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Gilda's Cancer Club Michigan offers Laughter YogaSue Carter Ansari, Michigan, USA: Training in the perfect place with the perfect number of students is, what can I say, PERFECT! I realize that according to “The Law of Imperfection”, perfection is all in the mind, a product of our wild and crazy imaginations and expectations. So be it, Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids successfully measures up to EVERY expectation of perfection in my mind for, not only a cancer support facility, but also as the most wonderful place for a Laughter Yoga Leader training site - it could not be better!

Two days, altogether 13 hours, is precious little time to pass on the information needed for leaders to leave a training session feeling confident in their ability to lead a group in Laughter Yoga; consequently, I have devised a system where, basically, I am the Laughter Yoga Drill Sergeant! Perhaps next time, I will dress the part and wear a uniform, as well as a whistle around my neck!

About two weeks prior to the training date, I sent each of the students the Laughter Yoga Training Manual, along with the LY elevator speech and a link to my youtube LY site where I keep all of my favorite LY videos. I explain to them that in order for them to be comfortable leading and explaining Laughter Yoga, we will not have time to go over those things during the training and that I expect them to digest them all prior to class. They were all extremely compliant, so the training went very smoothly.

Gilda's Cancer Club Michigan offers Laughter Yoga Gilda's Cancer Club Michigan offers Laughter Yoga Gilda's Cancer Club Michigan offers Laughter Yoga

Day One, not only all 40 foundational exercises were covered, but they were covered twice! I have laminated all of the exercises which I have them pull out of a bowl and then demonstrate. Additionally, after leading the first LY session myself, I totally involved them in the rest of the sessions. Not only did each have to repeat the elevator speech in front of the group, but during the remainder of our LY sessions, I simply pointed at each of them to repeat one point of everything that needed to be committed to memory. For some, that was an easy task; for others, more difficult, but by the end of Sunday, they all had it….very good, very good, yay!

Day Two everyone shared their experiences of being dis-stressed with the amount of work we had done on Saturday, but relieved that they all “got” it. Sunday we did spend a bit more time briefly reviewing sections of the manual with more drilling of the elevator speech, along with two more LY sessions – one which consisted entirely of new laughter exercises they had thought of overnight or that they spontaneously invented on the spot - two of the best – “No Weigh!” - step on the scales and laugh and “PawPaw Laughter” - roll your pant legs up and crush grapes with your feet. (PawPaw, Michigan is a popular wine region very close to Grand Rapids.)

Gilda's Cancer Club Michigan offers Laughter Yoga Gilda's Cancer Club Michigan offers Laughter Yoga

The paired sharing method of learning is excellent and also gives the teacher a little break from continual talking. I have never strictly followed an agenda before, but I did this time that actually made it so much easier to make sure everything that needed to be covered was. They even made it though 30 minutes of shared guided imagery!

Since 2005, I have watched not only the training manual evolve, but also Dr. K’s teaching style evolve, all for the better! As teachers, it is important to be informed, but our objective should not be to impress our students with our wealth of knowledge. Our objective during that intensive two-day training must be to effectively and succinctly impart our skills and knowledge to our students in such a way that when they walk out of that training, they feel confident and will represent Laughter Yoga is a totally credible way.

How comfortable and conducive to learning is your training site? Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids is exactly what the laughter doctor ordered!

Comments from our new Laughter Yoga Leaders:

“Great! Fun! Motivational! Inspirational! Can’t wait to go into the community with it!”

“Great energy – kind and full of life. Hope to go to India with her, haha!”

“Refreshingly grounded and light, clear and complete. I loved the whole experience!”

“Thank you for a truly awesome training! I feel you have given us the skills and the knowledge to confidently go out and hold Laughter Yoga sessions.”

“Very good, very good, yay!”

I surely hope so. It was an honor and pleasure to not only teach them, but to be at Gilda’s where they are in the business of “Celebrating Laughter for the Health of It!”