Friday, March 23, 2012


This article just ran in The Standard of Waukon, Iowa. Click here to see it at the Standard site.

Friday, February 17, the TASC, Inc. building on Mt. Olivet Road in Waukon was literally bursting with laughter. The special guest that day was the Reverend Laura Gentry. An internationally recognized teacher of laughter yoga and pastor of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Lansing, Gentry led a session of laughter exercises for more than 40 members of the TASC community.

TASC is a community-based organization, which promotes and builds a more inclusive community where people with disabilities obtain jobs and housing of their choosing, wages commensurate with their skills, and increased self-dependence and integration in their communities through progressive and effective program services.

“Laughter is exceptionally good for physical and emotional health,” said Gentry. “It also helps boost self-esteem, which is particularly great for disabled persons.” She explained that the method of laughter yoga, which is now practiced in 70 countries around the world, enables people to experience acceptance and joy. “You could certainly see that at TASC. Everyone was having a fantastic time,” she added.

This wasn’t the first time that laughter yoga has been led at TASC. Gentry volunteered to offer a session there several, years ago and since November TASC Program Associate Kim Timmerman has been leading laughter yoga sessions there each week.

Timmerman is a member of the Lansing Laughter Club, led by Gentry. The club meets each Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. in Lansing. There, she learned a number of laughter exercises and yoga breathing techniques. 

Timmerman is pictured here with members of her Laughter Club at TASC

Last fall, she decided it was time to share these things with the TASC community. “They love it!” declared Timmerman. “Most people laugh whenever they see me now. They call me the Laughing Lady.”

Laughter yoga is a great addition to the programs offered by TASC, Timmerman explained, because it gets people doing physical exercise. She says even if they are restricted to a wheelchair, they still get a cardiovascular workout by laughing.

“Some of the individuals I work with can’t comprehend a joke but with laughter yoga they don’t need to. They just see me laughing and they laugh along or at least smile. It is so contagious, which makes it really effective here”.

Timmerman used the principles of laughter yoga in other parts of her work at TASC as well. She recalled an incident in which a woman in her care was very upset and needed to be taken to another part of the facility to have her conflict resolved by a staff member. 

Timmerman suggested that they laugh their way there instead of just walking. The woman agreed and by the time they got to the office, her distress had dissipated. “She couldn’t even remember why she was mad,” said Timmerman. “She was in a great mood again.”


UPDATE: The Laughter Yoga Leader Retreat being held over April Fool's Weekend got so full that we've had to secure a bigger meeting space on the camp. So many amazing laughers! And that's good news for you. If you haven't yet registered, there is now extra space for YOU. Click here for details.

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