Barbara Veale Smith, Oregon: I had never heard of Laughter Yoga, but when I heard the question, “Do you want to learn how to laugh unconditionally?” a clear “YES!” came from within me. I first heard about Laughter Yoga in 2009, when a friend with whom I had previously taken some yoga classes returned from Mexico where she trained and laughed with Dr. Kataria for a week! She wanted to bring Laughter Yoga to our town, (Bend, Oregon) and was looking for colleagues with whom she could share leadership of a Laughter Club.
I’ve been a very serious person all my life, and don’t easily understand jokes nor find myself laughing at comedy that other people find funny. In fact, one of my best friends from college used to tell me frequently, “Lighten up, heavy!” For years, my husband has told me that I should go to Walmart and “buy a sense of humor.”
In Laughter Yoga, laughter springs forth from within, and is always available. In that way, laughter is an extension of pure consciousness. The laughter exercises that are practiced the world over; also provide people with opportunities to drop their resistance to Life, in all its movements. Laughter practice assists people in seeing through the conditioned reactions that they may have habitually acted from (which lead to stress, bad health, and unhappiness) because it introduces a new possibility. We can respond with laughter, with lightness, with joy - to anything and everything – or we can remain in egoistic patterns that have created untold suffering on this planet for millennia.
Like so many other people, Laughter Yoga has changed my life! I’ve learned to value laughter and playfulness and am captivated by the Spirit of Laughter. I enjoy dancing and singing more than ever. I’ve experienced good health and a sense of well being but even more, a light hearted spirit permeates each day. Laughter Yoga invites you to consider that real joy is possible in every moment when you respond with laughter and acceptance rather than resistance and stress – even and especially when life is challenging.