Laughter is the best medicine, or so we’re told. Especially when times are not particularly funny, like, well, now for example. (Ahem – was not going to mention the B word but things are really stressing me out in the UK right now!)
Indy Rishi Singh, founder of iLiving, is one of the founding gurus of Laughter Meditation and believes it could be the answer to World Peace in these slightly concerning times.
“Laughter opens up opportunities,’ he says. “A lot of logical and analytical people could really benefit from laughter meditation.” Indy believes that practising this positively-charged style of meditation could help people “live longer and be happier” and since it can be tricky to adopt a jovial attitude at the moment, it’s clear to see why laughter is making waves in the meditation world.
Traditionally, yoga and meditation aren’t associated with the giggles. You’re more likely to see focused faces in a class full of yogis, however the two forces work particularly well together.
“Laughter is a very under-utilised tool in the world of wellness,” says Indy. “It can help us to naturally deal with stress and enjoy better clarity. Meditating on laughter uses the same tools and techniques of neuroplasticity meditation where you treat and exhibit your emotions. It lowers cortisol, the hormones that create stress and confusion.”
As enthralling as laughter meditation sounds, the question stands as to whether people who are really annoyed could find it within themselves to break a smile, let alone laugh. Indy assures that “our bodies don’t actually know the difference between fake and real laughter. We shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously, we should be able to let go. The average adult laughs around 10 times a day, whereas children can laugh up to 100 times a day. We should allow ourselves to connect to our inner child and not worry about being judged.”
Referring to the infamous YouTube video, filmed on the subway in New York, where a woman laughing at her phone appears to set off a bout of laughter from everyone travelling on the carriage, Indy confirms that “laughter is contagious and infectious,” similar to that of a yawn.
In a world where it is deemed that we do not laugh enough, laughter meditation can help us to build our immune system whilst simultaneously treating our negative thoughts and emotions. “There will always be stress and depression in our lives, but laughter meditation gives you a completely natural high.”
Of course, meditation is an aspect of yoga too, and you may have heard of laughter yoga before you heard of its meditative cousin, but it’s all part of the same thing. Indy describes it as “a union between ourselves and a higher power” and that there are an infinite number of ways to practice it. “You can practice yoga whilst you’re cooking or reading – it’s about connecting to a higher force.”
Indy and his family come from a Sikh background which he describes as “serving others and giving back.” He believes the universe responds to us when we do something out of the goodness of our hearts.
“I wanted to be an inventor,” he says. An inventor of what exactly, he wasn’t sure, but it was when he discovered Indian medicine and the work of Aryabhata after a serious health scare that he became infatuated with this “obscure, Ancient science.” In fact, he loved it so much that he eventually dropped out of medical school so that he could focus on becoming a “nurtured and mindful teacher.”
“I wanted to show people the door. The moment they step through, they realise how good they feel.”
by Sophia Chettleburgh