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I know that sometimes people find it frustrating trying to get a laughter club going. It took a long time for me also. The St Louis Laughter Club has been meeting now for 8 years. I began the group with a small group of other woman who were also breast cancer survivors. Now we get people who come for lots of different reasons. Sometimes there will be a large group and sometimes smaller. It doesn't matter - we laugh with whoever is there. However, sometimes you wonder when you have a small group if this is worth continuing. I know it can get discouraging at times. My laughter club has been going on long enough that I have seen the bigger picture. I will tell you one story right now.

I have a young man who started coming 3 years ago who suffered from depression and anxiety. He had a very difficult time playing and was trying the laughter club to try to be less serious in life. He gradually became a little lighter and it helped but then he stopped coming and was gone for a long time. Other things came up in his life and he had conflicts and could not make it anymore. Over the last few months, he began returning to the laughter club every week. He was given a warm and hearty greeting of very good, very good, yeah when he returned and everyone has been so happy that he has rejoined us. He told me recently that even though he did not come to the laughter club so much before, he had learned lessons and consciously worked at being lighter and more playful in everyday life. Last Sunday at the laughter club, I asked him if he would lead a laughter exercise. I forgot how anxious he was and before would not have even asked him or put him on the spot. He looked nervous at first and then led the group in baseball laughter. This was a HUGE step for him. It is so gratifying.

I know people want to do laughter yoga programs and want people to just laugh - but it is a progression for many people. We plant the ideas and the seed of cultivating laughter and joy and even if people are not ready at the time, they sometimes return later when they are ready. The laughter clubs are the heart and soul of laughter yoga. They can give people a venue to go through that process.

Don't get me wrong - I love going out and doing laughter yoga programs as well - but just as other healing modalities have been a lot of work for me, even finding your own laughter and joy can be a process and takes practice as well. Just stay with it. This young man and I have both been on long journeys to find our own healing He told me the other day that my smile and laughter is much bigger and brighter than he remembered it being before. And as he put it, we both know how hard we have worked to get to this place.

So please, I encourage you to continue developing a laughter club- the rewards can be so great. Very good, very good, yeah!!


Arya Pathria (the late and great laughter yoga teacher who mentored me in my start)