Recently back from training in India with the founder of Laughter Yoga, Dr. Madan Kataria, I have been featured on the Today Show and NPR. I am grateful for how teaching laughter yoga has helped me grow in confidence and has helped me meet many joyful new friends who share my passion for holistic healing. My focus is on helping people connect and use laughter to bring more peace, joy, and connection into their everyday lives.
I am glad to announce a Leader Training class! All info is below but you must visit this Eventbrite link to register and pay.
Training Dates and Times
Saturday, December 9,, 2017, 9 am – 5 pm
Sunday, December 10, 2017, 9 am – 4 pm
There are a limited number of spots in this training.
2-day Laughter Yoga Leader Training Certification Program: $295
2-day Refresher: $100
Senior/Student rate: $150.
Are there ID or minimum age requirements to enter the event?
Minimum age is 16 years old There are no maximum age limits.
What are my transportation/parking options for getting to and from the event?
Street Parking on the weekends is possible in the city, albeit limited. There are garages around. Public transportation is best, with nearby stops on the E, N,R,Q,1 trains.
What can I bring into the event?
You do not need mats or special clothing. Just bring yourself.
How can I contact the organizer with any questions?
Email me at Lisa@laughteryoganyc.org or call or text me at 917-270-9508
Laughter Yoga – Great Therapy For Depression
We are already aware that Laughter Yoga is a great exercise routine that alleviates depression and generates a positive mental attitude. Here is a report of a psychiatrist in Michigan City, who gave due credit to laughter therapy, as being a major reason for his patient Tanaz Bambot to overcome depression and feel better.
He said, in the beginning, he had no idea how laughter would help someone with bipolar depression and depression and like all practitioners, thought that it was just a good thing to do. But then he came across an article which said that laughter had the ability to change the chemistry of the brain. This surprised him and he started to research more about it because he thought it might be a great way to help those suffering from depression. Though there was medication, the patients always needed that something extra to reach a level of well-being, being happy and feeling good.
Laughter Yoga turned out to be a very interesting way of changing brain chemistry. He used it to help Tanaz recover and soon realized that the frequency of relapses declined after taking to Laughter Yoga. Even the level of well-being between episodes was tremendous and the response to medicine greatly improved. This left him extremely impressed.
His research showed that the place where laughter helps in the brain, where laughter happens in the brain, the movement of facial muscles and the understanding that something different is happening in the brain – all happens in areas in the frontal and the temporal lobe, which are the same areas where the research on depression is going on. If one takes an MRI, one can see that the same areas of the brain are affected by laughter that are affected by medication and disease. Hence, the great hope that Laughter Yoga will make a big difference in treating depression and generating feelings of well-being among such patients.
INTRODUCTION I started doing laughter yoga almost two years ago. It was a lucky accident that has changed my life.
My yoga class at the rec center changed its time and i could not leave work early enough to get there. The internet pointed me to a laughter yoga class. I had no idea what this was, and really didn’t think much about it ahead of time. It was yoga, it started at the right time and was close to my office.
My first experience was uncomfortable for me. I felt awkward laughing for no reason. I noticed after i left though a feeling of lightness. I experienced these opposite pushes- one which tried to protect me from looking silly and one which wanted to move towards feeling better.
Two years later, laughter yoga has changed my life. My mother was bipolar. I was an angry girl who grew into an angry teenager and then became an angry and anxious woman. This was something i just adapted to and it became my core, and something i was not even aware of.
Laughter yoga lightened me and gave me tools to feel and act differently. I am happy to talk about all the why’s and wherefore’s of laughter yoga relative to mindfulness, meditation and neuroplasticity and the social, emotional and physical benefits.
INDIA AND DR. KATARIA
In September, i had the opportunity to travel to India to study with Dr. Kataria; the founder of Laughter Yoga and become a laughter yoga teacher. Over five days, the international participants deepened our practices, studied new laughter exercises, and new breathing practices. We shared our previous experiences leading laughter yoga sessions in very varied settings. At the end of the five days we were certified to train new laughter yoga leaders.
and not, say, “Happy Day?”
There is something called Science of Happiness. People want to understand what is necessary to have more of this elusive thing.
Components of happiness include gratitude, altruism, and connections with other humans. Laughter yoga helps provide the connectivity and gratitude. Connections with other humans are a form of altruism.
The founder of Laughter Yoga, Dr. Madan Kataria would like to accomplish World Peace through Laughter. People cannot be angry and laugh simultaneously.
My goal is to see Laughter Yoga accepted as a legitimate form of yoga offered in Yoga Studios alongside with other more traditional forms of yoga. I see that as a way to spread its benefits more quickly and have people allow for playfulness on a daily basis. Laugther Yoga encourages people to experience their own openness and vulnerability in a safe forum. That is a gift for it to be something accessible and not frightening.
If you are in the Berkshires/Columbia County area this weekend, join us at the Art Annex Sunday July 16th, at 11am, for some pranayama (breathing), stretching and Hasya yoga, aka Laughter yoga.
Tonight’s Wednesday laughter Club had a fantastic turnout-a mix of new people, experienced people and old-timers. Believe it or not, I don’t always feel like laughing. It’s like not wanting to go to the gym. You don’t feel like going and you know how great you will feel if you manage to get there in spite of not wanting to.
I am reminded of a YouTube video of Dr. Kataria. He is looking into a bathroom mirror and speaking. He says, ” I really don’t feel like laughing. But I have to- I created laughter yoga, and this is what we do.” He looks in the mirror and says, “Ha.”[Pause] Ha Ha.” This cracks me up. Tonight, after a long weekend and torpid return to work, i lacked the energy for Laughter Yoga. This is when one really needs it!
What a surprise! About 6 people from Beth Bongar’s “Breath of Ha” workshop at the JCC joined our class. They had enjoyed her workshop and were happy to learn a weekly laughter club in Manhattan was available! An older gentleman joined us, who has been in laughter yoga classes since Vishwa Prakash started them in his textile studio many years ago. This gentleman was a trained laughter yoga leader. The dynamics of laughter include connections people make with each other. New people stimulate different energies and the connections are kinetic!! Through this electricity, people gain new insights into their own selves, even in the stillness that comes between laughs. The group lasted close to an hour and a half- more than usual. There is a sense of friendly intimacy through innocent playfulness. People come willing to risk and be open and see what happens. They set aside their judgements, or experience and meet their judgements and look at them from a new vantage point. People leave just a little lighter and a little different than when they came in. My stomach hurt from laughing so hard. We practiced some lovingkindness meditations for people in our lives. I want to thank everyone who joined in tonight.
As you practice laughter yoga over time, your threshold for laughter becomes lower. Laughter allows one to be able to lighten one’s mood in the face of challenges. This allows a space to detach from pressing problems; to stand back and gain perspective. It is called “de-identifying:” You are not angry- You are having a feeling called anger and you are also an awareness seeing that you have anger. This perspective allows internal space, distance and objectivity so you can weigh in before you act from anger, (or whatever the feeling is at that moment,) To think, this comes from laughter! How remarkable!
I returned to Gould Farm today for a laughter yoga session with residents and staff. The session was marked by hilarity, real and intentional. All but one of today’s group had laughed with me before last month. The group remembered some of the exercises and seemed to like the familiarity with what was coming.
The new person noticed that during some of the laughter, he felt close to tears. That can be a byproduct of laughter yoga: by “un-numbing” ourselves and getting close to our feelings, we open ourselves up to other feelings inside of us. Deep breathing (pranyana) helps us calm ourselves. When we realize we can live with all of these feelings, there is an ownership, joy and new feelings of presence that arise.
There is a standard exercise in our Wednesday night group: “milking the cow.” We started to do it. The Gould Farm has actual cows, and members of the group were experienced milkers! I learned that nowadays, people put a contraption onto the cow that milks it for you! I don’t know if we can continue to do our Wednesday night milking the cow as we’ve been doing it.
The last time we were together, the group was more than twice as large as today. Some participants felt freer to laugh today in the more intimate group, while others thought the larger group was more conducive to laughing. We set another tentative date for Sunday May 28th, during the Memorial Day weekend.
There was a vase with beautiful forsythias and pink blossoms of some kind. I admired their beauty. As a gift, one of the residents brought me a vase from her room, so i could collect some forsythia and bring them home with me. I felt honored and touched by her generosity.
There has been a lot of focus on mindfulness, meditation and neuroplasticity. We are going to be at Lululemon on June 4th for a workshop on just how these things interact and how laughter holds a key to all these junctures. We will look at how to use laughter yoga to unlock old patterns of doing and being and move forward in our lives!
Lululemon Flatiron Hub Seventeen
June 4th, 2017 5:30pm-6:30pm
5th Avenue and 17th Street, NYC Lower Level
No tickets neccessary.
You know, yoga takes many, many forms. Poses on yoga mats, Laughter Yoga, hot yoga, Yoga for Yankees, power yoga…..
Wait! Yoga for Yankees? Ayup.
Once you are done giggling, and are the curious type wanting to know more about some of the more obscure types of yoga, click here. While I respect all of them, there are a couple whose philosophies or approaches mirror what I strive for in my Laughter Yoga sessions.
Gilda’s Club was founded in memory of the talented Saturday Night Live comedian, Gilda Radner, It provides a place where men, women and children living with cancer – and their family and friends – can join together to build social and emotional support as a supplement to medical care. Gilda’s Club offers support and networking groups, workshops, lectures, and social events in a beautiful, homelike setting all free of charge.
Last night I had the honor of leading a laughter yoga session for stress relief at Gilda’s. As someone who for years avoided feelings, I was slightly apprehensive at the potential riptide of emotion, As it turned out, the opportunity to share with this group was incredible. Laughter yoga allows people to connect intimately. The eye contact and playfulness opens us up to ourselves and each other and allows a remarkable vulnerability. Being together with each other after laughing and in all our humanity was a gift from each of us to each of us.
There are Wednesday night laughter club sessions every week. There were started by Vishwa Prakash many years ago and continued by Jonathan Applefield when Vishwa got sick. Now as Jonathan prepares to move to Massachusetts, I am happy to ensure that the weekly club continues with gusto! Laughter Yoga leaders are invited to step in and take on sessions when they feel like it.
The club meets every Wednesday from 6 -7 pm at the Better Health Chiropractic Clinic at 825 Seventh Avenue (53rd Street), Lower level.
On Sunday, March 26, I am conducting a laughter yoga session at Gould Farm in Monterey, Massachusetts.
Gould Farm is the first residential therapeutic community in the nation dedicated to helping adults with mental health and related challenges move toward recovery, health and greater independence through community living, meaningful work, and clinical care.
In a supportive community environment made up of residents, staff and their families, they help adults with depression, bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia and other challenges begin to rebuild and regain their lives. Gould Farm offers a full continuum of care, with programs in both Boston and the Berkshires for those ready for new challenges and structured transition.
Laughter yoga emphasizes play. One hallmark of play is an absence of a self-critical mind. The play in laughter yoga provides social engagement, eye contact and a soothing sense of touch. It provides a glimpse at feeling open, vulnerable and safe simultaneously. This is a revolutionary feeling to own!
Laughter yoga helps soften the amygdala’s hold on an individual and anxiety is reduced. Maybe Gould Farm would like to do some ongoing work to see if there are discernible identifiable outcomes.
I am happy to add more dates at the bright and airy space at The Art Annex, 2666 Route 23 in Hillsdale, NY.
The sessions are free, but I do ask for pre-registration. Give a call to 518-325-4000 or write to me at Lisa@laughteryoganyc.org to hold your spot.
More info at IMBY: Laughter Yoga is taking off in hillsdale