My Tryst With Laughter Made Me A Better Person
Robert Rivest: My background is in performing arts. I have been presenting comic mime, health, literacy and stress management educational programs in schools, libraries, and theaters for over 30 years. In 2009, Mary Rives and Keith Carlson offered a Laughter Yoga session at my performing arts guild. I loved it. I felt great on the drive home and for several hours afterward.
That night, I read online everything I could about Laughter Yoga and Dr. Kataria. I ordered and studied several LY books, CDs and DVDs. I shared LY with everyone I met. I set up a number of friends that I would call and, without a word, simply laugh together to relieve stress.
In 2010, I took my Laughter Yoga leader training and immediately set up a weekly Laughter Yoga club and started offering classes in senior centers. I also presented free public awareness programs and mini-demos everywhere I could. I even included a section of it in my comic mime shows, health shows and stress management programs. I did over 500 of these shows, sharing Laughter Yoga with audiences of 200-600 people at a time. I also created several “Laugh Along with Robert” YouTube videos, which increased my laughing audience worldwide.
In 2011, I did my laughter teacher training and began leading two day Laughter Yoga leader trainings and presenting Laughter Yoga in corporations, schools, hospitals, fitness studios, minimum security drug and alcohol rehab facilities . . . you name it haha.
In 2013, I attended and assisted Dr. Kataria’s 5 day Laughter Yoga teacher training in Orlando, Florida and was invited to Japan to share my style of Laughter Yoga. In 2015, I became a Laughter Ambassador and in 2016 I was trained and mentored by Dr. Kataria to be a Certified Laughter Yoga Master Trainer. I have taught over 30 laughter leader trainings and will be taking my first laughter teacher training in Japan in January, from 23 – 27, 2017.
Personally, the real benefits of Laughter Yoga came when I committed myself to practicing pranayama and Laughter Yoga everyday! I have witnessed myself become more playful, joyful, generous, giving, friendly, peaceful and relaxed. I am more present with my family and friends. I had a difficult/distant relationship with my father but in his later years he happily attended my laughter classes. I believe it may have eased some of the symptoms of his Parkinson's disease.
Mentally and physically, I am much healthier now. I get sick less often, can exercise more and breathe easier than ever before. In my early 30s, I suffered from several trauma induced and stress related illnesses including PTSD, depression and allergies. To heal, I practiced mindfulness meditation, tai-chi, qigong and yoga. Since 2009, Laughter Yoga has been a major part of my healing process and has helped to greatly reduced many of the symptoms of the illnesses stated above.
Socially, things have opened up for me too. I am a better listener now, more understanding and compassionate. People everywhere are friendlier. I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of a social network of laughing, caring, laughter Yoga friends all around the world!
Professionally, I am now more understanding of my clients’ needs and am able to “go with flow” with greater ease when "surprise" situations occur. Laughter Yoga has been exceptionally beneficial for me as a performer and speaker. It has given me tremendous control of my breathing and vocal quality. I am able to give more of myself and be of greater service. It has helped me reach, and truly connect with, an even more diverse group of people, in an ever widening circle of joy. The ripple effect of Laughter Yoga is amazing and very profound.
Here are 5 of my free laughter links:
25 “Laugh Along” Videos: http://robertrivest.com/video/laughalongwithrobe/
20 “Educational LY” Videos: http://robertrivest.com/video/laughteryoga/
15 “1 Minute Laugh” Videos: http://robertrivest.com/video/oneminutelaughvide/
15 “Mindful Stress Relief” Videos http://robertrivest.com/video/mindfulnessvideos/
10 “Laughter Yoga Leader Training” Videos: http://www.robertrivest.com/video/laughteryogatraini/
Certified Master Trainer / Motivational Speaker / Artist /Educator