Thursday, December 22, 2011

FIRST LAUGHTER YOGA CONFERENCE IN LATIN AMERICA, the international laughter yoga website, has just posted a news story about the first Laughter Yoga Conference in Latin America, at which I presented a program of Holy Hilarity. I'm reposting it below. Click here to see it at the website.

Dr. Nathan Mansbach, Mexico: The First Annual Latin-American Laughter Yoga Conference was held in Mexico City in October, 2011 with about 50 participants from different countries: Mexico, Venezuela, USA, Chile and Ecuador. It was an inspiring weekend full of joy and laughter with many laughter professionals presented their reports on how Laughter Yoga has helped them in their different pursuits. The conference opened with a brief party followed by an incredible night tour around Mexico City on a double-decker “Laughter Bus”, where all riders had a great time laughing, singing, dancing and interacting with citizens in a city that stays alive until late night.

Besides the fun and entertainment, there was reading of papers by laughter teachers which helped to generate more awareness about the benefits of laughter and how it has helped millions of people worldwide to keep good health. Adrian Hernandez B. (Mexico - “Ho-Ho Music”) showed us how we can utilize music, dance and play in Laughter Yoga, and how much creativity we all possess to compose and decompose a song, so that we can apply it in our sessions. Erika Ruiz (Venezuela - “Forget about Memory”) explained how Laughter Yoga can help seniors with memory loss, with or without Alzheimer, by reducing their frustration or anxiety when they cannot remember things and when they feel alone. Luis Gomez, (Mexico - “Unleash your Joy”) made everyone cry and laugh with a touching presentation about his work in prisons, and surprised all participants by bringing into stage a recently freed woman prisoner, who shared her experience in jail and how Laughter Yoga helped her during the last months.

Abby and Giovanni Pinango from Venezuela talked about how they fought breast cancer with ‘opportunity and positivity’. They now apply Laughter Yoga to manage stress and anxiety in breast cancer patients. Shanda (Mexico) delighted us with ‘Zorba the Buddha’ an Osho meditation that focuses on a human beings capable of enjoying and celebrating earthly pleasures just as Zorba the Greek did, and at the same time, remaining in the silence serenity of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha. Sebastien Gendry (USA) “Pranayahahama” shared his expertise in the applications of Pranayama to our Laughter Yoga practice and how one can obtain full benefits from various routines of diaphragmatic breathing.
Laughter Yoga sessions were also conducted by new Laughter Yoga teachers which were very inspiring. Ricardo Llorente (Ecuador - “Laughter Yoga and Addictions”) reported on how patients accounted a 100% healing rate by applying laughter exercises and meditation into their activities in a local clinic. Laura Gentry, ‘The Laughing Pastor’ from USA guided all participants into a hilarious presentation on how can Laughter Yoga can fit within traditional religious practice and how it makes us more soulful, compassionate and connected. Adriana Castro and Alejandra Lopez (Mexico - “Laughter without Tickles”) took us on a playful journey of Laughter Yoga for children based on an educative model of human development with positive attitude, promoting values of peace and non-violence. And once again, Sebastien Gendry from USA shared his expertise on how to apply Laughter Yoga in companies.
And last but not the least, we would like to emphasize that beyond our learning experience, the Congress created a deep connection and a family bonding atmosphere that permeated our souls through endless unconditional love, compassion, joyful dancing and service.
Looking forward to laughing with you next year in our 2nd Latin-American Laughter Yoga Conference in Mexico! Ha ha.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Laughter yoga is truly amazing in how it brings people together. It continues to spread across the globe and is now practiced in over 70 countries. My husband, William, and I have had the opportunity to travel to other countries to lead laughter yoga and connect with other laughter yogis. This winter, we went to South Africa. It was the fifth continent on which I've led laughter yoga! Laughter is truly the universal language. In this blog post, I'm sharing some pictures from our South African experience. Double click on images to see them larger.

From November 15 until December 9, 2011, we (the Gentrys) traveled to South Africa to present at the first Laughter Yoga and Alternative Healing Conference

South Africa is located at the bottom of the continent.

The conference was held in Durban, which is marked on this map.

We've just arrived in South Africa!

In Phoenix, near Durban, we stayed with the Surajnarayan family. We'd met them last year at the laughter yoga conference in Australia. They have conducted ground breaking research and have won the Oprah Magazine World Changer Award. See article here. On the first day of our visit, Dr. Gita was conducting a certified laughter yoga seminar. This is graduation ceremony for her student. I assisted in her training.

Toko with her certificate of graduation from the Dr. Kataria School of Laughter Yoga. Gita and I are pictured with her. She will be using laughter yoga in her social work, particularly with children all around the South Coast.

Along with Gita and Sheroma, I volunteered to lead laughter yoga with patients at the community clinic in Verlum. We brightened the folks in the waiting room of the psyciatric clinic by sharing laughter yoga with them.

Look at what a happy group they became. Laughter yoga made them so obviously joyful.
Here I am overlooking the whole clinic.

William and I with a leader at the Hare Krishna Temple, which we visited.

Gita demonstrates "Snail Mail"—you see, the snails attack and eat the mail in her mailbox.

The pier in Durban—our first view of the Indian Ocean.

The Durban coastline.

We joined Gita and Sheroma for their regular laughter club at the Verlum Day and Frail Care Center. Here, they have been running a vibrant laughter club with the elderly. They have even conducted ground breaking research on the positive effects of laughter yoga on stroke patients. Here I am in front of the building.

We prepared for the laughter club meeting.

Here I am leading laughter exercises with the club.

They even taught me how to say "Very Good, Very Good, Yay!" in Zulu.

The man on my right is one of the "miracle cases" that Dr. Gita has documented. Before doing laughter yoga, his stroke prevented him from speaking or walking. But after doing it for a while, he regained his ability to do both. It is hard to imagine a more enthusiastic laugher! Laughter literally gave him his life back.

Here I am with one of the laughter club members.

Just for fun, Gita dressed William up like an Indian groom at an Indian clothing store.

And I got to dress like an Indian bride.

Laughing in the yard.

We met up with another laughter yoga teacher, Katharina Mies from Baden, Switzerland. Here, we are doing "Raging Ape" laughter at the mall.

Their dog, Milo, and me!

This is the incredible view from the Blue Waters Hotel, at which the laughter conference was held.

To open the conference, Bhupendra Surajnarayan played a song.

Here I am getting ready for my presentation, entitled "Holy Hysterics."

One of the conference delegates, a Zulu woman from the Frail and Day Care Center Laughter Club.

Sheroma introducing me.

A few scenes from my presentation.

The group enjoying tea time.

Katharina's presentation.

Delicious buffet lunch at the hotel's dining room.

In addition to presenting at the Laughter Yoga and Alternative Healing Conference, Dr. Gita and I had the opportunity to lead a laughter yoga session with an international group of scientists who were gathering to prepare for the Cop 17 Conference being held in Durban the following week. They had a fabulous time laughing and as a result, Gita and Sheroma got invited to lead more laughter yoga at the Cop 17 event.

We helped them find more joy, hope and creativity with laughter yoga, which is important for these scientists in their research.

William and I with another one of the presenters at the laughter conference.

Bhupendra, opening the second day of the conference.

Another one of the speakers.

Toko, recent laughter yoga graduate, was a presenter on traditional African medicine.

Toko showed us some herbs used for healing in traditional African medicine.

The final speaker at the conference.

A number of the laughter club members from the Verlum Day and Frail Care Center attended the conference. They were very happy to be a part of the event. I'm pictured with four of them here.

Gita with her daughter and son.

On the last day in Duban, we went to the beach.

William with Bhupendra and Sheroma.

The Blue Waters Hotel at dusk.

Bhupendra, Gita, Sheroma, William, Katharina and me at lunch.
Some of the conference presenters.

Bhupendra and Sheroma sang some songs during the conference so everyone could get up and dance. The oldest people there seemed to be the most enthusiastic!

Here is the whole group at the conference.

Following the conference in Duban, we went to Cape Town, then took a train up to Johannesburg and went on a safari. Below are links to all these pictures at our Gentry Joint blog.