Celebrating a New Chapter in my Life – on becoming a Laughter Yoga Master Trainer (MT)
Actually, at the beginning of this laughter adventure, I had no idea where this would lead me. Personally, I knew I was ready to laugh more and I loved the philosophy, Laughter Yoga for Health, Happiness and Peace. I love how it had the potential to help so many people of all ages and backgrounds feel good, right from the start.
Who becomes a Laughter Yoga Professional?
You could be a laughter club member or someone who has experienced Laughter Yoga at a laughter session. Or, you may never have tried it but heard about it from a news report, a friend or family member, googled it, are a medical professional seeking to expand your knowledge and gain CEU credits. There are so many reasons one might want to delve deeper into becoming a Laughter Yoga professional.
Important to remember, that Laughter Yoga is a labor of love. If you want to become rich as a Laughter Yoga professional, look elsewhere. Very few Laughter Yogis are able to support themselves fully from this work. It takes a long time to develop the business side and unless you are a motivational speaker type with many existing clients and a background of entrepreneurship, it will take a lot of dedication, time and energy to build your skills and to make money with Laughter Yoga. Look at the successful ones out there, they have been building up their expertise for 10+ years. And success does not always translate into $$.
I sometimes feel the most gratified when helping those in need, who have no budget/limited budget for LY. The feeling you get after having been able to connect with with someone and having reduced their suffering through this Laughter Yoga program, is priceless.
That said, there are plenty of corporate businesses out there, who can and do pay for professional LY services. It is well worth their investment in hiring a seasoned and qualified Laughter Yoga professional, who offers a very valuable service to the community and should be compensated accordingly.
If you want to become a Certified Laughter Yoga Leader (CLYL) , you sign up for an intensive 2-DAY training, which will introduce participants to the history, benefits and applications of this global exercise practice and program. Students learn the basic skills of starting up a community Laughter Yoga club and how to facilitate a Laughter Yoga session for various groups and how to lead a presentation or workshop. With this short but packed training, Certified Laughter Yoga Leaders are strongly encouraged to put in the time into developing their skills, confidence and expertise by starting up a laughter club or offering Laughter Yoga sessions so that they can build up their craft.
A quieter, yet distinctively powerful Laughter Force
I consider the Leader Level as the most important because this is the bedrock of LY, where pros build their foundations and make our LY organization strong. These hardworking and creative CLYLs do inspiring and exciting work (at for example, community level social laughter clubs or leading sessions at community centers for older adults and at after school programs) . These individuals are super effective and have no aspiration to becoming Laughter Yoga teachers. They do not wish to train others or “to take it to the next level” but are thriving with what they are doing as leaders for themselves and in their communities. These leaders are to be commended. They are the backbone of our Laughter Yoga family. They are doing excellent work, BRAVO!
Back to my journey…. I spent two weeks in India and upon my return the the US, I started up my laughter club the following week, at a nearby park in my community of Media, PA. This went so well, I decided to offer a second, weekly laughter club session.
This experience really helped me to develop my skills, to work on many different core (40 Foundation) laughter exercises and to experiment with modifying exercises and creating new ones for my repertoire. My time developing the laughter clubs also helped me to feel better connected to my community, to make new friends and to take on the responsibility of showing up each week, being prepared and committing to laugh with whoever would show up. Laughter clubs are laughter labs, where you can experiment, try new things, adapt your practice to whoever shows up.
The numbers might vary…Sometimes we would attract a larger crowd, sometimes only a few. On some occasions, no one would show up and I would still stay and work on developing my materials. The important thing, is to stick to it, don’t give up. Believe in what you do and strive to do it well.
The excitement from running these community clubs inspired me to organize a World Laughter Day Celebration in my area. We are happy to put our community on the map, joining other cities all over the world for this wonderful event promoting world peace through laughter. This will be our 5th year! Our World Laughter Day events have been so much fun and have generated a lot of interest, even from neighboring states. We get our mayor involved, we encourage proclamations, we issue a press release, we invite people from all over!
As a certified Laughter Yoga Teacher, I was able to offer 2-DAY trainings and to date, I have certified 140 new leaders and have offered 21 trainings. I never thought that I would love teaching so much. I have learned so much from my students ( individuals seeking to learn more about LY, to add more laughter to their personal and perhaps professional lives. Social workers, therapists, doctors, nurses, teachers, life coaches, wellness trainers, yoga teachers, and others) These trainings led me to teach the 1-Day Basic Laughter Yoga Learning Course, to offer night classes in Laughter Yoga at local community colleges and to develop my B.SMART Program for prisoners and groups in recovery.
You could say that I live and breathe Laughter Yoga. The funny but also amazing thing, is that it has become so much of my life, that I also dream about it. I imagine all kinds of ways to share what I do but I am also mindful that others may not be ready or interested in my message. Even though I can be super enthusiastic about what I do (because I really believe in it’s message and benefits), it is not something that can or should be forced. The beauty of Laughter Yoga is being able to discover all the positive things it can provoke- over time. A mindful, daily practice will reveal so many possibilities and once practitioners choose to get started and develop their laughter skills, their lives can be transformed in many uplifting ways.
Over the years I felt inspired to offer regional Laughter Yoga events for area Laughter Yoga professionals and club members. In June 2017, I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Frankfurt, Germany for the Global Laughter Yoga Conference and was asked to be MC for the Laughter Ambassadors Day.
I also became a volunteer and founding member of Laughter Yoga USA.org and helped organize the Laughter Yoga USA annual conferences.
It has been a very gratifying experience to help contribute to the positive energy in this world. In thinking about my future with Laughter Yoga, others have reached out to encourage me to consider becoming a Master Trainer. While this was never my initial goal, I began to think about the theme of expansion and growth for myself.
My recent group study sessions (with Bill & Linda Hamaker) and teachings led by the founder of Laughter Yoga, Dr. Madan Kataria have brought me to a new level. I have taken a giant step forward, to becoming a Laughter Yoga Master Trainer (MT).
Congratulations to the Bill and Linda Hamaker for becoming Master Trainers as well. Their selfless commitment to Laughter Yoga over the years is quite impressive. They are so dedicated to strengthening Laughter Yoga in the United States and I am proud to serve along them and Robert Rivest (who has been supportive of us and a great inspiration to me) as active Master Trainers representing Laughter Yoga International.
Deep gratitude laughter to LY Founders Madhuri and Madan Kataria , to my partner in Love & Laughter Jack, to my supportive sons Nicol and Jeremy, to my amazing sister Juliette for her help with this website and her brilliant photography, to my delightful laughter buddies Erdinc, Robert & Francine, to my dear Laughter Club members Jakki, Carole, Amy, Jason, David, Peter and others, to my students and to area LY pros who I have connected with through laughter. In addition, I have been very fortunate to develop connections and friendships with other Laughter Yoga professionals all over the world. I am moved and impressed by how these devoted Laughter Yogis are using their work to help others in so many creative and powerful ways. Their personal testimonials and sharing of LY experiences have helped me on my journey. Collectively, we can do so much. Love, Laughter, Joy, Playfulness, Peace. It’s all good. It’s so affirming.
In July, I will be offering my first 5-DAY Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher (CLYT) Training. I welcome leaders who wish to update & expand on their knowledge and skills. We will go deeper and further with our Laughter Yoga and it will promise to be an intense but very gratifying Laughter Yoga adventure into learning and discovery.