news Tuesday, May 05, 2015 - 05:30
Written by  Vijayta Lalwani

World Laughter Day - the first Sunday of May - may have come and gone, but plans to set up a “Laughter University” are not a joke. Mumbai-based physician Madan Kataria, started the Laughter Yoga movement in 1995, and is in the process of setting up a university dedicated to the laughing arts. Speaking to The News Minute, Kataria claims that laughter yoga has been scientifically validated that the body cannot differentiate between forced and real laughter. Though real laughter is contagious, he says that forced laughter has more benefits and reduces stress levels. “I have combined laughter with breathing exercises which allows anyone to laugh without using jokes, humour or comedy,” he says. The website of the Laughter Yoga University says that its mission is “health, happiness and world peace”. Asked how laughter could bring about peace for the world, Kataria says: “Peace inside is peace outside. Laughter makes you into a more loving and caring person. Community laughter groups and international groups of consciousness are spreading world peace. We cannot eliminate war but we can definitely spread laughter.” The university conducts workshops in schools, colleges and businesses, and also offers different types of certified learning courses in laughter yoga therapy. Kataria says he has obtained 18 acres of land in Chikkaballapura district, construction is set to being within three months. If you’re wondering what degree the university will get you, you might be in for a pleasant surprise.  Kataria says the course at the university were “non-academic” and the idea was more of “an independent certification programme”. Asked if it wasn’t a misnomer then, Kataria said that there was any issue, it would be “the UGC’s problem, and not ours”.