Tag Archives: laughter clubs

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



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



    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.

    Merv’s Blog, July 2013

    I’m writing this newsletter at 35,000 feet as I fly across the Tasman Sea on my way back from the first ever New Zealand Laughter Yoga Conference. The Kiwis, by their own admission, are a “rather conservative lot”, and many jokes have been told by us Aussies about their main industry, sheep. As I was a guest, I was very aware of this point. I also reminded myself that Laughter Yoga is not about jokes and being funny, it’s about being fun. This is an important point to remember always in our Laughter Clubs also.

    The Conference started with a laughter session by one of their Laughter Leaders from Christchurch, Hannah Airey. As there were many people there who were being exposed to Laughter Yoga for the first time, she handled the situation beautifully, until we were all asked to lie on our backs on the floor and put our arms and legs in the air. Hannah then said “this one is especially for you Merv”. They all started to baa like sheep and laugh for no reason. It was at that point that I thought to myself…BRING IT ON ! ! ! (ha ha ha)

    An experience beyond belief

    The next two days were filled with a once in a lifetime, and life changing experiences. I know this, because this is what people were telling me during, and after the Conference, whether they were new to Laughter Yoga or not. We laughed and we played and we sang and we danced for two whole days. It was exhausting, exhilarating, inspiring, challenging, rejuvenating, and any other emotion that ends with an “ing”

    What I learned was…

    I can’t even start to tell you here the new information that I learned so I won’t. The GRRREAT news is that the whole Conference was captured on video for others to see. This video will be for sale shortly and the proceeds will assist the ongoing development of Laughter Yoga in New Zealand. If you buy one and don’t enjoy it, or learn at least one new thing, then I will personally give you your money back.

    I now have more friends…and I’m not talking Facebook

    It was a wonderful experience to meet Amazon from Japan again, as well as some other Kiwis who have come to our Conference before. But more importantly, it was the experience of making new friends, that weren’t of the imaginary ones like those on Facebook. These were real people connecting in real time with others of similar interests. My congratulations and gratitude for their hard work and hospitality, goes out to Lynda and John Andrews. You both epitomize everything that is Laughter Yoga.

    The 2013 Australian Laughter Yoga Conference

    The next Conference I’ll be heading off to, is the All American Conference at the end of August. Full details can be found at http://2013.laughteryogaamerica.com. But for many of you, and closer to home, the next chance that you have to get some of what I’ve just had, is the 2013 Australian Laughter Yoga Conference. This will be held at The Vibe Hotel in Sydney on the 19th and 20th October. Registrations will be opening shortly, and an agenda of presenters is being assembled. So put these dates in your diary and watch out for the next newsletter for full details.

    [pl_video type=”youtube” id=”we3C7gKDCms”]

    Laughter Yoga On 60 Minutes Australia

    In a lifetime of reporting, no one has ever asked Charles Wooley to go out and find ‘happiness’.

    Reporters get assigned to droughts, floods, earthquakes, wars and misery aplenty.

    But the elusive subject of human happiness? Where do you begin?

    In Australia, people are living longer and richer lives than ever; yet they’re still complaining.

    So Charles ventured forth on a strange journey of self-discovery to find out why we are so unhappy and how to put a smile back on our dials.

    [pl_blockquote cite=”Charles Wooley, Anchor 60 Minutes Australia”] “In all my wanderings in the pursuit of happiness, I never really got happier than in the most infections atmosphere of this quite mad, but loveable, group of laughter clubbers.”

    See http://sixtyminutes.ninemsn.com.au/stories/8354017/the-pursuit-of-happiness for the full transcript of this segment on the pursuit of happiness featuring Laughter Yoga.

    [pl_video type=”youtube” id=”A97EqMtAiVM”]
    Reporter: Charles Wooley
    Producer: Danny Keens

    What Is Laughter Yoga?

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    Read more.

    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, 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

    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:

    Note to Laughter Yoga Professionals: follow the news! They are filled with leads and inspiration.

    It’s easy: all you have to do is look here once a week.

    This week:

    Depression is on the rise. Know your statistics. Quote official sources. This is invaluable in helping  your prospective  clients understand that Laughter Yoga is not a frivolous expense but a very valid investment. What we do is scientifically proven to work.

    Caregivers need Laughter Yoga. Have you contacted your local groups lately?

    More and more people are making Laughter Yoga their full time job. Network. Learn from them.

    Seniors need to laugh and greatly benefit from it. There are 75 millions of them out there. Why not contact your local retirement communities.

    What’s happening around the world can help you. Apparently ” the school syllabus somewhere in India has an entire chapter about laughter clubs and the importance of laughter to human health. If it’s done there, it could be done here. Why not contact your local schools and propose a demo session to either staff or students?

    Are you hesitant to take action? Know that we have been working for months now on creating  an online Laughter Yoga University to train, help and support professionals in the field. Check it out. It will be completed soon and provide you with all the tools  and knowledge you need to be successful.