My Laughter Story
Donna Bernstein – New York: I am a Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher in addition to being a certified dietetic-nutritionist with 35 years of professional experience. For the last 20 years, I have had the privilege of working with individuals who have developmental disabilities.
I have always laughed and love to laugh. Throughout grade school and high school, I was known as the girl with the silent laugh. As I grew and became more confident, I became the girl with the big hearty, belly laugh – with an occasional snort just for fun. I believe this new laugh has helped me both physically and emotionally, and it tells the world I am not afraid to be me.
Laughter is my coping mechanism. I rarely cry, and even as I child I don’t remember crying very often. I am more the type to keep my chin up high and move on. I feel that laughter enables me to release and let go of tension and stress. It also makes me feel joyous and happy. A couple of years ago, I chanced upon an article on Laughter Yoga and instantaneously knew that it was my calling.
I attended a laughter leader training program in New York City in April 2018 and became a Certified Laughter Yoga Leader. Since then I have been leading classes locally for friends, family, and individuals with development disabilities, and have taught at community centers, senior centers and even at a farm. I love leading classes as it is all inclusive and everyone and anyone can participate. It is fun, joyful, a physical workout and a social connector. People leave lighter, happier and feeling great. It has been said that when you give, you get so much more in return and this has been my experience.
I recently attended Dr. Madan Kataria’s training program in Bangalore. The course was incredible, and the knowledge, wisdom and insights shared by Laughter Yoga enthusiasts from all over the world will forever be in my heart.
As a health care worker, I have seen so many people suffer with health issues. Stress along with the feeling of separation and loneliness are often underlying factors. With Laughter Yoga, I hope to bring inner happiness, health and a feeling of connection to as many people as I can.