Has life become too serious for you? Do you find yourself going days or weeks without laughing?
I certainly used to. I was in a job I hated and that filled my head with negativity and my body with rigidity.
In 1998 while in Mumbai, India, I read a newspaper article about a group of people that gathered every day in a nearby public park to laugh. It piqued my interest because they shared no jokes and didn't use any form of comedy. Instead they laughed purely for the sake of feeling good, just because.
I was puzzled but chose not to go and investigate. It would have taken a full one hour, and I was too busy complaining I was too busy. I mean, why would sane adults do this anyway? What was the point? This was ridiculous and they had to be crazy. Anybody can laugh like that. Ha ha ha. Done.
I quickly forgot about it all, and was so convinced I could laugh anytime anywhere that it took me 6 years to realize that I never did.
Eventually my heart took me back to Mumbai and its laughter clubs. I learned to laugh every day as a yogic practice using an exercise regime created by a medical doctor in 1995 called Laughter Yoga. This was a big turning point for me. I discovered how good laughing could make me feel and how easy it was to laugh, even when everything in my life seemed to be going astray. It was so profound that it triggered a cataclysmic reaction in my brain. The mask fell. I stopped being who I thought I should be and started being who I really wanted to be. I learned to always take full responsibility for my actions and how they made me feel. This did not change my life. It still is much better than that. It changed me.
The more I practiced and taught this exercise regime, the more I discovered complementary techniques that help to bring joy into everyday life. I also started to understand the underlying wisdom from both the East and the West that all these techniques pointed to. In time I combined this knowledge into a method that I call Laughter Wellness. It includes the Laughter Yoga approach of simulated laughter exercises, and expands its approach by offering a clear process that is easy to follow, and adding a greater variety of techniques and activities, insights, games, dances, songs and more – all glued together with lots of laughter.
This introductory course will introduce to you the founding principles and key techniques of Laughter Yoga and the Laughter Wellness method, and how they can help you as an individual laugh more (we won't go into how to teach group sessions).
No particular equipment, clothing, or physical abilities are required.
What your personal history is doesn't matter. Who you are now is perfect and most appropriate.
All can practice and benefit, with or without limbs, because this method revolves primarily around the breath and attitude (it's of course going to be more fun if you have limbs because these allow for more movements.)
All you need is a big smile and the willingness to try something new that only adds and doesn't take anything away. This is a "yes, and" approach to life, not "yes, but."
My goal is not to persuade you of anything, but rather to make you conscious of what is available to you. As Zig Ziglar once said, "no man is clever enough to remember everything he knows." There is always value in being reminded of what's important.
This video is the recording of a group laughter session led by Sebastien Gendry at the Pasadena Laughter Club in Pasadena, California.
There are several thousands of Laughter Clubs around the world. Each is independent. They do not report to nor receive orders from anybody. Most are free and public. Each class leader has his or her own style and set of techniques, but the core activity is always the same: people get together just to laugh as a form of exercise.
Click here to find a Laughter Club near you
Learn how to start a Laughter Club
Buy a DVD of a Laughter session on amazon.com: standing, sittingParticipate in a group laughter session Preview 01:03:53 The method we are going to explore together has played a major role in shaping who I now am. I spent the first decade of my adult years in an inner state of confusion. I conformed with society and what I thought was expected of me: my father had worked hard all his life, so I too worked hard. In my… About Sebastien Gendry Preview 02:57 + – Framework 6 Lectures 20:26 I made the following observation is my years of traveling, teaching hundreds of Laughter Professionals around the world. In the East when you say "laughter is good for you", people usually reply something along the line of " This is great! Show me. " In the West however the same statement usually… Why should we laugh? Preview 01:05
Here is a joke:
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Two farmers meet. One sells a cow to the other. Money is paid cash. The cow is to be delivered 1 week later. On delivery day however, the cow is brought but it's dead. Upset, the buyer asks for a refund. The seller refuses to give the money back, claiming that he has already spent it. The buyer decides to keep the dead cow. They each go their separate way.
A month later they meet again. The seller is surprised to see that the buyer has a very positive change of fortune. He asks what happened. "It's the cow!" says the man. "It was a true blessing for me."
"What do you mean?" asks the puzzled seller who knows he has been most unethical in this business. A dead cow is worthless.
"I gave it away as first prize in a lottery and sold 10,000 tickets for only $5 each" says the buyer.
"Didn't anybody complain?" wonders the seller.
"Only one person"
"What did you do?"
"That was easy. I gave him his $5 back."
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Did this make you laugh?
At best you have chuckled for a few seconds.
Imagine reading this same story everyday for the next 50 years. At which point do you think it will stop being funny?
Humor is wonderful, but it has serious limitations.
This is not a reliable approach if you want to laugh daily for a solid 10 minutes or more for the rest of your life.
Now try this: play the audio file at the top of this page (right below the title "How can we laugh more") and laugh along for as long as you can.
Yes your mind will know that you are faking it, but your body won't because it can't.
Your body can't think. It can only feel.
Fake it with enthusiasm for as long as you want and you will get significantly more happy chemistry than if you were genuinely laughing, for the simple reason that you will be laughing longer.
Humor does make us laugh, but only for seconds at a time.
Choose to laugh and you can keep going for hours on end. The only limit is that of your stamina.How can we laugh more? 14:43 Feelings and emotions do not exist in thin air. They require a very specific chemistry to exist. You don't "walk" into a cloud of anger, sadness, love, etc. What you feel is tied to specific muscular engagement patterns. Try to truly "feel" happy and relaxed as you tense your body, cross your arms a… Motions create emotions 01:22 Many associate choosing to laugh with acting silly. I could not disagree more. It is important to make the distinction between silly and playful, because the way you understand and perceive your own behaviors has an impact on the energies you place behind them and therefore how they affect your self… Playful, not silly 01:24 Laughter is a form of Pranayahahama (Pranayama with a happy attitude). It is a variation on a key Pranayama exercise called Kapalbhati, a famous yogic exercise that entails rhythmic movements of the diaphragm to expel air in a series of bursts (this is exactly what happens when you laugh). Pranayama… The link between laughter and Yoga 01:02 Faking laughter is fine, but not all forms of faking are born equal. You will get out of your practice exactly what you put in. Fake it with sincere enthusiasm and you will get the maximum benefit. Consider the fake smile versus the true smile. It is believed that the Duchenne smile (named after the… Importance of sincere enthusiasm 00:47 + – Happiness is a skillset 5 Lectures 01:12:50 90% of your long-term happiness is predicted not by your external world but by the way your brain processes the world. It is said in India that fate is what happens to you, and destiny is what you do with it. What really matters is the way you respond to what happens to you, because that's the only… Happiness is a skill than can be learned 02:59 Important reminders before we laugh together 07:00
You can buy the DVD version of this video on amazon.com1-1 practice session #1 22:51 The following video might be disturbing to some of you, yet it shows very well the power laughter can have to diffuse tension. Gita Fendelman is a retired tax lawyer from Tucson, Arizona. Several years ago she was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. In this video she talks about the “ha ha” mantra a… The Ha Ha Mantra 01:29
Using the principles she teaches, Pragito Dove M.A.,C.C.H., transformed her fear and pain into joy and inner peace. Dove is founder of the Laughing Buddhas Network and an internationally recognized author, meditation master and hypnotherapist. Her first book, “Lunchtime Enlightenment” (Penguin Group,2001), was published in five languages. Her new book ”Laughter, Tears, Silence: Expressive Meditations to Calm Your Mind and Open Your Heart” was released in March 2010. http://www.discovermeditation.comLaughter and tears meditation 38:31 + – Empower yourself through your thoughts 7 Lectures 01:28:09 Here is a different take on the question "what you do you really want?" What that is doesn't really matter just now. The pit of human desires is endless. Even if you are unclear about your ultimate life mission, think of something important that you want or would like to have in your life now. Next… What do you really want? 01:59 It took me several years after I became a Laughter Professional to realize that I was missing something very important in my life and personal practice. I laughed lots, meditated daily, very rarely complained, and overall was a very optimistic person who achieved lots. My life however was filled wit… Change your questions, change your life 01:11 There are many ways to laugh. How could you do it differently? In the following video we are going to practice simple movements that are associated with laughter. Think about the physical activities that you already have. (How) Could you add laughter to them? How can I do this differently? 00:11
You can buy the DVD version of this video on amazon.com1-1 practice session #2 32:23 In 2006, the pastor of a Kansas City church told people in his congregation he wanted them to test their limits. "The one thing we can agree on," said Rev. Will Bowen, "is there's too much complaining." And so he asked the group to give up complaining, criticizing, gossiping or using sarcasm for 21… How long can you go without complaining? 01:26 A big part of what creates challenges in people's interactions and makes many miserable is the power struggle. One believes he knows better than the other and tries to impose his or her opinion. Here is an easy way to change that. Try the "yes, and" method. Here is an example: " You want to smoke? Y… Yes, and 02:07
The moment you say “yes” to life the power of life goes to you. Discover what can happen when you embrace “yes” and abandon the restrictions of “no”. Through personal stories and laughter coaching tools Dan and Jill share the challenges and the rewards of saying ‘yes’ to your life!
Dan and Jill Johnson believe in the power of unconditional laughter to heal our bodies and our spirits, to de-stress and to create community. Jill is a yoga teacher and a certified cardiac and cancer yoga therapist. And Dan is a Certified Laughter Coach with The Levity Institute’s Certified Laughter Coach Training Program. Jill and Dan live in South Dakota where Jill is co-owner of a yoga studio, and Dan is a life coach and massage therapist. They’re owners of Joyful Living, a business that brings more joy to your personal and business life through laughter! www.joyfullivinglife.comAlways say yes 48:51 + – Empower yourself through your environment 2 Lectures 24:45 Who and what are you allowing into your life today, and do they inspire you or not? If you want to have more laughter and joy in the future, you need to address what's preventing this from happening now. Consider the following: Wean yourself off the daily news juice. Reading / talking / watching ne… What do you feed your mind? 00:51
You can buy the DVD of this video on amazon.com1-1 practice session #3 23:54 + – Practice laughing alone 5 Lectures 01:01:05 How to laugh alone 49:12 This is a more dynamic and physical approach to a solo laughter practice. It has the advantage of being a full body workout as well. Try it out and see if it works for you. The Five Tibetan Rites is a system of exercises reported to be more than 2,500 years old. I have shamelessly added laughter to… The Five Laughing Tibetans 04:57 I learned this powerful meditation from Oscar Visquert, a Laughter Therapist from Spain. Chakra are commonly described as energy centers in the spine located at major branchings of the human nervous system, beginning at the base of the spinal column and moving upward to the top of the skull. They ar… The Chakras Laughter Meditation 03:34 Gibberish is a language of sounds without meaning and generally involves hand and body movements to try to convey meaning. Children speak gibberish when learning to speak. It is a Sufi healing technique used to help people release tension and negative emotions in a safe and non harmful context. It w… Gibberish and let-go 00:31 Decide To Laugh Say yes to life and laughter. Actually just say yes to anything and everything all the time, and mean it. As Patricia Ryan Madson puts it "Accept all offers. Go along with the plan. Support someone else’s dream. Say "yes"; "right"; "sure"; "I will"; "okay"; "of course"; "YES!" Cultiv… More solo laughter exercises ideas 02:50 + – Wisdom of Yoga 1 Lecture 00:38 Yoga teaches that health and happiness require the following five components: Peace of mind : control of your emotions is the key to health and happiness . The WORRY approach to stress management also makes that same point very clear: W hy think of the worst? Focus on the best possible outcome. Be … How to achieve health and happiness 00:38 + – Science of happiness 2 Lectures 01:19 The new field of Positive Psychology has extensively studied what is now knows as the science of happiness. To summarize volumes into few short sentences, we now know that humans can survive but will never truly thrive without each of the following four elements: Belief system : you need to believe… Science of happiness 00:37 Here are a few scientifically tested ideas that, if done for just 2 minutes a day for 21 days, will rewire your brain to work more optimistically and more successfully: Each day write 3 new things that you are grateful for (Emmons & McCulough, 2003). Your brain will start retaining a pattern of posi… Happiness exercises 00:42 + – Jest for the fun of it 1 Lecture 04:20 Humor is powerful and must not be overlooked. The downside is that it is cultural and short-lived. The upside is that it is all over the internet and a few simple search can keep you laughing for days on end with lots of new material. Try this: Go online Do a search on youtube for Eddie Izzard or … How humor can help you 04:20 + – Playing 4 Lectures 55:13 During the course of their working lives, most people lose touch with the sources of their personal power. Play and laughter, especially when they are whole-hearted, whole-minded, whole-bodied, lead to an experience and expression of personal power. When people play and laugh, and play and laugh ful… Why playing is important 01:18
In this keynote address funsmith Bernie DeKoven talks about the psychology of fun and journeys on the playful path that enrich people's lives. During the course of their working lives, most people lose touch with the sources of their personal power. Thirty-five years ago, while developing a curriculum in theater for elementary school kids, Bernie made two discoveries that changed his life and some small but significant parts of the world: fun is fundamental to happiness, people can be taught how to have more fun. He eventu
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