Lesley Lyle: It was a scientific journey rather than a spiritual one that brought me to Laughter Yoga. Coming from a background of NLP, Clinical Hypnosis, Clean Language and Positive Psychology, I wanted to find effective ways to promote positive emotion.
A chance reading of a magazine article that I read (coincidentally on a flight to Mumbai) led me to enquire about Laughter Yoga Clubs on arrival at my hotel. Minutes later, the Concierge invited me to talk to someone on the telephone about this. That 'someone' turned out to be Dr. Kataria himself and now, with the benefit of hindsight, I realize that phone call was the one that changed the course of my life!
By the end of that conversation I was absolutely convinced that the simple, unique concept of Laughter Yoga could provide anyone with a vital, missing ingredient to life – joy. I found myself laughing throughout our conversation (laughter is infectious, particularly when delivered by the Master and founder of the Laughter Yoga Organization) and I when I put the phone down I just knew that laughter is the antidote to many of the symptoms of stress and anxiety, that most of us experience, in modern everyday life. Suddenly, the concept of 'laughing for no reason' sounded a very sensible idea.
Less than 6 weeks later, I was in Bangalore on a Laughter Yoga teacher training program under the instruction of Dr. Kataria. Although my initial interest had been based in science, my experience was a spiritual and life changing one. I hadn't come to heal myself but I left feeling lighter, relaxed and not taking myself so seriously, ha, ha, ha! I know that whatever I do in the future and whatever may or may not happen, laughter will always be a part of my everyday life, whether I am laughing alone or with others. Having got back in touch with my authentic, childish and joyful inner self, I am committed to stay acquainted.
My immediate mission is to spread the sound of laughter wherever I can. I have offered my services in my community for what may be the first travelling, mobile Laughter Service! Each week until further notice, I have pledged to run a Laughter Yoga session for any group of people who are interested, on a first come, first served, basis. I hope that existing clubs and organizations will take this opportunity to experience Laughter Yoga and that this experience will then convince them to form their own Laughter Yoga Club.
I still intend to study the science of Laughter for my interest and because I wish to encourage people to focus on what is good in their lives. Making the most of our potential to be great and concentrating on what we are good at empowers us. Whereas, I believe that focusing on areas where we are lacking or not very adept, will lead to us to be mediocre at best. I firmly advocate placing our attention on solutions rather than problems, prevention rather than cure and making sure that we enjoy a prolonged period of laughter every day.
I maintain my interest in the study of the unconscious mind and my dream is to enroll for the Master of Applied Positive Psychology course at Penn University. I, of course, would be most interested in looking at the scientific evidence that 'laughter is the best medicine'. Perhaps one day physicians and psychologists will prescribe laughter as the first step to treat diseases and recommend it as an investment for good physical and mental health. "Join a Laughter Yoga club and laugh for a week or two. Come back and see me if you don't feel any better". Better still, they may just join in themselves. Ho, ho, ha, ha, ha!