Laughter Yoga Helped Overcome Chronic Pain
Pat Conklin, Orlando, FL, USA


When you hear the sounds “Ho ho ho!” it might mean you‘re with Santa Claus. But chances are, you’re in the presence of PositiveLY Pat (Conklin), an energetic and engaging Laughter Yoga Leader/Teacher, speaker, and Laughter Coach (in training)—and the founder and Principal Positivist of Laughter Yoga Orlando. Call Pat on the phone, and you may just hear her answer with “Hee hee hello!” And while most people end their sentences with punctuation marks, Pat completes hers with “Ha ha ha!” Only natural for someone whose first home was on a street named Jolly Way.

You wouldn’t suspect it now, but life hasn’t always been so jolly for Pat. With a “winkle” in her eye and a radiant smile, Pat is a living example of the healing and transformative power of laughter. She credits Laughter Yoga with pulling her out of a very dark period of her life—one marked by depression, desperation, and despair borne from chronic pain. That’s why Pat takes the matter of laughing very seriously, believing it’s her life’s purpose to spread jollity, positivity, and hope far and wide to enrich the health, wellbeing, and quality of life of her fellow Central Floridians.

Pat earned her certification as a Laughter Yoga Leader with Dr. Kataria’s School of Laughter Yoga in May 2009—just five months after experiencing her first laughter session—and as a Laughter Yoga Teacher in April 2010, training with Dr. Kataria himself. Four months later, Pat attended the 2010 All America Laughter Yoga Conference in Albuquerque, NM, where she took advanced training with Dr. Kataria and completed a two-day Laughter Games Workshop with Fun Coach Bernie DeKoven. Currently, Pat is on track to become Central Florida’s first Certified Laughter Coach through The Levity Institute, training with Program Director Katie West. Because her laughter work is no joke, Pat is a member of the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor (AATH), serving on the planning committee for the association’s conference to be held in Orlando in April 2011. She anticipates being one of the first students in the AATH Humor Academy (HA), a graduate college credit and certificate program that will explore theory, application, and research in humor and laughter.

A vibrant, warm, and hee hee hilarious presenter, educator, and motivational speaker, Pat travels throughout the Central Florida community, working (laughing!) with diverse groups, be it for health and wellness, stress reduction, team building and employee engagement, retreats, icebreakers, or just plain fun. Her presentations have brought jollity, joy, and positivity to medical professionals from Florida Hospital, Orlando Health, and the Case Management Society of America; brain and spinal cord injury patients from NeuroRestorative; cancer survivors from the Florida Hospital Altamonte Breast Cancer Support Group; business professionals from Bank of America and the National Association of Women Business Owners; seniors from Mount Olive African Methodist Episcopal Church; ministers to the sick and bereavement from St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Parish; special needs kids from Nathaniel’s Hope Buddy Break! at First United Methodist Church of Orlando; and members of the (free) Orange Tree Laughter Club, a group that meets weekly in the neighborhood where Pat lives and plays. To launch more free laughter groups around the Central Florida area, Pat also trains and certifies new Laughter Yoga Leaders.

But, wait … there’s another reason why Laughter Yoga, “the world’s happiest workout,” suits Pat to a T (better make that a Tee-Hee!) A certified fitness professional since 1994, Pat sees Laughter Yoga as a fantastic complement to more conventional modes of staying in good physical (and mental) shape. Believing that becoming more physically active and making wiser food choices doesn’t have to be drudgery—that getting fit can be a FUN endeavor—Pat founded FunBelievably Fit!, a fitness and nutrition “coach/sulting” company dedicated to helping others move toward enhanced health and wellness by incorporating laughter and play into their exercise and nutrition programs. With her own special blend of silly and serious—and knowledge of exercise and nutrition science, positive psychology, and laughter coaching—Pat helps her clients laugh and play their way to ha ha happier bodies and hee hee healthier lifestyles! We can get fit … with fits of laughter!

In addition to her Laughter Yoga certifications, Pat’s fitness credentials include certifications as a Group Exercise Instructor through the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA); Personal Fitness Trainer and Lifestyle & Weight Management Consultant through the American Council on Exercise (ACE); and Nutrition Management Consultant through the American Academy of Sports Dieticians and Nutritionists (AASDN).

As it so happens, Pat comes from a family of some rather serious-minded folks: scientists. Her dad was once a paleobotanist with the US Geological Survey and her mom a microbiologist with the Naval Medical Research Institute in the Washington, DC area. A self-proclaimed “science nerd” who is—much like her cat, August—insatiably curious, Pat digs ridiculously long words like gastrocnemius, gluconeogenesis, and psychoneuroimmunology. Her fascination with biology germinated the day Pat’s dad took a drop from the concoction of tap water and dried grass he had mixed in a jar a month earlier and showed it to Pat under a microscope. Eureka! There, on a glass slide, was LIFE! Pat was in the second grade at the time.

Years giraffter, Pat earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with Honors from the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill and enjoyed professional success as a research biologist in several biotech labs (two engaged in cancer research) and a grant writer with Florida Hospital. To Pat’s credit are a number of publications in scientific journals—the first of which she began while still an undergraduate at UNC—and millions of dollars in grant funding for Florida Hospital programs, including the largest grant award in the hospital’s 102-year history. Drawing on her scientific and fitness expertise, writing talents, and connections with the local research community, Pat envisions coordinating some of the world’s first clinical research studies examining the health benefits of Laughter Yoga (and garnering funding from the National Institutes of Health!)

As in her work endeavors, Pat is a mover and shaker in her free time. Literally. Anyone who’s ever seen Pat movin’ and groovin’ to her favorite tunes on her regular walks through her neighborhood, dancing in her car (at red lights only!), or shakin’ it up in Zumba® class can attest to this. With laughter filling her trim 5’4” frame and an energy level that belies her 53 years, Pat can salsa circles around folks ten years her junior. (And to think she once dreaded gym class, ha ha ha!)

PositiveLY Pat positively loves Orlando, FL, where she lives laughily ever after because she has made Laughter Yoga a ha ha habit … and ho ho hopes you will, too!

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