Stop being serious and laugh with Hasovan!

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Hasovan in Sanskrit means 'the laughing grove'. It organises wellness therapies for private groups, NGOs, corporates, and creates programmes for individuals. Writing about Hasovan is not an easy task. It is not only a startup, it is a style of life, a philosophy. It's about people and their interactions with the rest of the world; it's about everything and only about laughter. It's so serious to be funny.

Hasovan Founder Savitha Hosamane had never had the aspiration to be an entrepreneur. Something happened during a night of mad job hunting, when a friend called her and hinted at entrepreneurship as a possible end to that tedious research.“I clearly stated that I had no money, no idea to start anything new at that point of time” says Savitha. Nonetheless, her sub-conscious mind pushed the idea forward, until it threw the pebble to the very conscious other-side of the brain. It hit in the form of a creative paper Savitha had written a long time ago.

“In my quest for joy, happiness, health and laughter, and an inner expression I had envisioned of treating people with doses of laughter as a figment of my imagination. The beautiful pieces of my expression, where I had described people get injected with laughter made me laugh to the core of my being,” she says. She wanted to make people happier, but solving their problems was simply impossible. Instead, she decided to create a space entirely dedicated to laughter.

Medical research on laughter began only a couple of decades ago (mainly in the US and Europe), but it has produced evidence enough to consider it an effective medical therapy. This research focuses on the close correlation between emotions with specific parts of the body. “Anger has negative effects on heart and blood circulation; stress on skin and stomach” explains Savitha. Simultaneously, laughter has beneficial effects on immunity, pain tolerance, blood pressure, longevity, and illness symptoms (Bennet&Lengacher , Mora Ripoll).

Hasovan's working principles are Mantras (concepts), Yantras (devices) and Tantras (therapies).

Mantras Hasovan organises workshops to spread awareness about the importance of laughing, by focusing on three main mantras: 'Laugh at yourself', 'Love yourself', 'Live moment to moment'. Activities enhance flexible creative decision-making; improve focus and attain work-life balance; connect and communicate with self and much more.

Yantras Hasovan uses bio-medical devices to support their activities. These include Laughter Quotient – an Android based application that helps determine the Laughter Quotient of a person; and the Laughing Chair - an intelligent seating arrangement for relieving stress patented by the company itself. Moreover, it is working on further increasing their range of products.

Tantras aka techniques to de-clutter the mind and relax it completely. These are long-term meditative laughter therapies proposed and explained during workshops to relax the mind and add joy. These are followed through all the time by the Hasovan team, which assist participants at any point.

It is well known that the mind has powerful effects on the body. Consequentially, if we induce ourselves to positive thinking, we can be our best healers. “The problem is that influencing our minds is not as easy,” elaborates Savitha. “Some people consider themselves happy just because they suppress their anger, but this just prolongs and increases the pain.”

She adds: “Laughter requires intelligence – to laugh, you require a presence of mind, a quickness of seeing into things. Humor needs utter presence. It is not a question of analysis, it is a question of insight. Laughter is one of the natural mechanisms of releasing our trapped emotions, tensions, worries, stress and -in short- our entire negative emotional baggage that are suppressed and repressed.”

Few years ago, Savitha suffered a psychosomatic disease which made her limbs itch. After consulting doctors and praying in temples for years in vain, she found the definitive solution only in laughing. This opened up a world of learning about the physical and psychological benefits of laughter and motivated her to spread awareness. Nonetheless, she rarely shares this experience because she doesn't want to appear pitiful. “My scope is to spread laughter, not pity!” she exclaims.

Savitha's venture so far has been funded by her personal savings and it partially sustains through the wellness programmes. Revenue is little, but Hasovan is partnering with associations in India and abroad such as the Osho Institute of Meditative Therapies and SteveWilson&Co to diversify the activities and expand its reach. At the moment 1000 participants have been involved in wellness therapies; 200 people have used the Laughter Quotient app; and 50 the Laughing Chair. Feedback was very positive and the team – which is now expanding to include permanent collaborators- is working to experiment more. Collaborations with more associations and engineering colleges to improve devices are also on the agenda.

Hasovan is a very niche enterprise – pioneering indeed, both in India and in the world. It has a big potential because it is backed by substantial (despite emerging) academic research and by growing interest from the medical sector. It is based on a simple concept applicable in any environment to any sort of people, as laughing is a natural instinct every human being has.

However, to be viable it needs effective means to publicise itself. One of the major challenges for the company is to explain to people that laughing for health benefits is not simply an abstract concept. Hasovan can help to recognise the effects of laugher which are not always visible, and to create a laughing habit for those who don't find it easy. But the team needs to polish its channels of communication, as so far it has been focusing on improving its services and products. The team's publicity strategy relies mainly on newsletters, but should explore other avenues such as social media or campaigns to expand on e-commerce.

To support the positive change and spread the laugh, check Hasovan website and calculate your LQ (Laughing Quotient) with the app, which will be on Google Play Store soon!!

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