Laughter Yoga Taught Me Acceptance

Sukumar Satapathy

Anne Timpany, USA: When I first heard about Laughter Yoga, I knew immediately that it was something that I must do; it resonated with every cell in my body! But at the time, I didn’t know that Laughter Yoga would answer a deep question I’d been pondering on, a question with life-altering effects.

Last winter, I had set out to explore what it really means to live the word “Namaste.” We hear it often and say it fairly casually, but as I thought about what it really meant (“the Divine in me sees the Divine in you”), I realized that I had truly experienced this deeper awareness only occasionally in flickering moments here and there, while the rest of the time it remained an intellectual concept, relegated to the mind and oft-forgotten. And so I decided that I wanted to genuinely learn what it would be to live my life as an authentic expression of “Namaste.”

It wasn’t until I began doing Laughter Yoga that my experience of living “Namaste” began to come alive in a big way. Laughter, as it turns out, is a natural yet powerful means of connecting with others, and laughing while intentionally making eye contact with people is profoundly transformative! By the time I finished Laughter Yoga Teacher training in Albuquerque in August, I discovered with awe and amazement that group laughter had given me the experience I had sought. Five days of playfulness, hearty laughter, and eye contact with the 40 members of my new laughing family gave me first-hand sustained experiential knowledge of what it truly feels like to look at someone and see only their Divine nature, to celebrate their beauty and uniqueness, to elicit the best from them, and to feel the power of their creative potential waiting to be unleashed. The simple practice of laughter had pierced the illusory veil of my mind and its perception of separateness, and had opened the doorway to Oneness!

The power of daily laughter continues to sustain this new way of being in the world. Everywhere I go, I find myself laughing and looking into the eyes of everyone I encounter, and continue to be delightedly surprised to discover the eyes of the Divine looking back at me (whether or not the other person is laughing, too)! As a result of Laughter Yoga, old barriers have crumbled and my heart has exploded–unable to contain the torrential flow of love that is pouring through me and into the world–and I am forever changed. Laughter has given me the gift of an open heart–a gift that keeps on giving in infinite forms, to every person I meet!

I have no doubt that my purpose in life–the whole point of being alive–is to spread laughter and joy, and I’m so grateful that Laughter Yoga exists as a structured means for doing so. Laughter Yoga is truly a gift to humanity; to join the Laughter Yoga family and be a part of this incredible transformation of humankind is exhilarating beyond words.