About Merrie Maggie’s Laughter Club
In November 2010, I undertook the two-day training to become a ‘Laughter Yoga Leader’ through UnitedMind in St Albans (see http://www.unitedmind.co.uk/). In January 2013 I subsequently trained to become a Laughter Yoga Teacher and can now also teach people to become Laughter Yoga Leaders.
Here I learnt that Indian GP, Dr Madan Kataria initiated the Laughter Yoga movement following research he carried out in 1995 when he experimented with laughter, engaging people in a park in Mumbai to laugh. This is now a world-wide movement. Initially they laughed at jokes but these soon ran dry, even with new people joining his experimental group; then some unsavoury jokes nearly finished the whole experiment. Dr Kataria’s wife is a Pranayama Yoga instructor and between them they devised breathing exercises combined with laughter exercises to enable the experiment to continue. As there has been scientific evidence that the body cannot differentiate between ‘real’ laughter and ‘fake’ laughter, the health and emotional benefits to be gained are immense.
Since completing my training, I have led many ‘taster’ sessions for organisations within and outside my working circle and have also set up my own full sessions, currently four Laughter Clubs at different locations, once a month, under ‘Merrie Maggie’s Laughter Club’.
These sessions consist of laughter exercises and deep breathing between the exercises with laughter ‘meditation’ (or free-flow laughter) towards the end of the session, finishing with relaxation. You might ask how you can meditate through the hubbub of laughter. If you are laughing for any period of time, it is almost impossible to let your mind wander onto any other subject – hence ‘meditation’.
The effect of these sessions is an overwhelming feeling of being uplifted and a community spirit from sharing the experience with others. I have heard people say they felt as though they were floating on such a ‘high’ afterwards for days and know exactly what they mean as I have felt this myself.