A description of last night’s Laughter Yoga session: A Laughter Leader goes Rogue

I love laughter club! Laughter clubs are like laughter labs, where we laughter pros and laughter club members get to have fun for an hour and are able to experiment with our laughter.

Tonight was a very special night because we were all longstanding club members and so nothing needed to be explained, we all knew the history, the reasons, the applications. We were just delighted to be together to laugh. When it is “just us”, we often improvise and try new things and there is a certain freestyle laughter that occurs that is priceless. The trust in a group like this is special. There are moments when we are all in the Laughter Zone.

To begin our gatherings, we put out a circle of chairs and people sit, chat and catch up. Friendly “hello laughter” and “happy to see you hugs”.

I invite other Laughter Leaders to jump in and co lead the session and sometimes I try to zip it and just let others take over. This allows others to hone their skills so even though I may jump in and lead an exercise or add some commentary, I try to be mindful of this being a collective session and that to grow, less experienced leaders need this chance to lead.

Even club members are encouraged to lead an exercise. Mid-session, we often do the “laughter round”, where we go around the circle and everyone gets to create a laugh and the rest of the group follows. Depending on the group size, we go around more than once. This is generally followed by gibberish, singing and dancing.

But tonight was a bit different…. It all began with Laughter Leader Carole Netter unexpectedly leading some HO HO HA HA HAs (similar to the Laughter Yoga grounding chant) to get our group to listen up and to start the session.

Then, quite enthusiastically, she invited us to join her for a little laughter adventure. She had us
– “start our engines” by inserting our “keys” into our belly buttons and then we proceeded to get up our feet and
-“drive” around the room with laughter
– practicing “red light laughter”
-“traffic jam laughter”
-“speed bump laughter”
-“parking at the supermarket laughter”
-“pushing the shopping cart laughter and loading up with groceries laughter”
-“check out laughter” and stood in a long line (lining up and -practicing “playful patience laughter with good attitude”, hands on hips, a.k.a – “Tan ta ta tan tan ta tas”
-“loading up our groceries laughter”
-“driving home and unloading our cars laughter”

Then Carole asked us what we forgot to buy and we each yelled out and item like: “Bananas!” “Milk!”, “Ice Cream!”. It was so much fun. We did end up looking in our freezers and discovered some forgotten ice cream, which we all savored. “VG, VG, YAY!”

I was astounded and so proud to see Carole take charge like that- without hesitation and with such conviction. She never missed a beat and our group of seven was happy to follow along. Brava, Carole! It was absolutely delightful and I felt so proud of her. This type of storytelling laughter can be so effective in a smaller group and allows for lots of experimentation. We’ve gone on journeys before but this one was the longest laughter adventure.

Carole got her Leader certification two and a half years ago and while she took the training for purely personal reasons, she also told me she had no intention of leading the laughter club sessions (or doing any work with it), although she continued to show up for twice weekly laughter club meetings.
I have always been respectful of not putting her on the spot or forcing her to lead an exercise. We had an understanding that she could feel free to jump in and lead an exercise when she felt comfortable enough to do so. Yesterday, she was on fire!  Go Carole Netter!!! Now I can say , Mission Accomplished!