Marlene Chertok is a Registered Nurse in St Louis, Missouri USA. She became interested in Laughter Yoga as part of her own healing journey while recovering from breast cancer. In 2004, one year after completing chemotherapy, she saw the documentary “The Laughter Clubs of India” and it sparked her interest. She was acutely aware of how expensive and broken the US health care system had become. Laughter Yoga was something simple and cheap that could help people.
Marlene went to Toronto, Canada in 2004 to train with Dr Madan Kataria as a Laughter Yoga Leader. She was the first person to introduce Laughter Yoga in the St Louis area.
The St Louis Laughter Club was started with 3 other women who were breast cancer survivors. For a long time, the group ran with 5-6 people every week. Slowly more people began to come. Now, the group regularly has attendance of 15-25 a week. The age range of the group is from 5 -90 and has many cancer survivors. The group has been meeting weekly for 5 years.
The Laughter Club was started out of Marlene’s interest in strengthening her own immune system and in the Yogic Breathing. She was an asthmatic when she started 5 years ago. She began doing Pranyama (Yogic Breathing) daily and Laughter Yoga and her asthma symptoms have gradually disappeared. In addition, Marlene was a burn patient twice in her life and carried a lot of post traumatic stress. She has found that the Laughter Yoga helped her to release the trauma. When she started, Marlene had a hard time laughing freely. Now people tell her what a great laugh she has!
Marlene has appeared in local television news and newspapers. Dr Kataria featured her story on his website under life changing stories. She has presented Laughter Yoga workshops for corporations and hospital wellness programs, university residential life programs, school district parent workshops, many cancer programs, senior programs, meditation retreats and social clubs. In short, Marlene will go wherever people want her to lead them into finding their laughter! She enjoys just playing with laughter yoga and seeing where it takes her. She likes to share her own story of how Laughter Yoga has impacted her own life. She is a fan of Norman Cousins, and believes, like he did, that people have to become involved in their own healing. It has now been 7 years since her cancer diagnosis and she has remained cancer free. As a nurse Marlene realizes that life is fragile and one never knows what is coming around the corner. But we may as well laugh and sing and dance while we can! Marlene is very grateful for all the lessons she has learned from Laughter Yoga. She plans to share some of her stories on this blog.
In 2008, Marlene was awarded the Laughter Yoga Ambassador Award.
Marlene may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org .