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Kathryn Kimmins, USA: Laughter has been my best buddy as far back as I can remember. I grew up with a father who loved to make people laugh. He was always smiling and laughing. As a young child I was very sensitive – I mean super sensitive. If you looked at me, I thought you were either talking about me or laughing at me. I wish Laughter Yoga had been part of my life back then. I might not have been so self conscious and unsure of myself.

Many times I found myself alone and crying. My best friend at the time was my dog, Perky. He listened to me, showed compassion and empathy, without judging me. Though I was insecure, fortunately I was also unbelievably resilient. So many times we’re told when we’re young,

“Be quiet, stop talking, this isn’t the time or place to laugh.” So when is?

One day while visiting friends of my parents, I came running to my dad crying that their children were ignoring me. He sat me down and told me that if I could make them laugh, they would want to play with me. Everyone loves to laugh.

It turned out that I was a natural laughter catalyst. All I needed was permission to laugh and my father’s encouragement. Laughter was my way of releasing the everyday hurts of being a child and teenager. I learned very young if I wanted to feel better all I had to do was laugh.

You’ve heard the expressions, Laughter is the best medicine, or laugh it off, well even when I was young I knew how important it was to let go. I never forgot these expressions and lived by them through the tough times and the good ones. So instead of crying, I laughed and regained my perspective on life in a positive way.

In 2002 I started my journey to becoming a Holistic Practitioner delivering through spiritual guidance, ‘Hands on Healing’ encompassing Reiki, CranioSacral Therapy and Touch for Health.

I was aware that I needed another technique to add to my personal “healing tool box”, but was not sure what that might be until 2010. It was then I heard about Laughter Yoga, and started attending weekly sessions for the fun of it. There, I realized again how laughter could release pain, stress, frustration and loneliness. My missing “tool” had been found!

Laughter Yoga gave me the opportunity to be silly, tap into my child-like spirit, and be around others who love to laugh and to share this unique concept with those who had forgotten how to laugh.

In March, 2010 I became a Certified Laughter Yoga Leader. Since then I have facilitated Laughter Yoga presentations in several organizations, public schools, day cares, colleges, universities, retirement homes, financial institutions, recreation centers, Alzheimer’s support groups, brain injury/cancer clinics, health and wellness events, retreats, hospitals etc.

Helping people to bring more laughter and joy into their everyday lives so they can live a healthier lifestyle has now become my joy, my passion, my love.