Sunday, June 28, 2009


Cedar Valley club uses laughter yoga to relax, energize and heal

That's the title of an article that appeared in the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier newspaper on Sunday, June 28, 2009. It was in the "It's All Good" section. This club was started by some of my laughter students and I am so excited to see how they are spreading the joy. Below is the article by Nancy Justis.

CEDAR FALLS—Laughter really can be the best medicine for what ail you. Just ask members of the Cedar Valley Laughter Club.

"You can't be thinking about the future, or worrying about the past when you are laughing," said Eliz Guyer, one of five local residents who a year ago trained to be a laughter yoga leader. "It's a great exercise to get you to slow down, put things in perspective. You laugh at things more. If you can't control it, you can laugh about it or you can cry about it."

Rick and Bea Koontz first became aware of laughter yoga in 2001 when it was demonstrated at an elderhostel they were attending. Six years later Bea became acquainted with Jen Christiason, a former college friend of the Rev. Laura Gentry of Lansing. Gentry leads the Lansing Laughter Club. She trained under a medical doctor in India, who along with his wife, developed the exercise tha combines laughter and deep breathing techniques to maximize the benefits of a workout.

In early 2008, the Cedar Falls Library hosted more than 100 people for a demonstration by Gentry. Shortly thereafter, Bea, Christiason, Guyer, Kate Hall and Cyndy Franklin participated in a two-day training session to become laughter yoga leaders. In June of last year, they held their first session for local enthusiasts.

"You know when you go out to eat with friends and you laugh and you know how good you feel afterwards?" said Bea. "It's not that people in our group don't recognize awful things or haven't gone through awful things. Good and bad things come from that place where you don't really have words to put around it. Laughter comes out of the same place. It can both heal and energize."

The club holds three 10-12-week sessions during a year. Participants come from all walks of life. Some come on their lunch break; some come directly from work; some are retired; others work in high-stress jobs.

The summer session began June 8 and meets at 12:15 p.m. for a half hour each Monday at the Satori Hospital gazebo, weather permitting. The fall session meets September through November and the winter session January through April. At a recent gathering, 15 people were in attendance, including Guyer's 8-year-old daughter and two first timers who joined regular Ruth Hovelson.

Retiree Kate Nimrod has been one of the most consistent members over the last year. "I like to laugh ad have a good time," she said. "It's helpful. I like being with people."

The 30 minutes begin with warm-up breathing and stretching exercises; move into various laughter exercises, including chants, cheers and songs; and concludes with additional calming breathing techniques.

Guyer says it can be difficult in the beginning to laugh naturally. "At first it felt fake or forced. It didn't feel genuine. Your body doesn't know the difference between fake laughter and real laughter. You get all the same endorphins, lowering of your blood pressure. After awhile it turns into real laughter."

Participants have felt a definite improvement in their daily demeanor. Bea said she is more aware of the present and is enjoying life. "By doing this weekly, it's that constant reminder to lighten up, to energize. It keeps me aware that there is joy and we should cultivate it." Rick says he sleeps better.

Margaret Shay said laughter yoga is a different kind of exercise. "I feel energized," she said. "You can do it on a regular basis, feel the benefits of it, meet new people. It's amazing when you do it for half an hour."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


On June 7, three certified laughter yoga leaders graduated from the Iowa School of Laughter Yoga and laughed their way into the future. These amazing, happy new leaders are pictured above with me: Mary Harris, Connie White and Diane Stoffregen.

They have been added to the database as well as the listing. Contact them if you need some laughter leadership.

Mary Harris
807 Summit St.
Marshalltown, IA 50158

Diane Stoffregen
1303 S. 19th St
La Crosse, WI 54601

Connie White
1010-19th St NE
Rochester, MN 55906

The next seminar is coming up this week in Dallas Texas! It is not too late to register. Visit to learn more.

Laughter school is so much fun. You don't even get in trouble for giggling with your friends. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Thursday, June 18, 2009


The Iowa School of Laughter Yoga now offers E-courses!

While attending a laughter yoga leader seminar or retreat in person is the most transformative experience and therefore recommended, I understand that this is not always feasible. Therefore, a new e-course has been specially designed to meet your busy lifestyle. My  e-course is the most convenient way to become a certified laughter yoga leader. Study on-line at your own pace—from anywhere in the world— and learn laughter yoga in your spare time. Ha ha ha! What could be easier?

Here's how it works. Register at at my website,  and pay the tuition on-line through Paypal or mail a check. You'll be sent a .PDF file of HA HA HA: Laughing Laura's Guide to Laughter Yoga. You will, then, receive 6 separate laughter lessons by e-mail. Each will have a set of assignments for you to complete. This enables you to have an interactive experience even though you're doing the work as an e-course. You can also ask as many questions as you'd like and I will get back to you with answers. If you have Skype capabilities, the assignments may be discussed with me in real time through Skype. After all of the lessons have been completed, you'll receive your signed laughter yoga leader diploma, CD and laughing poster by mail. It's that easy!

"I really enjoyed Laughing Laura's e-course! I learned a lot and had such fun. It was very convenient and fast-moving."
—Deborah Daniels

The introductory offer now available is just $100. This includes tuition, laughter manual, CD, poster and diploma. This deal won't last so do it today!

Register on-line or send a check to: Laura Gentry, PO Box 11, Marquette, IA 52158.

Just to review, the benefits of becoming a certified laughter yoga leader are many. Here are just a few:

• A Comprehensive Laughter Manual
You'll receive an original, comprehensive laughter training manual called: HA HA HA: Laughing Laura's Guide to Laughter Yoga. Laura has written this manual based upon her own years of experience. It contains everything you need to know to become an effective laughter yoga leader and has an expansive collection of laughter yoga exercises, many of which are original. It gives suggestions for solo laughter practice and even addresses the spirituality of laughter yoga. It offers inspiration for how to live a more laughing life, and other valuable materials on how to launch your laughter-based career activities.

• Personal Renewal
Most laughter grads consider the seminar (whether taken in person or on-line) a life-changing experience that helped them find greater wellness through joy and intentional laughter.

• Confidence
When you train with Laughing Laura, you can be confident you are receiving the most accurate and direct transmission of the training, as Laura has been trained and certified by Dr. Kataria himself, the founder of the worldwide laughter club movement. He's named Laughing Laura a "Laughter Ambassador" for her outstanding work in the field of laughter yoga.

• On-Line Referrals
When you train with Laughing Laura through any of her seminars, you will be registered at the international laughter yoga Web site as a certified laughter yoga leader, where you may receive referrals and inquiries from all over the world (your basic listing is free) as well as here on the page for the Iowa School of Laughter Yoga.

• Connection
The seminars and retreats help laughter students build lasting friendships with Laughing Laura and fellow laughers. The synergy of the group helps students find support, inspiration and brainstorming opportunities. Upon graduation, you'll also be invited to join a free on-line forum specifically for the graduates of the Iowa School of Laughter Yoga where you can continue to connect and share ideas with others as well as Laughing Laura.

• Beautiful Diploma
Laughing Laura offers an originally designed, professionally printed, archival, full-color laughter diploma (pictured below), which shows lifetime certification as a laughter yoga leader through the Iowa School of Laughter Yoga in affiliation with the Dr. Kataria School of Laughter Yoga.

• Supervised Practice
Even with laughter, practice makes perfect. During the seminars and retreats, you'll have ample opportunity to practice and polish your laughter leadership skills. For on-line learners, there is also valuable feedback offered to help you become a great laughter yoga leader.

• Laughter Yoga CD
As a way to help you keep up your daily laughter practice, you'll receive a copy of Laughing Laura's one-of-a-kind CD for commuters, "Laugh Your Way There."

• Laughter Inspiration Poster
You will also receive a "Live a Laughing Life" Poster. This is an original work of art by Laughing Laura featuring many fabulous and inspirational ideas for living in the joyful spirit of laughter.

Do something for yourself and for the world: become a certified laughter yoga leader.