Tag Archives: laughter club

Laughter Insights, July 2013

In This Edition:

  1. Editorial
  2. Three $150 scholarships available for the 2013 All America Laughter Yoga Conference
  3. Upcoming life-changing trainings
  4. Of interest in our online store

Editorial

Hello,

there is a saying is French that says “happy people have no history.” I am not quite sure about that.

The people I meet who are truly shining from the inside out have all faced major – sometimes very traumatic – adversity and greatly suffered. They each had to face the darkest night of their soul.

Why didn’t they die? What is it they did to be reborn out of their own ashes?

Each is a sample of one and I am not trying to draw general conclusions here, but I still observe that all have one thing in common: laughter marked a turning point in their lives. The methods they used are varied: Norman Cousins inspired many to seek humor everywhere starting in the 1960s with his miraculous recovery from a life threatening condition listening to jokes and watching funny movies (see the movie “Anatomy of an illness” for free online); the clown-doctor Patch Adams was so sad as a youth that he tried to kill himself three times before he realized that he could infuse his life with love and meaning through clowning and laughing with others (watch his TEDx testimonials). His example inspired the creation of thousand of hospital clowns groups starting in the 1970s who have since worked with 100,000s of patients. Closer to us is the worldwide Laughter Yoga phenomenon and its associated many thousands of social Laughter Clubs (find a Laughter Club near you) where people get together just to laugh, because they can, without using jokes or comedy. Of all approaches to laughter, Laughter Yoga has been so far the most succesfull because it was the first to democratize the use of laughter by turning it into a form of exercise (learn more). Laughter Wellness is now carrying the torch even further.

Because there is no historical and therefore no cultural context on a big enough scale for adults choosing to be happy and joy-filled in our society, this type of behavior is often perceived as either bizarre, funny, or silly. It is accepted as a form of entertainment but no more.

If that’s your opinion you just don’t know what you’re missing. Laughing is indeed entertaining, but that’s a free bonus. This is not why you should do it. It heals. It empowers. It connects (watch this 2 minutes videos of one man laughing at a tram stop). Each time you laugh you create a tsunami of happy and healing chemicals that you want, need, but could not pay for (assuming we knew how to manufacture them, which we still don’t.) There is more: choose to laugh as often and as much as you want. It will force you to choose to live and reframe the question “why is this happnening to me?” into “why is this happening for me?”

You don’t need to be happy or have a reason. Laughing “with” is not the same thing as laughing at; accepting your vulnerabilities is not a sign of weakness, but rather one of power because it gives you control over your fears and teaches equanimity wrapped in compassion.

Someone explained to me recently that our happiness setpoint is 50% genetic (that part can’t be changed), 10% circumstances and 40% intentional activities (the outcome of what you do on a regular basis).

You can lift that level up by practicing new habits.

There is hope. You can change. Here is how:

  • Put laughter to the test, now
  • Join or start a Laughter Club
  • It’s only once per year and it’s happening soon: participate in the 2013 All American Laughter Yoga Conference (Vancouver, BC, 8/22-25). Above and beyond the education and the networking, this is where you will meet walking miracles, litterally. This conference will be streamed and available online for a small fee. Read more and sign up.
  • Laughter Coaching has arrived! The American School Of Laughter Yoga now proudly offers one-on-one phone (or video-conferencing) laughter sessions that are tailored to your specific needs and will leave you feeling much better within 45 minutes. Every member of our team of professional Laughter Coaches has a PHD (Predominantly Humorous Disposition). They will help you unblock your clown chakra and boost the level of your humorglobins, guaranteed!

May July see you thrive!

All smiles

Sebastien Gendry
Paris, France
July 14th, 2013

Three $150 Scholarships Available For The 2013 All America Laughter Yoga Conference, Vancouver, BC, 8/22-25

Thanks to generous donors and the American School of Laughter Yoga’s own commitment to match all donations received we currently have 3 financial scholarships of $150 each available as a discount towards the registration to the 2013 All America Laughter Yoga conference that is happening in Vancouver, BC, next month. Read more about this event at http://2013.laughteryogaamerica.com

To benefit, sign up for this conference and enter the discount code SCHOLARSHIP-150 (it is case sensitive) in the indicated box below your conference selection (valid for the main 3 day events only).

Contact us for more information. These scholarships are available on a first come first served basis.

We look forward to sharing and laughing with you in Vancouver!

Upcoming Life-Changing Trainings

  • It’s only once per year and it’s happening soon: participate in the 2013 All American Laughter Yoga Conference (Vancouver, BC, 8/22-25). Above and beyond the education and the networking, this is where you will meet walking miracles, litterally. This conference will be streamed and available online for a small fee. Read more and sign up.
  • Upcoming Life-Changing Trainings

    www.laughteryogaamerica.com/level1

    www.laughteryogaamerica.com/level2

    Laughter Yoga Business Training

    Online: open 24/7/365

    Can’t come to a training? Then the Laughter Online University is for you. Get a a solid, reliable and up-to-date laughter education (and continuing education!) that’s peer-reviewed and validated.

    Of interest in our online store

    Best sellers

    New this month

    Do you need Laughter-Yoga related t-shirts, iphone covers, bags or other home accessories that come with a 30 day money back guarantee? If so then this will be of interest to you.

    Laughter Clubs: for free or for fee?

    We promote Laughter Clubs that are free and public. Thousands around the world volunteer their time to make them happen, freely and unconditionally, from the heart as an act of service.

    We are often asked how these people can make a living if they don’t get paid. The answer is that getting paid is not their intention and this is not how they make a living.

    People who (want to) make a living with Laughter Yoga offer Laughter Yoga classes, presentations or workshops. Getting paid is expected. There is a fee to attend. The event leaders have to train and practice first so that they can deliver a service that is of value. It’s a different public and a different logistic. Where Laughter Clubs are easy-going (you pretty much do what you want; anybody can do it) Laughter Yoga classes are and must be of a professional level otherwise people won’t come back.

    There is no conflict between free and for-fee events. Actually, they complement each other. Every person we know who is professionally active with Laughter Yoga leads a free Laughter Club (note that “free” does not mean that you can’t have a donation box). It’s where they can to practice and refine their skill. It’s also their marketing window.

    On a different level, generosity leads to abundance. Selflessness leads to joy

    From the volunteers’ perspective, Dana or donation is one of the few deep values of generosity left in the world, where something precious is offered without charge. Laughter Clubs strive to honor this noble tradition of Dana, so that the practical wisdom they share on the art of living is kept free from pollution and misunderstanding.From the student’s perspective, Dana is a way to attempt to act in the same way as the teaching is offered, freely and unconditionally from the heart without expectation of return. Through Dana as students we offer our support to the ongoing work of the teachers. So when we give Dana, we do not give for ourselves, but so that others may continue to benefit from the teachings. If donation is given with this attitude, then it is purifying both individually and collectively.

    How many times in a day do we give to others our time and money with the thought of getting something in return? We are trained habitually to expect a return; we work and expect remuneration, we are kind and polite expecting friendship and civility, we buy expecting a certain kind of product. If the expected or planned return does not materialize then we suffer!

    The giving of motiveless or pure donation transcends our habitual patterns and as a result is free from the suffering of expectation and instead full of the joy of selfless action. The practice of giving unconditionally in all aspects of our lives is a very deep Yoga. To give is to let go; the sorrow and tension lie in holding on and holding back.

    The Dalai Lama was once asked why he is always so happy, he replied after contemplation “Perhaps it is because I spend every waking moment thinking about the welfare of others”. There is no higher gift that can be given to others than these sublime Yoga teachings. So by giving donation we are aiding the welfare of everyone. We should give what we feel we are able to while also maintaining the attitude described above. It is not so much to do with how much we give but the attitude of mind as we give.

    The Buddha once said “Some provide with the little they have, others who are affluent don’t like to give. An offering given from the little one has is worth a thousand it’s value”. There is a universal law that requires great courage to explore. This law says, the more we give the more the divine provides for our true needs. The more we forget ourselves in the service of others, the more secure and fulfilled we feel. The more we stay present, the more the future is taken care of.

    As students our gifts of time, money and energy to the Laughter Club we attend, upholds it and bears well for it’s future.

    Merv’s Blog, April 2013

    Operation New Zealand

    There is about to be an injection of Laughter Yoga into New Zealand. Laughter Yoga Australia, in conjunction with Laughter Yoga New Zealand, has put together a package that has something for everyone. A venue has been secured about fifty kilometers out of Wellington, at 5 Emerald Glen Road Paraparaumu, that is to die for. It’s an historic homestead with 11 acres of farmland. More importantly, we have done a GRRREAT deal for all those who will be attending. Imagine food, and a conference, for just $199 NZ. Come on, you can’t stay at home for that price ha ha ha.

    The 1st New Zealand Laughter Yoga Conference

    The main event will be the 1st New Zealand Laughter Yoga Conference. This will run from 7pm Friday 28th June, to 4pm Sunday 30th June. There will be heaps of laughing and learning, and a talent and party night on the Saturday. There are world-class presenters, and the full program, along with registration details, will be online shortly atwww.laughteryogaaustralia.org.

    2 Day Laughter Yoga Leader Training

    On the 27th and 28th June, there will be a 2 Day Laughter Yoga Leader Training. This training will equip you with the tools to be able to go out and start your own Laughter Club. This training is ideal for people wanting to start a community club, or a Laughter Club in their workplace. The cost of this training is $395 NZ.

    1 and 2 Day Laughter Yoga Business Training

    On the 24th and 25th June there will be 1 and 2 Day Laughter Yoga Business Training. This training is for those who wish to take advantage of the commercial opportunities that are becoming available presently. This is the same cost as the Leader Training at $395 NZ for the two days. The cost for one of the days is $195 NZ, and more details can be found athttp://www.laughteryoga-australia.org/trainings/business-training/141-2-day-business-training.html.

    5 Day Laughter Yoga Teacher Training

    The 5 Day Laughter Yoga Teacher Training will go from the 24th to 28th June. This is the highest level of training that is being offered, and is ideal for those who wish to get serious about taking laughter to the world. For a total cost of just $795 NZ, you get the 2 Day Laughter Yoga Leader Training ($395), 2 Day Laughter Yoga Business Training ($395 also, so you’re already ahead), and a day full of everything else. At the end of this training you will be ready to take on the world with Laughter Yoga. As a special bonus, anyone who books any of theses trainings before the end of May will receive 3 months unlimited coaching for FREE ! ! !.

    Be a part of history

    So here are the questions you need to ask yourself. Do I want to be a part of history by attending the 1st ever New Zealand Conference? Do I want to be a part of a worldwide social movement that’s changing the world? Do I want to improve my own life, and of those around me? If the answer to any (or all) of these is YES, then sign up now. Send me an email at mervneal@laughteryoga.org if you’d like to register, and if money’s an issue, then payment plans can be organized by request. Hope to see you there.

    Read more about Merv Neal

    Merv’s Blog, March 2013

    Laughter Yoga? ? ? I’m inspired ! ! !

    With the rise of Social Media through the use of Facebook, Twitters, Blogs, and the like, it appears that everyone (myself included) is now an author(ity) on everything. I find myself getting more and more frustrated by starting to read something with a Killer Headline, that just turns out to be the same old regurgitated information, not even said in a mildly interesting way. I’m afraid that most of what I read just doesn’t INSPIRE me.

    What is Inspiration

    This led me to have a look at what the word INSPIRE means. And what I found was amazing. Apart from the traditional meaning which is to “fill someone with the urge or ability to do something creative”, I found out that it also means to “breath in” or “inhale”. I then found out that the Latin word for breath, is Spiritus, which also means spirit. So when we laugh and exhale, we then inhale or inspire, spiritually.

    Laughter is Spiritual

    This then added another element for me about Laughter being Spiritual. I have heard from other blog authorities that Spirituality is about being connected. This can be to a higher being or intelligence, or in fact to each other. It’s often said that meditation is spiritual, and is about connecting through the breath. This then to me became my “aha” moment. Which then led to another “aha” moment. That moment was, when people get inspired, or have an inspiration, they say “aha” and place their finger in the air. Which, when I wrote it in this newsletter, had me say “aha” again. Look at the letters that make up the word “aha”. And when you say it, you smile…and may even laugh. Aha ha ha ha ha ! ! ! .

    Laughter and Exhalation

    At our Melbourne Laughter Club recently, we’ve been experimenting with this concept of exhalation. What we’ve tried to do is exhale until we can’t do it any more, and then laugh. While the laughter is very strained, we can certainly exhale even more air than normal. This means of course that the inspiration is even greater. One of the things that we noticed, which was of concern, was that people who tried this exercise felt very light headed, even though they were experienced Laughter Yogis.

    Hyperventilation

    This process is called hyperventilation and it occurs when our oxygen levels get too low. When our Carbon Dioxode levels get too high we automatically breathe. This is not the case if our oxygen levels get too low, so we can experience blackouts. If this experience happens when we are swimming, it’s known as Shallow Water Blackout, and people have drowned because of it.

    The solution

    So the message is simple really. Laugh responsibly. Remember that to get all of the benefits offered to us by laughing, it needs to be Unconditional (without jokes), Hearty (from the belly), and Constant (done for an extended period of time of between 15 and 30 minutes). Make sure that it’s not forced or excessive, and I’m sure you’ll never have any problems. As the Good Doctor (Kataria) has said. “I’ve never seen anyone die from laughing, but I’ve seen many die from not laughing”.

    Read more about Merv Neal

    Merv’s Blog, February 2013

    Laughter Yoga Training for 2013

    While it is critical that we provide Laughter Clubs and presentations for commercial enterprises, we can only do this with trained leaders, teachers, and trainers. For this reason, we have established a comprehensive calendar of training throughout Australia for 2013. The training dates and locations will be advertised on the Laughter Yoga Australia website http://www.laughteryoga-australia.org.

    2 Day Leader Training

    2 Day Laughter Yoga Leader Training is a prerequisite for anyone wanting to lead a Community Laughter Club. OK, so you just roll up and go “ho ho ha ha ha” for half an hour. How hard can that be? You’d be surprised. Not knowing who will be there, why they’re there, what they expect, what they want, and then deliver without fear, is a challenge worth pursuing. However, the rewards (non financial of course) are huge.

    5 Day Teacher Training

    The 5 Day Laughter Yoga Teacher Training is for those who wish to “train the trainer”. At the completion of this course, you will be able to conduct 2 Day Leader Training courses, and have an extended understanding of the Spirituality of Laughter Yoga. This training is ideal for those who wish to take Laughter Yoga to external parties, such as schools, aged care facilities, special needs groups, hospitals, and prisons, to name just a few.

    1 and 2 Day Business Training

    The 1 and 2 Day Business Training has been created for those wishing to make a living, or a business, from presenting Laughter Yoga to commercial organizations. Trust me, the game changes when there’s money involved. This training will teach you how to create a killer BIO, how to present to different organizations so they enjoy your work so much that they want you back, how to create a business plan, and then how to market yourself. It also comes with 3 month’s unlimited phone and email support to ensure your success.

    Online Training

    Now there are certain situations that may prevent you from attending any of the above. It could be timing, distance, finances, or availability. If this is the case, then we have Online Training to fill this void. While nothing will ever replace the ability to learn “face to face”, this is the next best thing. It’s being used by several organizations very successfully at present, so it could work for you. It also allows you to complete the training at your own pace.

    Annual Conference

    This year will see the running of our 8th (consecutive) Australian Laughter Yoga Conference in Sydney in October. It will take a different approach, look, and feel, this year. There will be two days of specialized half-day workshops, targeted at commercial organizations, on the two days prior to the Conference. The Conference will be on Saturday and Sunday, once again targeted to commercial organizations. There will also be 5 day Training, and 1 and 2 Day Business Training thrown in for good luck. Put simply, there is something for everyone. Hope to see you there.

    Read more about Merv Neal

    Merv’s Blog, January 2013

    Deakin University Laughter Clubs Report Released

    Happy New Year everyone. Well I’m delighted to announce that the final report from Deakin University has been released. This was the one that was conducted on ten Laughter Clubs, and their members, throughout Melbourne.

    The Process

    What happened was Laughter Club members were asked to complete an extensive questionnaire just before a Laughter Yoga session, another one just afterwards, and then another two over the next two weeks after each Laughter Yoga session. They were being measured on the same things that the other participants of the other reports were, with the prime objective to see how Laughter Yoga impacts on their Wellbeing.

    The major findings

    What was found was not necessarily unexpected, but no less interesting, when we compare this study to people who had never done Laughter Yoga before. After their Laughter Yoga session, the positive measures of General Life Satisfaction increased by 8.7%, Personal Wellbeing by 5.2%, Mood by 3.8%, Self Esteem by 2.6%, Optimism by 3.7%, and Control by 1.5%. The negative measures of Stress decreased by 5.3%, Anxiety by 4.7%, and Depression by 0.9%. Over the next two time periods, most positive measures remained constant. In other words, Laughter Yoga is required on a regular basis to maintain any benefits that were obtained. When it came to the negative measures a different story emerged. Stress and Anxiety continued to decrease the more Laughter Yoga sessions that were done. There’s the power of the process right there.

    Summary and recommendations

    It was concluded that Laughter Yoga has an instant effect, and makes people feel immediately better. The trend throughout the program was that participants were generally happier and more satisfied with life after participating in their Laughter Yoga session. It was also determined that it appears to be an effective intervention to increase general Psychological Wellbeing, and to reduce negative emotions. Most importantly though was the following and I quote “It is promising to see that LY continues to be effective at increasing mood and reducing negative emotions over time. That is, participants do not become immune to the effects of LY”. Pretty cool hey ! ! !.

    Thanks to all involved

    So, as this study comes to an end, I would like to officially acknowledge the following people for their commitment and involvement. Dr Melissa Weinberg and her team at the Deakin University School of Psychology, Adrian Quinterelli, General Manager Occupational Health and Safety Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Kathy Marshall, Director of Nursing and Operations Peter James Centre Eastern Health, and the leaders and participants from the ten Melbourne Laughter Clubs who participated.

    A Research Study Report Copy

    If you would like a copy of this, or any of the other reports, please don’t hesitate to contact me at mervneal@laughteryoga.org at any time.

    Read more about Merv Neal

    Laughter Insights, June 2012

    In This Edition:

    1. www.laughteryogaamerica.com is new again
    2. Recent news of interest
    3. Your 21st Century Laughter Yoga education center has arrived and it’s online
    4. The early bird discount for the 2012 All America Laughter Yoga Conference ends on 6/19
    5. Upcoming 2-day trainings with a Master Laughter Yoga Trainer: Gain a Leading Edge in Wellness
    6. Upcoming 5-7 day Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher Trainings: take your practice to the next level
    7. New products in our online store

    www.laughteryogaamerica.com is new again

    We have a brand new website: www.laughteryogaamerica.com is born again! Expect more, better, with less clutter. Discover the Laughter Wellness program, a unique method that takes Laughter Yoga from excellent into remarkable. No jokes. If you are new to Laughter Yoga we recommend you look at the following 5 pages:

    Free resourceslaughter exercises, laughter quotes, games, videos, research and more

    Free listing in our online world directory of Laughter Professionals:http://www.laughteryogaamerica.com/maps/

    Free monthly Laughter Insights newsletter (subscribe and receive 7 gifts)

    Online continuing educationover 40 hours of content to help you deepen your laughter knowledge and learn lots of new techniques and exercises. Open 24/7/365. 30 days money back guarantee. From US$79.

    E-books and DVD downloads (instant access):

    Trips to joy planet and back: upcoming Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher Trainings (all the following trainings are bundled with our online Certified Laughter Wellness Instructor training, a $199 value. Rread more at http://www.healinglaughter.org)

    Recent news of interest

    Your 21st Century Laughter Yoga education center has arrived and it’s online

    We launched the Laughter Online University in February and while we know that all the courses we offer are excellent, we could not be more pleased and awed by their impact on people’s lives. We have received shining testimonials from veterans Laughter Yoga Teachers and people new to this method, as well as already helped bring Laughter Yoga into Dubai (UAE). Read more atwww.healinglaughter.org/blog/category/success/

    What we offer is unique: it is a full education and support system open 24/7 and designed as a training aid for Laughter Yoga students, a skill- and confidence booster for new Laughter Professionals, a brush-up for part-time Laughter Professionals, and a toolkit for experienced Laughter Professionals. Expect it to grow with you. We offer 4 memberships to meet you where you are. Tuition starts at only $79. You can become certified for only $199.

    30 day money back guarantee. Your purchase is 100% risk free. There are no hidden fees. See http://www.healinglaughter.org (our affiliate system is coming soon. More info at the bottom of that page.)

    The early bird discount for the 2012 All America Laughter Yoga Conference ends on 6/19

    Don’t miss the most important Laughter Yoga event of the year! The 2012 All America Laughter Yoga conference will take place this year on 9/20-23 in Chicago, IL. Expect 3 days of laughter, inspiration and learning. The early bird discount ends on 6/19. All prices go up 10% after that. You can stay onsite for only $22/night! If you want to get a cheap plane ticket, now is also a good time to buy it. Current prices won’t last. Read more at http://2012.laughteryogaamerica.com

    Upcoming 2-day trainings with a Master Laughter Yoga Trainer: Gain a Leading Edge in Wellness

    Learn the essential techniques to add more laughter and joy into your life and that of others. Become certified to deliver Laughter Yoga and the Laughter Wellness program to individuals, groups and companies. Experience a refreshing and innovative practice that provides a whole new approach to stress-management as well as physical and mental wellbeing through laughter! Read more about Level 1 with Sebastien Gendry.

    In case nothing is happening near you, why not organize a training and invite us to teach? We have a map, do travel, and love win-win scenarios. We also offer customized training that fit your needs. Contact us.

    Upcoming 5-7 day Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher Trainings: take your practice to the next level

    The purpose of this training is to deepen your professional understanding of Laughter Yoga and the practice of Joy, as well as learn to to train Certified Laughter Yoga Leaders. Read more about Level 2 with Sebastien Gendry

    New products in our online store

    You are going to love this. Expect instant access!

    We are transferring our entire video library to DVD downloads (over 40 hours of professional content). Keep checking our online store for new releases.

    How the worldwide LY social movement manifests “on the ground”

    This article details how people around the world are spreading its message of joy, health and world peace through laughter in a variety of projects that include Laughter Clubs, World Laughter Day, Universities of Joy, and more.

    Laughter Clubs

    Laughter Clubs are local gatherings of people who just want to laugh as a form of exercise, and choose to feel good about themselves and the world they live in with other like-minded individuals.

    While they do not belong to any tradition in particular, they are a primary door of expression for people who practice Laughter Yoga.

    What is unique about them is that they are all fully independent, not-for-profit, non-political, non-religious and non competitive community-based associations of diverse people who choose to be happy. Everyone is welcome. Each club defines its own meeting frequency. They do not report to anybody, are not told what to do, and do not pay royalties.

    Laughter Clubs are not limited by language differences. Laughter has no accent.

    People come together to Laughter Clubs with a common purpose that provides social support. It’s a form of social glue. They provide a sense of belonging and of being involved in a worthwhile cause.

    Because we have a common method and shared values, laughter club leaders and members form a global network to share ideas and to give each other encouragement and inspiration. Through this network the method improves continuously. New exercises are always being invented and we are discovering necessary cultural adaptations, too.

    Laughter Clubs promote observances of World Laughter Day (the first Sunday in May).

    They are intended to be a free, social, community-based initiative of motivated individuals.

    In 2011 there are an estimated 6,000 Laughter Clubs in over 70 countries on five continents, and there is a rapid growth in countries of Asia, Africa and South America. Click here to find a Laughter Yoga Club near you.

    Laughter Clubs are a primary force on the ground for peace. The first Laughter Clubs in the Middle East for example were created in 2005 in the countries of two archenemies: Israel and Iran. Today there are several dozens of Laughter Clubs in each of these countries.

    Here is what happened in Iran. You may remember the riots and massive bloodshed in Teheran that followed a contested election in 2009. What did Teheran’s City Council do in an desperate effort to lighten up the mood in the city when everything else had failed? They sponsored more Laughter Clubs, and it worked.

    There are now several Laughter Clubs in countries formerly at war, with "tight" regimes or experiencing marked political and social tension:

    World Laughter Day

    The idea to dedicate one day of the year to laughter as the expression of a desire for world peace came to Dr. Kataria in 1998.

    The first “World Laughter Day” gathering took place in Mumbai, India, on 11th of January, 1998. 12,000 members from local and international Laughter Clubs joined together in a mega laughter session.

    “HAPPY-DEMIC” was the first World Laughter Day gathering outside India. It took place on 9th January 2000 In Copenhagen, Denmark and more than 10,000 people gathered on Town Hall Square. The event went into the Guinness Book of World records.

    Dream 1: Universities of Joy

    Dr. Madan KatariaThis is a worthy goal with an interesting story that shows how powerful the vision of one man can be.

    For years Dr. Kataria (featured in the image on the right) has been dreaming of five "Universities of Joy," one on each continent. These are not "academic" Universities but rather educational centers that will provide all the necessary knowledge and comprehension of the rapidly spreading concept of Laughter Yoga.

    The thing is, he has not just been dreaming about it. He has let everybody know about his dream, wrote about it, shared his vision; over, and over, and then over again with unrelenting enthusiasm.

    For years many kept telling him that this was a pointless pursuit because such a project would cost a phenomenal amount of human resources and money that he didn’t have – until 2009, that is.

    In 2009 a wealthy Indian man died and donated enough money to get this project started with the first center in India. Land was bought, an architect hired, and the first steps of the construction started.

    Inspired, an American philanthropist offered to help and is currently looking for an appropriate piece of land in North America.

    This project is still on Indian time and much remains to be done before anything is completed. When will that be? The answer is the same as with the timing for World Peace: in due time.

    When that will be is not Dr. Kataria’s concern. All he does is focus on what he can do in the present moment to the best of his abilities in a spirit of selfless service. For the rest he trusts that what is meant to happen will happen when it’s supposed to for the highest good of all involved.

    We have all much to learn from such an attitude.

    Click here to read more about the "Universities of Joy.

    Dream 2: SS Shanti, a mobile university on a ship

    This is another of Dr Kataria’s dream: a huge ship called SS Shanti (Peace Boat). It will sail around the world, connecting different people from different cultures through Laughter. It will have an on-board museum and host Laughter festivals and training programs.

    SS Shanti

    Dream 3: Cultural exchange program

    The idea behind the cultural exchange program is to give people an opportunity to understand each other’s culture, values and build a strong network of like-minded people who believe in love, laughter, joy, kindness, compassion and generosity. The implementation of this program is still in its infancy and done at this stage by people who either already know one another, or pro-actively contact local Laughter Club Leaders in areas they want to visit.

    Dream 4: Laughter townships (Hasya Nagari)

    The Laughter Yoga Foundation plans (there is no set timeline) to create community living townships of happy people. Its vision is to have a ‘Laughter City’ on the outskirts of each and every major city of the world.

    From dream to reality: private initiatives that contribute to a better world

    Dreaming does not stop laughter enthusiasts from being active in their community.

    There is not enough space here to list all the private initiatives that people around the world have undertaken on a volunteer basis to bring laughter to others in need and help build a better world. Societal change is happening, and it’s happening from the ground up. Here are a few videos that illustrate a small portion of what is being done:

    Merv’s Blog, April 2012

    Online Everything…does it really work???

    There have been significant discussions and advancements recently about Online Everything throughout the world. We have computers, laptops, iPads, iPods, mobile phones, and even smart phones that can deliver Skype, webinars, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, websites, emails, SMS, and on and on it goes. It appears that there is an inevitability that (for the short term anyway) Online Everything is here to stay…but does it really work???

    Pros

    OK so let’s have a look at the positives here and why Online Everything is becoming such an integral part of our lives? Well it’s quick, easy, cheap, simple, manageable, organized, timely, can be done by one to many, done anywhere you have access to the internet, and can be done in your pyjamas. In short you don’t have to leave your house or even your chair.

    Cons

    And the downside is…there is no emotional, mental, physical, or spiritual connection to another human being. We say that it “connects us” to others when in fact in “disconnects us”. Our relationship is with the device we are using. Commenting more broadly obesity and mental illnesses in young people have been linked to the sedentary behavior (both body and mind) involved with Social Media.

    So how does Online work with Laughter Yoga?

    There is certainly a place for Online Everything and Laughter Yoga. From training to webinars, Skype chats and phone hook ups, laughter is everywhere. Having been involved with Laughter Yoga now for nearly ten years I have at some stage used them all these methods at one time or another. But if we relate to the Good Doctor’s latest book, The Inner Spirit of Laughter, there is more to this stuff than just laughing. It is the connection between human beings where the magic starts. Laughter is just a part of it. There is nothing as amazing as laughing face to face with another person. Every time I attend my Laughter Club, or train folks on Laughter Yoga, or attend a Laughter Yoga Conference somewhere in the world life long relationships are made. This has never happened to me via the internet.

    What do we have planned here in OZ for 2012

    So for 2012 here in OZ we have some GRRREAT Face to Face Laughter Yoga experiences for you to be involved with. As far as Conferences are concerned we have them on the Gold Coast, Perth, and Melbourne this year. We also have Laughter Yoga Business Training at these same events. We have Teacher Training happening in Perth and Melbourne. And we have Laughter Leader Training in every state at different times. I think you’ll agree that we have something for everybody everywhere.

    Read more about Merv Neal