After a laughter yoga session plus film screening in Santa Barbara we gathered in circle to share comments, ask questions, etc. A woman announced that she had taken the training to be a leader with Jeffery Briar in southern california 2 years before but didn't really pursue leading LY sessions at that time. She explained that she is also a yoga teacher and was quite surprised that her students weren't becoming any happier and she noticed that she was becoming infected with the “serious” epidemic. She was thrilled that I had come into town to show the film and lead a session to inspire her to continue the path of laughter as medicine. I decided to connect with her to interview Sarah Uma Kane. - editor Bob Banner
Please tell us about your comment about being a yoga teacher for years and not seeing much "improvement." What do you mean by "improvement"? happier? More disciplined? Flexible?
What I witnessed in my years of teaching yoga was that the physical body became stronger, more flexible, and a deeper body awareness was developed. The mind was given something to focus on to draw the awareness back to the present moment. I also saw how people were using the postures to build self-confidence and how it also was strengthening the ego, by believing they where more or better if they could perfect a posture. What Laughter Yoga offered was an opportunity to get out of the mind, to magnify the absurdity of it's perceptions, to break free from looking a certain way, or acting appropriately, to laugh at all the ways the ego plays out. During a laughter yoga session I saw people become lighter, freer, and not taking themselves so seriously. I saw people become happier more joyful and therefore more peaceful. Is this not the goal of Yoga?
What has been your experience of being a yoga teacher around the idea and notion of "development" and awareness?
The idea of development is based on getting somewhere. Through the yoga asana (postures) practice you could see the development of your strength, flexibility, ability to focus your mind and enhanced awareness. In Laughter yoga your development was on acceptance of yourself right where you are without any need to improve or perfect, just allowing the joy to flow and express itself.
You took the LY Leadership Training with Dr. Kataria 2 years ago. Can you describe why you wanted to be a Leader? Did anything occur in your personal life that necessitated a shift? And what was your experience of bringing LY to Santa Barbara?
I was on a conference call with a group of visionaries and I felt the seriousness of our conversation. One man on the call was sharing how overwhelmed he felt I challenged him to see how his perception could shift if he would give himself permission to laugh more. I invited him to bring awareness to laughing more frequently throughout his day. The next call he shared how radically this had impacted him. I said can you imagine if there was a day when the world came together and laughed together, imagine a world awakening through laughter. When I got off the phone I was drawn to researching laughter and was drawn to Dr. Kataria's site and discovered there already was a World Laughter Day. I was so inspired by this concept and felt called to bring this to our community. I had been holding Global Oneness celebrations in our community for years and felt like this would be contributing to that. On this site I discovered a Laughter Leader Certification program with Jeffery Briar was being offered that weekend, so two days later I was in that training. I began to hold Laughter circles with the intention to build the energy for World Laughter Day. Our first World Laughter Day was a great success with about 100 people.
Please describe what happened to your enthusiasm for LY during the film and session this past week?
When I saw the film Laughology last weekend (July 25) it reignited my passion to share this message. I stopped holding these circles a couple years ago and I have seen in my own life how serious I have become. I also realized that I had been dealing with many health issues since I had stopped offering these circles. I realized once again that laughter is the best medicine.
What are your plans now for LY?
I am still unclear on what form it will take but I am clear that I am committed to laughing more and sharing my joy. I believe in the power of the Divine Fool to break us free from the spell of fear and separation and to unite us in the One Heart. This is my yoga practice.
Sarah is a Reiki Master and Yoga instructor in Santa Barbara. For more information about Sarah, please visit her listings and classes and workshops at http://www.sbwellnessdirectory.com/kane.htm
Bob Banner publishes HopeDance and is a Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher. His main site for laughter yoga activities is at http://www.hopedance.org/home/soul-news/1615. His Laughter Yoga Facebook page is: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Laughter-Yoga-in-SLO-County/358641835228