Call me a dreamer but I picture a Queensland with laughter clubs in every neighbourhood. COVID-19 has enabled the next best thing…
What are laughter clubs?
Laughter clubs are the social hubs of joy, the heart of the laughter yoga movement as founder Dr Madan Kataria envisaged.
Laughter clubs are run by trained volunteer ‘laughter yoga leaders’, they are free or very low cost, usually gather weekly in a hall or a park and practise laughter yoga.
This group activity is gently aerobic, it is mentally uplifting and it’s social.
It’s not about jokes or comedy. It’s everything to do with feeling well.
Until a few weeks ago, before coronavirus COVID-19, laughter yoga was almost always and only delivered face-to-face.
Laughter yoga is practised in 110 countries. There are clubs across Australia. Yet they can only be where volunteers with the training, time and passion are. In Queensland, we have such wonderful laughter yoga leaders in a couple of locations in Brisbane and regionally, including the Gold Coast, Mount Isa, Rockhampton and Toowoomba. We’re a vast state so enquiries were still received that couldn’t be resolved: a laughter club somewhere else, or on a different day or time. Some enquirers work shifts. Some live in remote or regional areas. Some have challenges leaving the home without social distancing.
We can thank COVID-19 for prompting laughter yoga practitioners to look at ways to meet demand when we cannot be everywhere, all the time (at least during these challenging times).
Like some other practitioners, I have been running my weekly laughter club online using a popular video-conferencing app. What has surprised and delighted me has been participation by people not living in my neck of the woods: people who have wanted to do laughter yoga but haven’t been able to because there was no club…
Laughter clubs online 7 days a week
From Monday 11 May 2020, while restrictions remain, Laughter Yoga Australia has organised free laughter club online 7 days a week.
There’s a different facilitator/laughter leader every day of the week, with sessions at varying times of morning, afternoon and evening. I’m proud to be one of those 7 volunteers. Note these are all Australian Eastern Standard times 🙂
- Mondays 10am Email David
- Tuesdays 8.30pm Email Peter
- Wednesdays 10am Email Sharon
- Thursdays 9.30am Email Jane
- Fridays 4pm Email Kym
- Saturdays 10am Email Lesley
- Sundays 5pm Email me – HeatherJoy
Choose the time that suits you and email the facilitator for their link to join in. There is no cost.
How laughter yoga can help you stay well
We are urged to do everything we can to support our immune system—eat balanced and healthy meals, exercise, get good sleep… and stress less.
Laughter is a terrific way of stressing less – and laughter yoga is a terrific way of achieving it. Let me explain why.
Chronic stress exposes the body to a steady stream of stress hormones that suppress the immune system. That opens your body to illness from colds to serious disease. Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system.
Easing stress lowers the stress hormone. Laughter yoga actually enables the body to deliver a DOSE of happy hormones and neuropeptides – Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin and Endorphins. You relax.
Laughter also helps lower your heart rate and blood pressure.
When we laugh, we exhale more stale old air from our lungs, replenishing with oxygen-rich air. This stimulates the heart, lungs, brain and muscles.
When we laugh for an extended period, blood vessels dilate. Circulation is stimulated, muscles relax: again, we destress.
Laughter yoga uplifts our mood, banishes blues and creates a sense of connection. These factors also contribute to bolstering our immune system.
You can read more about why the Mayo Clinic says laughter is good medicine.
Check out this list of 25 benefits of laughter yoga
I hope you’ll join me or my 6 other colleagues – or all of us – for health-giving laughter yoga.
Be a part of a happydemic, spreading wellbeing throughout laughter — a contagion we don’t want to fight!
(c) 2020 HeatherJoy Campbell
HeatherJoy Campbell is Queensland’s leading trainer and facilitator of laughter wellbeing workshops, using the platform of laughter yoga, in workplaces, communities, and aged care. She runs The Gap Laughter Club in Brisbane, Australia, and delights in training ‘laughter yoga leaders‘.