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Home/Blog/A Laughter Yogi in Europe – Jeffrey Briar, May 2010 6th INSTALLMENT


Over one meal, I share with Dr. Kataria my vision for a Laughter Tour by bus, perhaps a few trains) of Europe. He tells me of his plans to do a similar program in India: a month-long tour of the clubs in ¼ of the country; to cover the entire country, plan on a 4-month-long trip. He says the tour itself will be offered at no charge, but participants will be requested to make a donation to his newly-birthing Laughter University. (“Sign me up!”.) Kataria says this India Laughter Club Bs Tour may start in September. I don’t think I’d do a European counterpart before Spring 2011 (and I’d like to combine “my” Euro-tour with next year’s visit to Interlaken). I soon find myself imaging two visits to Europe each year.

Kataria also shares that the construction on the Laughter University will be delayed a bit due to local bureaucratic hassling, but he plans to start renting a facility (and offering programming) in six months. The Laughter University will begin in rented rooms, and will move to its “permanent” site as and when the buildings are erected. It’s starting to look like I’ll be heading to India before long.

The afternoon of Training Day Two my other roommate arrives: a blustery, talkative Englishman (living near Zurich) named Stuart Goodman. He offers much wise counsel (requested or not) about marketing and promotion.

The evening of Training Day Two I play a long piano set including “Rhapsody in Blue” for an audience of a few participants, including a woman from India (living in Germany with her German husband) named Padma. She comes down with an ear infection and is incapacitated much of the next days (poor thing).

Stuart attempts to talk my ear off that evening with some great ideas about “packaging” my offerings. Eventually I silence him to finish some e-mails. Michael arrives with tales of unrequited passion. Stuart soon plummets into a deep sleep, wherein he emits some of the loudest snoring I have ever experienced. Michael can’t take it, and leaves the room to find another location to crash. I insert my thickest earplugs, but still hear Stuart snoring away for the rest of the night. (The next day Stuart is relocated to a private, subterranean room – “Banished to the Dungeon,” Michael and I quip.)

Somewhere between the coffee ice cream served at dinner and Stuart’s stentorian emanations, I get almost no sleep that night. Waah! Nonetheless, it is up at 5:45am to offer a Yoga Class in our large seminar room. I invite the others present to also share their favorite yogic poses (there are several yoga teachers in our numbers), but all are content to turn the session-guidance over to me. The class segues seamlessly into Kataria’s morning sessions of Breathing Exercises and Laughing Alone. I offer the Yoga class every AM for the remainder of the training. Beginning the next day, a woman yoga teacher from Sweden offers a Kundalini Yoga class –from 5:30-6:00am! (I never made it to that class.) She is a undalii teacher, yet has never attended a “regular” (classical) Hatha Yoga class. She thanks me several times for giving her some useful insights and tips.

Every day is filled with hysterical group laughing (of course). By the second day the few absolute newbies to this work ‘get it:” that they can laugh heartily and vigorously simply from choice, and allowing themselves to be “infected” by the others’ laughing. At times Stuart, Gabriella Leppelt-Remmel (come down from Hamburg Germany to assist) and myself help direct laughter exercise portions. Due to the extreme lack of sleep the night before, I slumber snore gently through Kataria’s evening chat on Spirituality (I HAVE heard it all before, and always am in 100% alignment). Only a few notice.

The rain and cold lead Dr. K to cancel the scheduled “Silly Walk” (going into the village dressed in bizarre costumes) – the temperature was just a little above freezing. so we have our entire evening programming in our seminar room. The Talent Show has many delightful moments, including a skit where Stuart speaks and I “do” his hand movements (my body hiding behind his, save for the arms). Stuart, overwhelmed by the delighted audience response, forgot all the suggestions I’d made to him beforehand (about content and “running gag lines”) so I just winged it, following along with whatever he said. Afterwards a half-dozen people asked how long we had rehearsed our routine. Hahahahaha! Not.

The overly-supportive audience leads many of the ‘performers’ to go on far too long, and show that would’ve been pretty neat at 75 minutes turns into a rather drawn out 2-hours and 15 minutes. Julien from France does a swell series of activities with a huge rainbow-colored parachute – definitely a nice tool for any laughter club which meets out-of-doors, as it is visually quite arresting, appealing, and offers potential for many fun and grand-scale exercises.