Armed with a PhD in Philosophy from Mysore University and having done a thesis on laughter and humour elements in Sanatana Dharma, which is a celebration of life, Suchitra Kaul Misra seems all set to bring back laughter into people’s lives. The focus of this Bangaluru-based therapist is the application of humour as one of the most powerful healing energies in the world.
A certified laughter yoga teacher and accredited by Laughter Yoga International, Misra blends various healing techniques like quantum hypnotherapy and neurolinguistic programming to therapeutic humour and laughter. Many of her sessions are held at ‘Healing Garden’—a verdant and serene place outside her residence in Bengaluru. “Nature is all about time, and time heals. You can sit under a tree in the garden and enjoy the solitude and that’s when a lot of inner learning happens. It is easier to receive love and wisdom if the atmosphere is conducive to it,” says Misra. A Kashmiri Pandit, she lost her home and belongings overnight, and had to flee with a young child in her arms. It was her ability to see the lighter side of any dark situation and wear a smile always that helped her cope during those grim times.
Daughter of an Army officer, Misra always wanted to be a superwoman and help solve the problems of the world even as a little girl. She studied Literature but did not find answers there, so she took up Philosophy and Psychology. She did various courses in alternative therapies and discovered that these could work successfully with regular mainstream forms of healing as complementary techniques. Of course, laughter and correct breathing are always incorporated into every session.
Keen to walk the talk, she quickly put into practice on herself what she has studied and researched. She started laughter clubs and shared her experiences at parties, homes for the elderly and corporate programmes. Groups of senior citizens have formed laughter clubs which has become a strong support system for them. “What they really miss and long for is a loving human touch,” says Misra.
She has custom-made programmes for people to deal with grief, and also for those on a spiritual quest where she teaches them on how to cope with life’s transitions and to celebrate dreams. “We have forgotten how to laugh. In my sessions, we do not dwell too much on the past. I ask my clients two empowering questions—‘is there anything that you want to change in your life and what do people thank you most for?’ For corporates, I ask them to visualise their pet dream or project in great details and then I ask them about the obstacles. Since answers lie within us, they themselves come up with the solution,” she says, adding, “These days HR departments in firms has realised the importance of team building and trust issues, and have budgets allocated for programmes that work on these subjects.”
Pranayamas and correct breathing are a part of the whole healing and rediscovering process. Simulating a smile or a grin and breathing correctly can actually make you feel better as the brain cannot differentiate between genuine laughter and simulated laughter. As a child we were carefree, happy and in a state of bliss. That can happen in adulthood too, but it needs time and practice. “Then there are the three As—awareness, acceptance and action—that are very important. Everything we do is based on the emotional state we are in. We tend to magnify trivial things and blow them out of proportion. Sometimes when you look back and remember things that have happened, you find it quite silly or even amusing and may even laugh it off. If you can laugh at it now, why not laugh about it then?” she asks.
One of the emotions that Misra helps clients deal with is grief. “There are healthy ways to deal and cope with your emotions during these trying times. A healer can be a coping catalyst,” says the laughter therapist. What is close to Misra’s heart is the caregivers programme where those suffering from chronic depression, alcoholism etc. are cared for longer periods of time in a pleasant healing environment. It is a residential programme and has good accommodation facilities available for such patients.
For more, log onto www.laughteryog.com