I was always described as someone with a sense of humour. Many times in my life, I was able to get people to laugh instead of getting upset or angry. It helped me diffuse difficult situations. Little that I know that laughter was going to be one of the biggest gifts of my life. In 2000, I was in a car accident and ended up seeing physiotherapists every other day for a very long time. At that time, my life was basically revolving around work. I was fundraising for charitable organizations and it seemed that there was always an urgent need for more money. I was working a lot and was not having fun anymore.
I felt miserable. I was suffering pain all day… every day. One day in March 2003, while waiting for the doctor, I grabbed a magazine and found an article on Laughter Yoga. I was reading about stressed, overworked and “laughless” people and I recognized myself! Where did my own laughter go? Somehow, I had lost it along the way and felt so bad because I couldn’t remember the last time I really had a good laugh.
As soon as I got home, I “googled” Laughter Yoga and registered for the first Certified Laughter Yoga Leader training in Montreal, Quebec. There I had a revelation - I was able to laugh, even if there was no reason to do so. That was a powerful and freeing experience for I could feel my heart being joyful again!!! Plus, I didn’t feel the pain for several hours after laughing!
Because I was travelling too much, I was unable to establish a weekly Laughter Club, but I still wanted to laugh. Wherever I went, I offered free Laughter Yoga sessions. That way I was keeping my laughter muscles toned! However, a few months after my training, in November 2003, I lost my job. I was devastated and crushed but that ended up being a blessing.
The first thing I did was to start a Laughter Club in my community and we have been laughing every week since then! That was almost 6 years ago. Over 5000 people have come over the years!
In 2005, after leading Laughter Yoga sessions for 2 years, I took the Teacher’s Training, so I could train leaders and then founded the Canadian School of Laughter Yoga. It makes me happy to know that more people have put laughter back in their life because of me and the leaders I train.
Bad things happen to good people… I feel I am a very lucky and privileged person but I am no exception; bad things happen to me too! However, since that day in April 2003 when I was introduced to Laughter Yoga, I know I always have the option to be laughing about what’s life’s throwing at me. Sadness, pain and tears are still there but I can LAUGH regardless and because I laugh, adversity doesn’t affect me the same way. My coping skills are so much better… and I have way more fun!
Madan and Madhuri, you are on top of my list of amazing people! Thank you so much for this important gift you gave me back: my own laughter! I love you. Namaste.
Linda Leclerc, CLYT