Thursday, January 26, 2012


March 30—April 1, 2012 • Ferryville, Wisconsin • Now Enrolling!

Earn lifetime certification as a Laughter Yoga Leader by enrolling in this upcoming April Fool's Day retreat to be held at a wilderness camp in the rolling hills of southwest Wisconsin. 

Most certified Laughter Yoga Leader courses are offered as a two-day seminar. While this format works, I have found that teaching it over a slightly longer period of time in a retreat setting works even better. Students have been wildly enthusiastic about learning laughter yoga in this way. So, by popular demand, I am offering a spring retreat at Sugar Creek Bible Camp in Ferryville, Wisconsin. The facility is accredited by the American Camp Association. Here, you can get away from your everyday stresses and relax in a beautiful environment.

The retreat begins Friday, March 30 at 6:00 p.m. We’ll gather in the octagonal meeting cabin for opening session. Then we’ll laugh, tell stories and roast marshmallows around a campfire in the evening. After that, the camp’s wood burning sauna will be fired up and ready for us.

On Saturday, we'll spend the entire day laughing, learning, bonding, and eating delicious food. As part of the experience, we’ll laugh our way through the camp’s labyrinth and deepen our spiritual joy.  You’ll be given some free time in the afternoon so you can explore the camp’s trails, visit with your laughter friends or curl up in your cabin for a nap. That evening, we’ll have a full-blown costume party, complete with games, gibberish singing and dancing.

Sunday—April Fool's Day—the fun continues with more practice, brunch, and the crafting of our laughing life plans. The retreat concludes with a rollicking graduation ceremony in which you’ll laugh "Pomp and Circumstance," take the laughter pledge and be zealously awarded your laughing degree-he-he. Believe me, you’ve never had such fun at graduation ceremony. We’ll then take our class pictures and be finished and ready to hit the road by 2:00 p.m. that afternoon.

This is a rare and exciting opportunity to study laughter yoga at a  retreat. The tuition is $295 (the international standard for this course, set by Laughter Yoga International) and includes all instruction to certify you as a Laughter Yoga Leader, my original manual, The Little Book of Big Laughs, a Be Laughter CD, two posters and a full color diploma professionally printed with your name.

Accommodation at the camp is in the modern Log Cabin Village. These upscale retreat lodgings are shared with up to seven persons per cabin.  Each cabin has a covered porch, a small sitting area with a fireplace and bathroom and shower facilities. 

The camp chef will pamper us with healthy, home-cooked meals. Vegetarian options will be provided. And in between those meals, there will be ample snacks and beverages for you. The hospitality can't be beat!

Cost for the two nights and all food is just $80, bringing the grand total for the weekend experience to $375. This is much more affordable than staying at a hotel and dining out. 

Below are testimonials from two laughing graduates who took the Iowa School of Laughter Yoga certified Laughter Yoga Leader retreat at Sugar Creek.

Space is limited at this highly-sought retreat so enroll as soon as possible. To do so, click the convenient Paypal button below to make your $200 deposit or call 563-880-2699 to make payment by credit card.  To enroll by mail, please fill out the application form and send a check payable to Laughing Laura to: P.O. Box 11, Marquette, IA 52158. The balance is to be paid at the start of the retreat. Register with a friend and you’ll each receive $35 off your tuition plus a free CD or DVD.

Visit The Iowa School of Laughter Yoga to learn more.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


You’re looking at my latest laughter poster (click it to increase the size). To inspire you and make you smile, I have selected 22 fun quotes that include the word “Laughter” and put them together to create this colorful work of art. 

The  11” x 17”  poster is currently in production and will release on or before February first. That means, you can pre-order it now and get FREE SHIPPING! It is  $4.95 and for a limited time I’m offering the “Friend Pack” of 3 posters for just $9.95. That way, you can share it with your laughter friends and thus do your part to increase world laughter. Very good, very good, YAY! So run (or at least do a silly walk) to The Laughter Shoppe right now and place your order. Thanks!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

INTERNATIONAL LAUGHTER YOGA WEBSITE REPORTS ON THE AFRICAN LAUGHTER CONFERENCE, the international laughter yoga website, has just posted a news story about the first Laughter Yoga Conference in Africa. I'm reposting it below. Click here to see it at the website.

The First African Laughter Yoga Conference

The First African Laughter Yoga & Alternate Healing Conference 2011 was held in Durban, South Africa on the 24/25 November. The conference was co-ordinated by Sheroma Surajnarayan and was opened with a prayer by Rev. William Gentry, a congressional minister from United States of America.
Sheroma Suraj-Narayan microbiologist and director of the African Laughter Yoga Institute delivered the key note address welcoming the conference delegates and emphasising the theme of Humour, Hope and Healing through traditional healing practices and Laughter Yoga. She also outlined her work with Laughter Yoga, together with Dr. Gita Suraj-Narayan, in South Africa, having transformed the lives of over 10,000 people through the healing system of Laughter Yoga.
Rev. Laura Gentry Director of the Iowa School of Laughter Yoga and Pastor of Our Savior's Lutheran Church, USA said Laughter Yoga is an incredible tool for nurturing spiritual growth. In this enlightening workshop, delegates learnt about the teachings on joy from major world religions and how Laughter Yoga can be integrated into these religious practices. As a minister, Rev. Laura Gentry shared firsthand how holy hilarity has enhanced her pastoral care.
Rev. Laura Gentry founded the first Laughter Club at church and is known as the laughing pastor. Five years ago, she opened the Iowa School of Laughter Yoga and has been a pioneer in spreading the laughter movement throughout the United States and around the world. She has now led Laughter Yoga in 5 continents and was selected by Dr. Madan Kataria as the first woman in America to become a Master Trainer of Laughter Yoga. Also a Laughter Ambassador, Laura has produced a number of creative, laughter resources including six CDs, a book and the film “Laugh Friends: A Laughter Yoga Workout for Kids.” With twenty years of ministry and motivational speaking experience, Laughing Laura brought radiant energy and wisdom to the Laughter Yoga workshop.
Dr. Gita Suraj-Narayan Researcher, Laughter Yoga teacher, lecturer, University of Kwa-Zulu Natal presented a scientific paper on the positive biopsycho-social impacts of Laughter Yoga on patients with dreaded and non-communicable diseases. She found that Laughter Yoga can be used as complementary alternate medicine and is the most cost-effective non-pharmacological intervention for patients in developing and 3rd world countries. She provided an overview on Ayurvedic practices and explained that we all have the potential to facilitate our own healing and demonstrated simple but effective tools and techniques. She combined ayurvedic practices with Laughter Yoga to inject positivity and bring about transformation in a practical, accessible manor that delegates can use everyday.
Katharina Aniya Mies from Switzerland presented a paper on holistic integrated healing, EFT Emotional Freedom Techniques while Bhupendra Suraj-Narayan a web developer from Pretoria presented a paper on the use of web analytics in determining the effectiveness of a website in promoting an alternate healing business. Thokozani Jali social work supervisor presented a paper on African Traditional Healing Practices which contrary to western medical practice focuses on treating the individual on a physical, emotional and spiritual level. Thokozani described the processes involved in traditional healing and demonstrated the use of indigenous plants in treatment and prevention of illnesses.
The second day of the conference marked the beginning of 16 days of Activism against women and child abuse. Participants talked about the importance of this campaign and the need for South African citizens to take a stand against gender-based violence and abuse and the need to laugh, laugh, laugh to promote peace, harmony and a non-violent society.
Barbara Scogings, Coach and Trainer in Emotional Quotient and Spiritual Quotient spoke about spiritual intelligence in today's world and high-lighted practical ways to stay spiritually grounded. Dr. Raksha Balbadhur a medical practitioner spoke about values in health care. She highlighted the need to explore alternate healing practices to complement medical interventions. She finished off her presentation with a guided meditation, leaving delegates rejuvenated and energised. Dr Sharad Hansjee a homeopath and therapeutic reflexologist also talked about the importance of homoeopathy within the medical and healing paradigm as an alternative approach to healthcare.
The conference was a huge success and delegates left the hotel feeling rejuvenated, energetic and healed from within. Many of the delegates were senior citizens and stroke survivors who greatly benefited from the workshops and seminars. The conference had an atmosphere filled with laughter, singing and dancing, which constitutes the three states of joy! The conference culminated in an exchange of skills, knowledge, resources and an African, Asian and European Alternate Healing Forum, which aims to promote alternate healing practices throughout the world.
Photos by William  F. Gentry ll

Friday, January 6, 2012


The Cedar Rapids Gazette just ran an article about the laughing work I've been doing in Iowa and beyond. It's reprinted below. The link to it at the Gazette's site is:“ha-ha-ha-ho-ho-ho”-laughter-is-best-medicine/

“Ha, ha, ha, ho, ho, ho,” Laughter is Best Medicine

LANSING — “Ha, ha, ha, ho, ho, ho, hee, hee, hee.”

Laughing Laura Gentry greets everybody she meets in the same way.

“Hahaha” reads the license plate on her little blue Mini-Cooper S.

“Ha, ha, ha,” she begins every weekly session of the Lansing Laughter Club at Our Savior Lutheran Church where, at 41, she’s been pastor for ten years.

The laughter for Laura began in 2006. She has since spread it around the world, laughing on five continents with her laughter yoga program.
In fact, Laura was in Durbin, South Africa, last month for the COP17 convention where attendees wrung their hands over the potential disastrous fallout of global warming. They obviously needed a little laughter.
“By some estimates,” Laura says, “we should be laughing 20 minutes a day. Most people laugh 15 times a day but for only 1.2 seconds each time.”
Laura was one of those.
“I was feeling particularly stressed in my profession,” she says. “It has a high burnout rate.”
Caring for a congregation is 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from birth to death. You know the burdens other people carry and share in their concerns.
Laura’s husband, William Gentry II, also experienced the stress, although on another level. He’s a black man in a predominately white community as minister of the First Congregational Church in McGregor. (They live in that church’s parsonage.) She’s quick to say the communities readily accepted the mixed-race, mixed denominational couple.
Laura and William met at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, Calif., and married in 1996. He’s from Alaska. She was born in Cedar Rapids and grew up in Illinois, Wisconsin and Dubuque. After five years in Los Angeles, they came to Iowa. As she’s expanded her laughter program, he’s pursued professional photography.
“We love Iowa,” Laura says, laughing. “Some people don’t get us here, but they tolerate us.”
The laughter, she admits, has become an important aspect of the Gentrys taking care of themselves, too.
“It’s miraculous to me how a little laughter can do so much for people,” Laura says.
Following the principals of Dr. Madan Kataria who started laughter sessions in India and brought his teachings to California, Laura incorporated her experience in dance, the arts and public speaking into “The Iowa School of Laughter Yoga.” She and William have produced books, videos and a website,, extolling laughter’s benefits. Her audiences range from executives in suits at GE Healthcare in Wisconsin to students in Chile where she and William laughed their way across the country for three weeks.
“Laughter is this universal language,” Laura says, “and we learned how true that is.”
The yoga aspect of Laura’s sessions comes not in the exercise so much as the controlled breathing with the fits of laughter. Even if you force yourself to laugh, you get the benefits. Plus, it can become contagious and develop into genuine laughter.
In a recent session Laura had participants shake their hands, roll their shoulders, hop around, breathe deeply like weeds blowing in the wind, walk with an arm extended as if they were elephants. “I am happy,” they chanted. “I am relaxed. I am happy. I am relaxed.”
“Because we don’t tell jokes,” Laura says, “nobody is being laughed at. It’s just playful laughter.”
She had everyone hold a hand over theirs noses, pretending it was a mask for laughing gas. They panted like a dog and wagged their tails. They pretended to breathe through their right ears because, as Laura said, “You can’t do it and that’s what makes it funny.”
At one point, everyone sat in a circle and smiled at each other until it became a grin and then all out laughter. It put everyone in a positive mood which, with exercise, can become habitual.
“No sense of humor is required,” Laura says, “but humor leads to laughter and laughter leads to humor.”
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Sunday, January 1, 2012


Here are the  fun, laughing interviews I recently did for a local radio station. They kindly gave me the recordings when they were done airing them so I've put them together, added visuals and put it on YouTube.