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Home/Blog/Duncan Cook – A Profile

My name is Duncan. I am 45 years of age, of Scottish origin, currently living in Ontario, Canada. I am an employee of a large multinational company.
I have been blessed by the good fortune of meeting many individuals who have contributed to my development as a human being. Most notable among them are; Dr Dave MacQuarrie MD. Jan MacQuarrie, Dr Madan Kataria MD, and his wonderful wife Madhuri. And of course my deepest love is for Sue; my partner in marriage, who I met shortly after beginning the present course my life has taken, as the result of a suggestion that I investigate some of the emotional issues I had been dealing with for some time.

My introduction to Laughter Yoga occurred in December of 2003 during a weekend workshop with fourteen other men facilitated by Dave MacQuarrie . His skills as a professional therapist opened doorways of perception previously unknown to me.

The highlight of my weekend was an invitation for the group to participate in a one minute bout of laughter. Unconditional laughter - Laughter for no reason. Initially, most of us were reluctant to participate - like standing at the side of a pool, getting up the nerve to step in - a few nervous chuckles quickly built up into an uproarious celebration of the humanness of laughter. Hoots and hollers, unleashed a torrent of energy previously held in check as deep seated anger and resentment. At the end of the allotted time, a calm peacefulness filled the room. The transformation on each others faces was unmistakable, as was the tone of peoples voices as we spoke of the deep relaxation we were experiencing.

In May of 2005 I was able to register in a Laughter Leader Training in Toronto, led by Dr. Kataria who gave deeper insights of "the Inner Spirit of Laughter". I then searched unsuccessfully for a local laughter club in my area, eventually deciding to start one of my own. To begin with, there was Sue and myself and one other who quickly decided to move to another city - haha . Within six months we had a core of about a dozen regular participants, and I had also enrolled in further training with Dr. Kataria in order to teach others as Laughter Leaders.

As a result of the Laughter Club, I have made lasting friendships with many people I would otherwise never have met. There is an authentic joy I experience when I witness the transformation that occurs when people learn to laugh openly and heartily.

Some of the sessions we have are hilarious, while others are more subdued depending on the energy available at the time. All of the sessions are unique, even though the format is always the same. There are many instances of times when a spontaneous remark or idea from a group member has sparked the imagination of the whole room. I have learned so much about myself from the relations I have developed, my confidence in myself has improved tremendously, and my capabilities have expanded as a result of my learning how to facilitate a Laughter Club. These skills have transferred to my other involvements, with improvements in all areas of my life. I am continually inspired by the group dynamic as others contribute creativity in suggesting new exercises. My current favorite is "Horsey Laughter" which is one of the more energetic exercises, although easily adapted for a more gentle workout.

In my activities for developing Laughter Yoga Trainings, it has been necessary for me to register as a business, which has brought fresh challenges and learnings - stretching me in ways I would never have attempted previously.

Recently, while visiting relatives in Japan, my wife and I joined up with the Laughter Group led by Akira Sugiura in Yoyogi Park, Tokyo. The connections made were immediate, and authentic as we shared our knowledge and experience of Laughter Sessions. The similar format allowed us to enjoy the session without too much interpreting being required of our new found friends.
I also became interested in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), which involved training with Daves' wife Jan MacQuarrie, discovering many parallels between NLP and Laughter Yoga.

Of the qualifications I hold; the two which are most precious to me are the Laughter Leader Certification awarded by Dr. Kataria, and the NLP Practitioner Certification awarded by Jan MacQuarrie. My wife, having a deeper connection with NLP has recently received Master Practitioner Certification, and is always a part of the trainings I offer on behalf of the Laughter Yoga Organisation for Laughter Leader Certification.

This past year has been tremendously successful, as Laughter Yoga has developed widespread appeal as a form of exercise that has additional benefits from the interactions involved.

My main objective for 2010 is to assist in the further development of Laughter Yoga, and to be available to others who are getting involved. My relationship with Dave and Jan MacQuarrie has matured to become a friendship and I am now involved in a study group on issues relating to Climate Change, which is now the main focus of Dr. MacQuarries work.

Thank you to all at Laughter Yoga Headquarters for allowing me the opportunity to say something about myself, and good wishes to all who are involved in the Laughter Yoga Movement worldwide.