School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: February 2011
Love and Laughter

By Susannah

Last November Ya’Acov told me he had booked us into a Laughter Yoga evening workshop in Totnes. “Sounds great!” I said, thinking that at the very least, it would be a laugh. The date rolled around and we set off up to a little flat near Totnes Castle, a bit nervous that it would be horribly squeamish. We met the little group; the organiser, a friend of his, the teacher (Simone from Australia) and us.

We set off on the sweet, funny, clear, simple journey Simone took us on, and very soon we were laughing so hard we were hurting. When we got to the laughter meditation bit, I kept coming to that beautiful poignant bridge between laughter and tears. Waves of tears kept almost engulfing me, then the next gale of laughter would lift them and toss them laughing into the winds. Every now and then I became aware of feeling worried “they are all laughing, have I missed the joke?” and each time I realised that there was no joke, nothing to get, nothing not to get, and I could let go again and just laugh, cry and laugh again.  In this place I felt so much love and intimacy with everyone there. When we finally came to rest Simone guided us into a deep stillness. I felt very blessed, alive and quiet.

Afterwards, Simone told us about the guy who had created Laughter Yoga (Dr Kataria) and about the next teacher training he was doing in India. She also said it was his vision to bring about world peace through laughter. I understood! Extraordinarily (for us) we were free on those dates. We got home, checked him out on U-tube, fell in love with him cracking up about himself being the founder of “The International School of Laughter Yoga” and decided to go.  It was too whimsically weird and wonderful a thing to pass up, even though we are very committed to not flying unless we feel we have to. So, we ummed and ahhed and then decided to go and to plant many more trees through ……….

And then we got there. After our beautiful days at the Ayurvedic spa (See Y’s piece) we visited with Shiuli’s grandmother and great aunts and some of her extended family. What a delight. I felt so at home, as if I was with my own grandmother and family. Then there was a moment that took my breath away. It was when we were saying our farewells. One of those leaving with us was a grandson who was just about to return to University. As he said his goodbyes to his grandmother and great aunts he got right down and kissed their feet and they blessed him. Even now it brings me tears. Amidst shared laughter and tears I did the same and I was blessed too. I know Indian society is in many ways not a model to which I would aspire, and that this authority given to the elders is not always used benevolently, but nevertheless it touched something very deeply in me. And it was also shocking, in a good way, to see something that is so natural and normal for a young, educated, worldly young man, and which is SO different from what we know here in the west.

Then tears dried and connections made, we went on to the School of Ancient Wisdom where the Laughter Yoga training was to be held. After a beautiful fire ceremony that first night for our own School’s birthday (so many schools!) which was attended by most of the group, we entered Dr Kataria’s programme. We had a wonderful laugh, learnt a huge amount about training and being trained (as well as about Laughter Yoga) were very impressed by Dr Kataria’s approach to things and his overall playful, serious and creative take on life, which includes his already well enroute vision of free Laughter Yoga clubs in which people can laugh together in all the cities of the world (as well as world peace of course!). We were also touched by being part of what became a deeply heartful process with a truly international group of people.

We will see how Laughter Yoga integrates itself as one more strand of the interwoven fabric of our offerings (some of you will already have experienced a little of it with us!) and also, as soon as we can we will be offering a Laughter Yoga leader training following Dr K’s guidelines. Watch this Space.

Meanwhile, we are finding that making the choice to laugh, mostly at ourselves, or at nothing at all, is aerating our lives, our thinking and our feeling, and we are very grateful. One of the many things I loved about what Dr Kataria said, was the important thing is not laughter, but play and the creativity which accompanies it.

I hope this finds you in a place of joy and heart, and I hope to meet you soon and share this wonderful dance we call life,  in one way or another,




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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of the School of Movement Medicine. Roland Wilkinson, Nappers Crossing, Staverton, Devon TQ9 6PD, UK Tel & Fax +44 (0)1803 762255 http://www.