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.
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.
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.
Over the next two months there will be three amazing Laughter Yoga Conferences available for us to attend. These Conferences are run to entertain, educate, and challenge our thinking regarding Laughter Yoga. A variety of presenters are always informative, and provide heaps of value. They are experts in their respective fields, and provide real life stories to inspire and motivate you. So if you’re thinking of taking Laughter Yoga to the next level, or would just like to be brought up to date, here are the ways that you can do it.
Conference Number 1. Perth Western Australia
Due to the size of our “vast brown land” it was decided this year to have a West Coast, as well as an East Coast Conference. Janni Goss and the folks in Perth have done a GRRREAT job in putting together the first ever Perth Conference. There will also be a five day Teacher Training by Sebastien Gentry from the USA, along with a one day Professional Refresher Course. All of the details can be found at http://www.laughteryoga-australia.org/2012-conference/west-coast-conference.html.
Conference Number 2. Melbourne Eastern Australia
The 7th East Coast Conference will be held in Melbourne Australia. There will be all of the features of the West Coast Conference, plus One and Two Day Laughter Yoga Business Training. This training has been developed to give you the hints, tips, ideas, and ability to “cash in” on any financial opportunities that may come your way. The marketing module also allows you to proactively pursue Laughter Yoga opportunities that are out there at present. Satisfaction, along with a money back guarantee, makes this training an offer too good to refuse. Information on this Conference can be found at http://www.laughteryoga-australia.org/2012-conference/conference-flyer.html.
Conference Number 3. Chicago North America
Every year I make the trek across the Pacific to attend the All American Laughter Yoga Conference and I’m never disappointed. Put together by Sebastien Gentry, it is a not to be missed event if you’re looking for an “out of Australia” experience. This year it’s in Chicago and the early signs are that it will be the best ever. Details of this Conference can be found at http://2012.laughteryogaamerica.com/.
Deakin University Study complete
I’m delighted to announce that the Laughter Yoga Australia and Deakin University School of Psychology study has been completed. My thanks go to Dr Melissa Weinberg, Research Fellow and Lecturer at Deakin University, and her team of five post-graduate students. Kathy Marshall, Director of Nursing and Operations at the Eastern Health Peter James Rehabilitation Centre. Adrian Quintarelli, General Manager Occupational Health and Safety at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute. More than three hundred people who attended the sixty Laughter Yoga sessions. And last, but certainly not least, the ten Melbourne based Laughter Clubs and their members who participated.
All that’s left to do now is collate the data and then write the reports. All of the details will be published on the Laughter Yoga websites when it’s complete.
The primary reason why Dr. Kataria named “Laughter Yoga” as such was because he incorporated Pranayama, the ancient science of yogic breathing, into the laughter exercises. Laughter Yoga is therefore a form of Pranayahahama
According to yogic philosophy, we are alive because the cosmic energy from the Universe flows into our body through the breath, which is the life energy force or “prana.” The very essence of our life is breathing. Whenever we get stressed or experience negative emotions our breathing becomes irregular and shallow, thus affecting the flow of prana in our body. Laughter helps reverse that process.
Here are some of the traditional Pranayama exercises that Laughter Yoga utilizes:
Kapalbhati is a famous yogic exercise that entails contraction of the throat and palate muscles and entails a jerky and rhythmic movement of the diaphragm to expel air in a series of bursts. This is precisely the foundation of the HO-HO, HA-HA-HA exercise between each laughter exercises.
Bhastrika and Swash Shuddhi are similar yogic exercises used to clean the respiratory passages in forceful jerks of breathing and the rhythmic contraction of lung and throat muscles – the very same muscles and actions used in Laughter Yoga during the HO-HO HA-HA-HA exercise and other playful laughter.
More traditional yogic exercises used in Laughter Yoga include:
Talasana is the yogic stretching of arms and exercising the neck and shoulders while taking a deep breath.
Simha mudra is the famous lion laughter of Laughter Yoga, which entails keeping the eyes wide open, fully extending the tongue, and roaring like a lion.
“Yoga is not an ancient myth buried in oblivion. It is the most valuable inheritance of the present. It is the essential need of today and the culture of tomorrow.” – Swami Satyananda Saraswati
Yoga is the science of right living and, as such, is intended to be incorporated in daily life. It works on all aspects of the person: the physical, vital, mental, emotional, psychic and spiritual.
The word yoga means “unity” or “oneness” and is derived from the Sanskrit word yuj which means “to join.” It is a means of balancing and harmonizing the body, mind and emotions. It includes many mental and physical disciplines.
The most popular of these disciplines in the Western world is Hatha Yoga, an approach concerned with balancing the energies through body postures (asanas). Hatha Yoga is primarily a solitary practice with no group interactions.
Here is a list of the other most popular branches of Yoga:
Bhakti Yoga is the spiritual practice of fostering loving devotion (bhakti) to a personal form of God.
Jnana Yoga is the “path of knowledge”
Karma Yoga is the science of achieving perfection in action
Raja Yoga is concerned principally with the cultivation of the mind using meditation techniques
We live in a world where very few things can make people laugh, while hundreds can make them frown, howl and cry. Many people lose track of the therapeutic values of laughter when stress and adversity knock at their door.
“Why should we laugh?” they say. “It doesn’t pay the bills.”
Society teaches that problems are serious and need to be addressed seriously. Laughter, on the other hand, is often perceived as frivolous and only relevant in its proper time and place.
There is a different way to look at this.
Laughing in the face of adversity won’t pay your bills, but it will teach you equanimity. It is not about strength, but courage, because it’s about letting go. Only one who knows how to create a balance between the favorable and unfavorable situations can maintain mental balance and composure. Life is not always fun, but it certainly is much more fun with laughter than without.
Practices such as Laughter Yoga and the Laughter Wellness method help you feel at peace and good about yourself in the present moment, for no particular reason. They give you the ability to laugh at things that previously would have caused stress or anger, along with the ability to experience a new sense of forgiveness.
When you change, the world around you changes. When you feel good, you are more likely to address the challenges you have to face constructively and with a positive attitude.
You can laugh when you want to, because you want to, if you want to. You can train yourself to react positively in the face of adversity. Whatever happens to you, whether pleasant or unpleasant, doesn’t matter at all. Nerve impulses are just that ─ nerve impulses. They mean nothing.
Choosing to remain positive and be comfortable with your imperfections and the challenges in your life does not mean you have to be complacent about them. You should not. Laughing about them is a sign of maturity. It’s a political act, a declaration of freedom, a demonstration that we are not afraid, that we refuse to let fear, anger, guilt or resentment win and rule our lives.
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 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:
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.
This 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.
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:
The difference between fun and laughter? You can have fun without laughing. Some people, sadly, can even laugh without having fun. To my knowledge, there are vast collections of studies about the healing powers of laughter and humor (read this), or participate in the Laugh Lab (http://www.laughlab.co.uk/) study about what’s funny. But I still haven’t found anyone researching the physiological, psychological or sociological benefits of fun. Continue reading →
According to a variety of surprisingly uninformed sources, there’s at least a slim (or fat) chance that the apocalypse, currently scheduled for 2012, probably won’t happen until 2013. This could be considered good news. I am nonetheless certain that for those who are around to have a retrospect it will do little to ameliorate the anticipated impact. That doesn’t mean we should be any less prepared. Though it does raise the question: how, exactly, does one prepare for the apocalypse?