I’ve been teaching Laughter Yoga for over a decade now and one of the most common issues I see with new or inexperienced Certified Laughter Yoga Leaders is that they do not correctly introduce the Laughter Yoga exercise when they are leading a Laughter Yoga session. This usually results in the session participants feeling unsure when to join in laughing and engaging in the Laughter Yoga exercise. To remedy this issue, I suggest the 3-D Technique of Leading a Laughter Yoga exercise.
The 3-D Technique (also known as “Say, Show, Go!”):
Denote: Say the name of the Laughter Yoga exercise
Demonstrate: Show participants how the Laughter Yoga exercise looks
Command to Do: Give a clear, concise command to start the exercise
Let me give you an example using a popular Laughter Yoga exercise, Cellphone Laughter.
Step 1: Denote. Say the name of the exercise.
For example, you might say something like, “The next exercise is called Cellphone Laughter.”
Step 2: Demonstrate. While giving your verbal description of how to do the exercise, visually demonstrate how to perform the exercise. Be sure to say and show at the same time, so that your description doesn’t get too drawn out.
The Certified Laughter Yoga Leader might say something like, “In this exercise you pretend to talk on the phone with that good friend who always makes you laugh out loud. Laugh along with your friend. Share your phone with others. They’ll laugh at yours. You’ll laugh at theirs” While explaining how to do the exercise you would hold the imaginary phone up to your ear and laugh along to the funny phone conversation, then extend your arm outward to another person so that they too can laugh at your phone and vice versa.
Step 3: Command to Do. Give a clear command to start the exercise. Do this with a sense of building up tension so that everyone will release into laughing together, all at the same time, the moment you give them the command to do so.
A loud, clear and concise command to do ensures that participants start the exercise at the same time and start powerfully instead of standing around wondering if they should join in. For example, the Certified Laughter Yoga Leader might say something like, “Ready?! Pick up those phones!”
The most important skill of a Laughter Yoga instructor is to give commands for participants to start and end Laughter Yoga exercises together as a group.
Allow the exercise to run a minimum of 15 seconds. Ideally the exercise will last for at least 45 seconds. This varies with group size, among other factors. Larger and more enthusiastic groups can easily laugh and enjoy a Laughter Yoga exercise for a minute or longer.
Knowing when to end a Laughter Yoga exercise comes with experience. You want participants to have freedom to explore nuances of their playfulness and really get in touch with their creative side. You want to conclude the exercise at the height of playfulness. Conclude the exercise with one of the Laughter Yoga transitional chants (Very Good, Very Good, YAY and HO, HO, HA, HA, HA).
Want to learn how to confidently lead Laughter Yoga sessions?
If you want to learn how to confidently facilitate Laughter Yoga sessions, then take my online Certified Laughter Yoga Leader Training! Due to COVID 19 I am not facilitating another in-person Laughter Yoga Leader Training until November 2021. In the meantime, you can take my online Certified Laughter Yoga Leader Training. The training consists of a series of self-paced videos plus group coaching sessions with Celeste Greene.
What Happens in a Laughter Yoga session?
Are you considering trying Laughing Yoga but you’re not sure what to expect in a session?
In general, there are five steps of a complete Laughter Yoga session:
Step 1: Welcome
Step 2: Gentle Warm-Up
Step 3: Laughter and Breathing Exercises
Step 4: Laughter Meditation
Step 5: Grounding Activity
What are some Laughter Yoga exercises that I can try?
Aloha Laughter – Inhaling, raise both arms up; say “Alo—” for a long breath; at the very end of the breath come down with a firm “Ha-a-a!” and continue to laugh deeply.
Appreciation Laughter – I love to show appreciation to others. In this exercise you show appreciation to the people whom you enjoy laughing with. Join the tip of the index finger to the tip of the thumb to make a small circle; or use a “thumbs-up” gesture — all while laughing. You might also applaud briefly, blow kisses, give a “high five” etc. As long as you are laughing while enjoying a gesture of appreciation you are doing it right.
Mental Floss Laughter – I love this exercise for stopping ruminating thinking. I usually end up laughing so much at how ridiculous I look doing this exercise that I have to let the ruminating thoughts go! Wrap imaginary “mental” floss around hands and clean out the mind by moving the arms in and out, ridding the mind of “stinkin’ thinking.”
Shy Laughter – Hands in front of face, giggling; peek out sometimes, laugh; then cover the face again.
Laugh at Yourself – Point your two thumbs at your heart area and laugh at yourself. If you can learn to laugh at yourself you will never be out of material.
Who Created Laughter Yoga?
Laughter Yoga was developed by a medical doctor, Madan Kataria, in collaboration with his lovely wife, Madhuri, a yoga teacher. They began with a group of five people laughing in a park in Mumbai, India in 1995. Now there are thousands of Laughter Clubs in over 100 countries worldwide.