, even award prizes to participants with the best laugh - Someone who can perform this feat in an infectious, natural and effortless way, for absolutely no reason.
So what are you waiting for? Start practicing today and see if you can spend Sunday just cracking up! To check if there is an organized laughter event in your neighborhood, go to www.worldlaughterday.org.
Resources: laughteryoga.org, telegraph.co.uk