Conversations leap frogged around the room, and then lighted on a typical question asked, in the United States, when strangers gather socially. So, what do you do for work?
I sighed discomforted, while wondering what to say. When heads turned in my direction, I hesitated. I was in my wallflower, party mode. I wanted to give a quick response that would keep the attention moving right past me. But there was no way that was going to happen. To say “Laughter Yoga Teacher” is a conversation stopper. “What is that?”, I was asked. “I think I’ve heard about that somewhere!” People were curious and they were looking at me. I needed to rally and educate and invite them to come to my Tuesday morning LY club. I took a deep breath and started to explain.
When I mentioned that participation was free of charge one man, nodding slowly, inquired, “And does this group provide paid work opportunities for you?”. I heard him say the word “paid” as if it were underlined and sinister. Still feeling uncomfortable in the spotlight though, I wasn’t really registering the fullness of his question. I answered simply that a woman in the group had approached me recently about working with her as a laughter yoga coach. He nodded once more with what seemed like a wry smile. The conversation moved on.
On the way home, while reviewing the evening in conversation with Stan, I realized that the man might have been questioning my motives for why I lead my LY club. Doesn’t he think it possible to be motivated by something other than money? Here is the response I wish I had given him. Who knows, maybe he will discover Laughter Yoga for himself some day. Maybe he’ll even read this blog.
“I returned from LY teacher training in Interlaken inspired by Dr. Kataria and the stories I heard about Laughter Yoga clubs all over the world. Laughter Yoga is about health and rediscovering inner joy, individually and prescriptively for the world. “World Peace through Laughter.” It is irresistible to me in its hopefulness and contagion.
Laughter Yoga feels very empowering to me and I want to share it. Dr. Kataria encourages leaders and teachers to offer free LY clubs in our communities so that money does not dictate access. I embrace that notion and so I facilitate a free LY group once each week. My LY club is also a place where I am meeting new friends and deepening my connections to Burlington, Vermont, my new home. I am gaining confidence and letting go into more spontaneous silliness as I play on Tuesday mornings. It offers me weekly opportunities to both give and receive.
Laughter Yoga is my chosen work and needing and wanting to make money does not diminish it or me in any way. Monetary gain is not why I lead my Tuesday LY group, but if it does lead to business opportunities, it’s all good.”