Report by Sylvia Pencheva
The first Laughter Club in Bulgaria was started in January 2010. Since then it has gained tremendous popularity. Though it was tough in the beginning, and we found it difficult to explain to the people that it is possible to laugh without a reason. But we progressed little by little, and today there more than 130 visitors ranging from age 10 to 65 and belonging to various professions.
Many people travel from other cities to join us for a session. Not only that, with time we have built strong friendships between us and have got addicted to laughter. So much so, that in case we miss a week because of the bad weather, we miss laughing together. We share laughter not only in Laughter clubs, but also get together on occasions like costume party, cake party and Laughter Yoga weekends.
We did Laughter Yoga sessions with one of the largest HR recruitment company in Bulgaria. It was an incredibly useful experience. We had four Laughter Yoga sessions with them, and the feedback was really good. What I learnt there is that people in a company find different things funny. They find it funny that they see each other this way, laughing so much, so freely. They are used to seeing each other in their role every day at work, and on a Laughter Yoga session they find each other equal when they laugh.
Celebrating World Laughter Day
For the first time, we celebrated World Laughter Day. We spent the whole weekend in a beautiful place in the nature with the club, doing Laughter Yoga sessions. You can see pictures from the event here: http://www.laughteryoga.bg/Gallery/LaughterDay.
Then we came back and we joined the parade with posters and clapping, walking through the park. We laughed, clapped, chanted and people really loved it.
Laughter Yoga has become a real favourite for media. Many newspapers and magazines cover Laughter Yoga and it has also appeared on national TV. On our website, we have developed sections for different initiatives like "Smiling cooking", where people send us pictures of smiling meals. We even have "Laughers collection" and "Laughter zone", where people can send us funny sounds, pictures or videos. Our purpose is to make people search for the funny side of life and for things that make us laugh. We’re also planning on putting a section "Funny diary", where people can post funny things they found through their everyday life.
Recently, we had our first CLYL training, which was a great experience. People who came had different talents, like dancing, singing, cooking... and it became a workshop for different skills and joyful activities. You can see pictures from the event here: http://www.laughteryoga.bg/Gallery/CLYL
Now we have invitations from a few yoga studios and other organizations to add Laughter Yoga to their services and people tell me that they hear about Laughter Yoga from different places, which makes me believe that Bulgaria is going to become intensive laughter European center.