Sukumar Satpathy

Neeta, London: Laughter Yoga has become a growing family connecting people worldwide and many Certified Laughter Yoga Leaders & Teachers have become great friends. Technology has made it much easier for laughter leaders to stay in touch especially with Facebook & Skype. Here is an example of a Laughter Yoga Worldwide Exchange with Nita from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia who is a Yoga teacher and did Laughter Yoga Leader training in March 2009. She describes her journey and experience with her new Laughing family.

Neeta: I first joined Laughter Yoga in 2008 and after awhile, I started introducing simple laughter exercises (10 mins) into all Hatha Yoga classes that I teach. I completed my CLYL in 2009 and my first step was to expand the Laughter Yoga part in my regular classes to a minimum 20 minutes and at least once a month I would lead regular laughter groups. I have always been attracted to retreat work and so I started introducing Laughter Yoga in the workshops and retreat I lead.

For example, for a full-day retreat I would allocate time to sun salutation, breathing exercises, guided relaxation, and meditation, yoga dance, some silent time as well as Laughter Yoga and silliness. In fact, some days I may start and end the day’s schedule with laughter as a form of ice breaker as it is super effective. Then we break for lunch and we may try batik painting for a few hours in the afternoon, and laughter continues to be part of our day. I usually end the day with a sharing circle and people, who may have been strangers before that day, sit in communal circle to share their stories and experiences and we learn and find affirmation and support from each other, as we continue our journey of growth and hopefully, find joy, peace and healing.

My personal aim in presenting workshops and retreats is to share with others ways in which we can engage our minds, bodies, soul and spirit, tools that we can take with us and engage in our own unique journeys when we go away from the retreat.

Laughter Yoga Exchanges and Soul Connections!

Every time I travel abroad, I would find and connect with various yoga groups, including laughter groups so that I could share and exchange what I love with others.

Melbourne, Australia: In Melbourne the results were truly bountiful! I accepted Carolyn’s invite, but as she was away the first few days of my visit, her husband Des picked took me to the park where their laughter group gathers. There was lots of laughter and silliness and we all shared stories over coffee. I was particularly moved by Des’ story of how he survived cancer thrice in his life. The first two times he was diagnosed with cancer, Des underwent the usual medical treatments including chemotherapy and was declared cancer-free after each time. When the cancer came back a third time, by then he had been “converted” by Carolyn and had started meditating 20 minutes daily and laughed out loud all by himself for10 minutes everyday.

With this practice, he gradually healed himself of cancer. His doctor who was monitoring the cancer cells was amazed, and when he saw how the cancer had shrunk after three months, he did not put Des under any therapy and asked him to continue what he was doing and come back in another three months for further monitoring. Soon the cancer completely disappeared from Des’ body. Of course, through it all, he also maintained a healthy diet. He now promotes the benefit of Laughter Yoga and continues his daily practice.

I was touched and grateful that he shared this story with me the first day we met. I now share his story with every laughter group I meet because I believe that the more we share our stories the more healing take place. When Carolyn came back to Melbourne we met a couple times more. Meeting her was like meeting a long-lost soul sister. We connected immediately! We were also passionate about many similar interests, including Body Balance, Reiki and alternative methods of healing. I have come to treasure both Carolyn and Des’ friendship the short time I was there and continue to count them as friends today, special soul friends.

Port Alberni, Vancouver Island, Canada: I was invited to spend a weekend in beautiful Port Alberni, located on the Western tip of Canada. We were five women and each brought a gift to share. Mona shared her beautiful home with us, and made us feel so at home, especially in her lovely hot-tub! She also gave me the gift of a hypnotherapy session. Beautiful Penny and Maryam shared their love for creating nutritious and super yummy food with us. Sharon brought drums from various cultures—African, Middle-eastern, South American, hippie…whatever! And I brought Laughter Yoga and my batik paintings. We ate, drummed, danced, talked and laughed through it all. Throughout that weekend, five women who didn’t know each other all that well bonded as sisters.

Laughter Yoga and Retreat Ministry: When I first arrived to work at Queenswood, a retreat centre in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada I was eager to share the joys of Laughter Yoga with everyone. People came there to reconnect with themselves and others at a soul level, through personal retreats, group retreats and workshops. The gift I received was the joy of being able to share with many people who have never heard of or done Laughter Yoga before. I came to understand that in the retreat ministry, I am a sower of seeds. I share my experiences with others, we all laugh together and I may never see some of them again. But the connection was made and we have exchanged gifts of laughter, experience and growth.

Personally, I learnt to let go and surrender. I sow the seeds everywhere I go, and then trust that those seeds will take root and grow in their own unique divine timing. I let go of results and trust that each person will leave the retreat centre with what they need in their own spiritual journey.