Laughter Yoga at Sanata Dharma University Yogyakarta


Emmy Liana Dewi, Indonesia: On Monday, 27 August 2012, the atmosphere in Sanata Dharma University Yogyakarta – Indonesia was different than usual. Their Paingan campus is usually peaceful and quiet, but that morning the atmosphere was lively and joyful. From a distance you could hear booming laughter that echoed through Dross meeting hall on the fourth floor of the campus’s main building. Residents of the village surrounding the campus were attracted by the repeated chants of “Ho-ho, ha-ha-ha!” The noise came from more than 300 Guidance and Counselling students practicing Laughter Yoga under the guidance of Emmy Liana Dewi, a certified Laughter Yoga teacher from Laughter Yoga Indonesia.

The event, organized by Sanata Dharma University’s Guidance and Counselling study program to raise the awareness in students through Laughter Yoga, was the first of its kind. More than 300 students, lecturers, and invited guests practiced child-like movements that made the participants laugh spontaneously, and many of them were drenched in sweat. The participants laughed heartily together while practicing a number of exercises as instructed by Emmy. The barriers that stand between students and their lecturers were broken, as everyone moved, laughed, and chanted “Very good, very good, yeah!” in unison with a happy spirit.

The Laughter Yoga session was preceded an open lecture by Dr. Kwartarini Wahyu Yuniarti from Gadjah Mada University on Positive Psychology. The lecture entitled ‘The Globe on Your Hands’ aimed to introduce the basic philosophy of well being, and was combined with a laughter session.

Budi Sarwono, one of the lecturers of the Guidance and Counselling study program and the initiator of this event said, “Laughter Yoga is very beneficial for future counsellors because it helps promote positive well being. Billions of rupiah have been invested by the people of Indonesia by participating in workshops and trainings that focus on finding ways and reasons to be happy. With Laughter Yoga, future counsellors can always laugh and be happy and joyful for no reason by practicing techniques that are easy, do not cost a lot of money, and work instantly. And they can share it with their students or counselees to promote positive well being.

Dr. Gendon Barus, head of Sanata Dharma’s Guidance and Counselling study program expressed his satisfaction with the event, and hoped that the skills taught in the workshop would help future counsellors prepare for real-world experiences. He also hoped that the future counsellors will be able to develop simple dissemination methods that can be applied to their counselees. “The future of this nation depends on people who can be happy for no cause,” said Dr. Barus in his closing remarks.

Overall, the event was lively and entertaining. Sefin, a student who gave a testimony after the Laughter Yoga session said, “I had a headache before the workshop, but after the laughter session my body feels refreshed.” Another student also experienced instant relief from the migraine she had suffered. “Very good...., very good..., yeeeeaaaa...” (By: Budi Sarwono).