Love and Laughter in the Heart of the City

In my experience, Laughter Yoga and the many benefits it brings can, and often does, lead to powerful healing and profound transformation in people. In this post I’ll be sharing my recent experience within the community of Grenfell Tower with Simba the Husky and discussing the importance of delivering Laughter Yoga with the lightest of touches, in the most sensitive of environments.

Sometimes laughter is not appropriate and my recent visit to the community of Grenfell Tower was one such example that pushed my courage and ability as a Laughter Ambassador to its very limits and beyond.

Hopefully this post will help others to reflect on the importance of the intention behind their Laughter Yoga practice and encourage those that feel ready to help others to do so, especially when and where it’s needed the most.

The Call
Just six weeks after the Grenfell Tower disaster, Simba and I received a request from grass-roots activist and community artist Sophie Lodge at #24Hearts (representing the 24 floors of the tower), to visit the community, lend a hand where we could and share some smiles in the lead up to Notting Hill Carnival.

I didn’t know Sophie at all, but she told me that she had attended one of my workshops at a festival in 2015 and now felt very strongly that it would be good to have my input.

How could I refuse? A request to help others, in a place I didn’t know, with so many in need, from a person I barely knew. So, of course, I listened to my heart, acknowledged the call, gave thanks and said yes.

Sophie Lodge, Visionary Community Artist and Founder of #24Hearts. www.24hearts.org. The, now iconic, ‘ComeUnity’ installation at Notting Hill Carnival, 2016.

Fundraising
When Tim and I founded Laughter Time as a Social Enterprise in 2015, we did so with a strong pull towards helping others to live a happier and healthier life. Those that know us well, know that money and power is not our driving force at all. No, despite having lots of business management skills between us, we get our kicks from helping others and co-creating an even more beautiful world of love and laughter. It’s just how we roll.

And so it followed that in February of 2016, without fully knowing the what, the when or the how, we spoke to our bank manager and formerly constituted The Laughter Foundation to raise funds and provide help and hope to those in need.
https://laughtertime.co.uk/thelaughterfoundation/

With Grenfell Tower as our first chosen cause and The Laughter Foundation as our vehicle, we now needed to raise the funds necessary to complete the delivery of our task.

After some research and rough calculations we launched our JustGiving campaign to raise a total of £500 with a video to outline our mission. https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/laughter-foundation-grenfell-tower

The Journey Begins
On Sunday 13th August we woke at 06:00. Our train was not due until 09:52 but we still had a few jobs to do before leaving. I always like to travel light wherever I go, but this time it was essential, as I had to carry all of Simba’s belongings and food too. We had a light breakfast and a long walk before making our way to the train station. Our adventure was about to begin.

I re-homed Simba in February and to my knowledge he’s never been to a City before or travelled anywhere by train. We both feel most at home in the forests and hills and this was going to really push our powers of concentration to the limit. I had to stay calm and focussed, show him the way and keep us both safe but I also had to accept that we were both going deep into the unknown and have total trust that everything would work out perfectly. We needed each other.

Our journey begins.

To my joy, Simba took to public transport like a duck to water. Despite the clanking of iron and hissing of brakes as the train came into the station, the beeps and whooshing of the doors as they opened, he was not fazed at all and we hopped on, took our seats, made some friends and continued our journey to Birmingham, Simba’s first big city.

The time passed quickly with all the new smells and happenings, we disembarked swiftly at Birmingham New Street and made our way on foot, across town to Moor Street station where we would catch our final connection to London, Marylebone.

Our next train was full due to a cancelation elswhere on the line, so we found a spot against the door and made ourselves as comfortable as possible. Hahahah. There wasn’t much we could do about it, acceptance was the key and with his usual coolness, Simba remained calm, took his place and was good as gold for the remaining 1hr 45mins journey to London. What a star.

Floor space only on the fast train to London.

Arrival in London
Our train was on time and we arrived at Marylebone at 13:40. It was quieter than normal with it being a Sunday afternoon so after a quick bowl of water on the platform, whilst everyone else hurried off the train, we tightened our belts/collar, hitched up our rucksack and went for it.

I’d previously done some homework and knew that the walk from Marylebone would take about an hour which I thought would give us a chance to stretch our legs before meeting our contact in Portobello. We turned right onto the main road and was met by a terrific onslaught of heat, noise and fumes as we joined the A40 Westway. In just a short while we joined the canal and had a lovely walk along the towpath via little Venice, which has always been one of my favourite places in London.

The first thing that immediately became apparent was how much attention Simba was getting. Never before have I stopped and chatted to so many people in London. It was quite amazing to witness the instant connection he made with people. He’s a very gentle and noble dog and seemed to really enjoy the friendly welcome to the city he was getting from passersby. In particular I stopped and sat for a while with a man who was homeless. We shared some time talking about Simba and what life on the street was like. It was beautiful to be on no fixed schedule and just allow ourselves to be fearlessly guided… my favourite way to journey through life.

Simba enjoyed the canal side walk, a reminder that nature was not so far away, and a short while later we arrived at Portobello Green, our pre-arranged rendezvous point with Sophie. The whole area was vibrating with deep reggae beats from enormous sound systems as we’d arrived in the middle of the Notting Hill Pioneers Festival, a smaller gathering to celebrate the people that are central to the success of Notting Hill Carnival (now in its 51st year).

Simba’s attention continued to grow as we mingled with the crowd and I enjoyed connecting with anyone who was interested in getting to know him better. Old or young, black or white, rich or poor he touches them all. He’s an absolute star and I was so proud of him. We had arrived. We were now totally immersed into the heart of the community that had been so deeply affected by the fire and we were already connecting and raising some smiles and chuckles. I felt honoured to be there and a great sense of responsibility to remain sensitive, focus on the positive and bring some peace if I could, if only for a few brief days.

The Notting Hill Pioneers Festival at the heart of the Community.

It was a relief to finally meet Sophie again who easily spotted us in the crowd. Simba and I had been generously given the loan of her Air B&B for a few days and after a short walk and a small flight of stairs we were able to finally take off our rucksack and catch our breath. This was to be our safe haven during our stay. It was comfortable, had everything we would need and I felt very well looked after indeed.

After a quick bowl of water we were out onto the streets again and a few minutes later we found ourselves four stories up and on the roof terrace of the historic KPH pub at Ladbroke Grove. And then it hit me.

A general view of KPH Pub in Ladbroke Grove, London, England.<br /> Eddie Izzard and musicians Paul Simonon and Cerys Matthews are backing the landlord of their 150-year-old local pub in a battle with the new owner over its future.<br /> The Kensington Park Hotel — known as the KPH — in Ladbroke Grove was<br /> bought by SWA Developments from Punch Taverns in a £3.2 million deal.

The historic Kensington Park Hotel.

The charred, wet, horrific remains of Grenfell Tower stood out all on its own. It was so close. So big. Just two or three streets away. Sophie told me that it was from here that they had watched the inferno take hold. My heart stopped, and my gut wrenched as I stood, struggling to comprehend the suffering. Transfixed. The silence was deafening. Time had stopped. This was a community in shock. I felt numb.

Before retiring for the night, Simba and I took our first evening walk in the city. The light was beginning to fade as we paced out a circuit around our home base. The streets were quiet and under the Westway viaduct, at the base of the tower we met a lovely old lady who was tidying the shrine and tending to the flowers. Every day since the fire, she had done this. Being of service in the best way that she knew how.

She seemed intrigued by Simba and so I asked her if she’d had a stroke. She looked at me blankly and then I realised my mistake “I mean a stroke of the dog, not an actual stroke”. He face instantly lightened, we laughed heartily together and it felt good.

When the light had finally gone, the energy also appeared to darken and it was time for us to acknowledge the signs, quit while we were ahead and call an end to our first very long day.

Working the Streets
We woke early with the sun. The unfamiliar sounds of the jungle and dawn chorus of commuters had made for a restless sleep and Simba was keen to get straight out for his morning walk in the local park.

From the moment we left the flat Simba was working his magic. There’s something very special about him and this is particularly apparent in the city where Wolf/Snow Dogs are so rare. People just can’t help but to connect with him. It’s as if his very presence reminds them of something deep within themselves, something primal, their own true nature. Kindness. Happiness. Oneness. Love.

We spent the morning getting our bearings. Stopping and chatting to whoever caught our eye, sharing a smile, a moment of time, some kindness, compassion and conversation whenever possible until finally we arrived at Maxilla Gardens, the ‘pop-up’ headquarters of the #24hearts community project.

The #24hearts community project at Maxilla Gardens

Sharing the Love.

Since the morning after the night before, Sophie had been making, and teaching others to make, waxed tissue paper hearts from bay 19 ¾ below the Westway (A40). Now, with a small group of volunteers the work had expanded into tidying up the gardens themselves. Just a few weeks ago the scene was quite different, but today new seeds were being planted in the hearts of all those who came.

Sophie soon had a small crowd of children busy making hearts in advance of the carnival and Simba was very happy to take a break and share some of his love with his new admirers.

Acceptance
As much as I could see the positive affect that Simba and I were having on people I still felt unsure of the exact purpose of my role. I am the sort of person that likes clarity and vision. I see complex situations like a puzzle and enjoy the process of seeing patterns and methodically making sense of things. But this time things were different. Very different.

Confusion, bewilderment, uncertainty, suffering, despair and anger hung thick in the air. The remains of the tower loomed heavily over the whole community and with Notting Hill Carnival less than two weeks away, I could feel the pressure that people were under, all around me.

I wanted to help but didn’t know. With Simba always on a lead in one hand I felt quite useless at times. Just standing around like a spare part and watching the world go by. I felt like an outsider, with a wolf, in the city, a long way from home and our normal routines.

Just then we were greeted by local resident Anita and her dog Bella, who was ready for a stroll and so we did another circuit of the streets around the tower.

Being a woman with her ear to the ground, with several generations of family in the area, Anita gave me the low down and made me feel very welcome. Every street corner, every railing, every community building, every church door, every pub was decorated with flowers and messages of peace and love. I felt honoured to spend this time connecting with Anita, she was very kind, the sky was blue and peace had returned to my heart.

It was then that I let go of my desire to know the answer and accepted the ambiguity and uncertainty  of the situation with a smile and complete trust. My number one priority was for the safety and wellbeing of Simba. I stopped beating myself up and starting instead to make the most of every moment of connection we were having on the streets and in the parks, however brief they may be, with no intention other than to share unconditional love and listen for a brief moment in time.

Simba catching some zzz’s well after a hard day at work in the city.

Forgiveness
I cannot begin to understand the extent of the hardships faced every day by the community around Grenfell Tower. I witnessed extreme poverty and tragic destruction standing cheek by jowl against the profligacy of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Black communities marginalised, victimised and criminalised. Homeless people taking shelter in the doorways of empty houses owned by overseas property investors. The haves and the have nots. A world of separation, fear and ruthless competition.

Underneath the Westway viaduct in the shadow of the tower, a ‘Fight for Justice and Unity’ protest meeting had started. The mostly black community were angry and with very good reason, but calls for peace and unity from respected community elders were met with cheers of agreement and applause from the crowd.

It seemed as though the tragedy of the tower itself was just one more heavy blow, amongst many that this multicultural community had to bear.

As night once again began to follow day, I realised that forgiveness must come first before love can freely flow. At some point someone just needs to let go of the grievance. If we’re waiting for someone to come forward and apologise for the suffering and hardship that has been caused by countless generations of people, then we’ll be waiting for ever. On the other hand, we can take control of our own lives now and actively forgive those who have trespassed against us. We can just let go of the hot coal that burns us so badly. Forgiveness is in fact, an act of self-love.

This doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t be held accountable for their actions. But two wrongs do not make a right. Hurt people, hurt people. They know not what they do. In forgiving others we do not absolve them of their guilt, nor allow them to reoffend once discovered. We do however, give ourselves the gift of loving kindness and the space we need to heal our old wounds and positively move forward in life. If love is the answer then forgiveness of self and other must be the key.

A Social Movement for Positive Change
With each day came a new set of faces with unknown life stories attached and Simba diligently continued his gentle healing work. I seized every opportunity to make eye contact with strangers, to smile and share a light-hearted chuckle or two if that were possible.

Laughter Yoga for me is so much more than running workshops, training courses and events. It’s actually more akin to a global social movement for positive change. I believe that laughter, kindness, compassion and love are our natural states of being. It’s what the universe wants for us and anything other than that which brings us joy is a form of resistance to what is. A corruption of the truth. Swimming against the flow, if you like.

The physical act of authentic, heart-centred laughter with (not at) another is a gift of unconditional love. Laughter helps us to open up the gaps in our shield of protection, allowing the light to come in once again. The healing effects of sustained belly laughter are deep, powerful and almost instantaneous.

Compassion, however, is crucial. Listening to, understanding and meeting the other person exactly where they are at, before gently guiding them, at their own speed, towards finding their own inner joy is the way to achieve lasting benefits.

To change a community there must first be an individual desire to change and this is exactly where Laughter Yoga can come into play. Practicing Laughter Yoga is about regularly nudging our physical and emotional state back into the positive. From this standpoint we can focus on what’s ‘right’ with our lives instead of what’s ‘wrong’ with it. We shift our attention to wellness instead of illness. We remember to focus on what we do want, rather than what we don’t want. We are consciously shifting our own physical, emotional and energetic state from one of desire and suffering to one of acceptance and joy in the present moment.

We get what we focus on. What we put our attention to becomes our reality, so we may as well focus on what’s good in the world. Turn off the telly and focus on the love that is all around us.

Simba hard at work

Love Wins
We spent our final morning in London walking the streets as we had done for the past three days. We were looking forward to heading back to the hills again but also wanted to make the most of our last few hours in the City.

As we stopped outside a church one of the handmade messages caught my eye. “Love wins”. It’s true. Love will always win. Always. Love is our default position. Just like an elastic band, we can stretch away and deny the truth as much as we like, but when all resistance is gone, we will return to our natural state of unconditional love. It is inevitable.

We come from love, we are made of love and we return to love. This is central to all Yogic teachings and Laughter Yoga is no different. It might sound a bit hippie to some, but to me it is both logical and scientific.

Evolution will always favour what works best and getting along and helping each other to thrive is what works best for all. The trees, all the animals and insects, the plants and microorganisms all work together, in harmony to maintain a sustainable equilibrium. Today an increasing number of people are talking about the Love Revolution but it seems to me that it’s much more about the natural ‘Evolution’ of our species to live in harmony with all once again.

The last word from Grenfell Tower.

Farewell London
We made our way back along the towpath and towards Marylebone stopping as we always had for a few extra strokes here and there.

Our final interaction was with a man who had tears in his eyes as he hugged and kissed Simba with such affection. He told me he was homeless and I was humbled and became tearful to witness the love that poured from this man. Another good soul that, through a lack of love, had learnt to find his solace from alcohol and was now living on the streets. It touched me deeply. I loved him.

We took our place on the afternoon train to avoid the rush hour as much as possible and seamlessly travelled North once again. The trains were mostly empty and Simba stretched out, snoozed and dreamt about chasing rabbits. From Birmingham we changed at Shrewsbury and by tea time we were safely back home and in front of the fire.

Thank you
Our trip was now over and had been made possible by the gracious support of many amazing people.

In total we raised £445 from 23 very generous people, as well as many more who liked, shared and followed our posts and gave us the confidence we needed to continue in trust.

As we had been gifted our accommodation our total costs for the four days amounted to just £69.10, consisting of a return train fare to London (£41.00) and a fee to Just Giving of £28.10.

The final balance stands at £375.90 and is available for the next time it’s needed.

Of course the 23 people who supported us financially deserve a special thank you from me but I’d rather do that privately and in person so as not to embarrass anyone publically…. but you all know who you are and I am deeply grateful for your individual encouragement and support. It means so much.

With love and laughter,
Wes and Simba.

PS – Now play this. 🙂

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7W2DfT5Ba8

Subscribe to our blog or visit www.laughtertime.co.uk to bring laughter to your own life.

The Ultimate Guide to Laughter Yoga.

Laughter Time Therapeutic Laughter Connection TLCMore and more people around the world are becoming interested in the many benefits of laughter as part of a holistic approach to wellbeing and there seems to be a great deal of discussion and many ideas and misunderstandings about what Laughter Yoga actually is.

As an experienced Laughter Yoga Teacher and Founder Member of Laughter Yoga UK (LYUK) and Co-Founder of the annual LYUK Conference and Laughter Festival, I often get asked about the nature of my work.

In this ‘Ultimate Guide to Laughter Yoga’ I’ll be sharing with you the science, philosophies, principles and techniques that make Laughter Yoga such an effective and all inclusive practice.

My aim is to simply explain what Laughter Yoga is and to encourage those who feel drawn to Laughter Yoga as a practice for achieving sustainable health and wellbeing benefits, to take the next step on this most joyful of journeys.

If you would like to contribute to this article with any edits, improvements, additional information or new links then please do Contact Us or comment below.

Laughter Yoga UK Professional Member - Wes FloydWhat is Laughter Yoga?
Laughter Yoga is both a joyful way of ‘being’ in the world and a series of therapeutic techniques that enable anyone to bring more joy into their lives without the need for comedy, jokes or humour.

The word “Yoga” itself is an ancient Sanskrit word that means to “yoke” or “come together as one”. In Laughter Yoga, the outcome of togetherness is exactly the same. Through laughter we can more easily connect with each other and to our true, authentic selves which naturally leads to more peace and joy in our world.

Physiologically, we all instinctively know that laughter is good for us and there is a fast growing body of scientific evidence that demonstrates exactly why this is the case, which I’ll go into more later. We’ve all heard that “Laughter is the best medicine” and we always feel better after we’ve been laughing. It is fairly safe to assume, therefore, that if we laugh more often, we will feel better more often.

The core principle behind the practice of Laughter Yoga is that of ‘unconditional laughter’ and it can have a very powerful effect, particularly on those who have not experienced hearty laughter for some time. With regular practice Laughter Yoga can help us to develop a more playful presence in our daily lives as we more frequently notice the joy in each and every moment.

As a healing modality, Laughter Yoga can be effectively used to help people to naturally come alive and flower again from the inside out, which is essential to achieving any lasting change. Laughter Yoga is not about pretending to be happy, it is about recognising the joy inherent with life itself and committing to experiencing each moment in a more positive, more present way.

As a physician, Dr. Madan Kataria knew very well the many positive health benefits that laughter could bring when, in 1995, he founded the first ever Laughter Club with just 5 people in a Mumbai park.

Each day the club grew a little larger as more and more people became interested in this new idea but, it soon became apparent that the problem with using any form of comedy, jokes or humour to stimulate our laughter is that:

  1. What one person finds funny another does not (ie comedy, jokes and humour have a limited capacity for producing universally positive emotions) and
  2. We require something funny to ‘happen’ before we laugh (and therefore if something funny doesn’t happen, we don’t laugh and don’t get the benefits).

Dr. Kataria had already made the firm connection between laughter and good health and now a new method of delivering the medicine was urgently required. This was his Eureka! moment and together with his wife Madhuri (herself a Hatha Yoga practitioner), the concept of Laughter Yoga was born.

Dr Madan Kataria - Founder of Laughter Yoga

11 reasons to do Laughter Yoga?
There are many very good reasons to practice Laughter Yoga every day. Here are 11 of my favorites.

  1. Deep Breathing.
    The average laugh is quite shallow, originating from the chest area (the top 1/3rd of the lungs) and is quite short (only 3-5 seconds in length). Laughter Yoga helps us to extend and deepen our breath into the belly. To get the full health benefits from laughter we need to belly laugh for at least 10 minutes every day. (Read more.)
  2. Exercise.
    Laughter is a great cardiovascular workout and can exercise several muscles simultaneously in the body, including the abdomen, back, shoulders, and 15 pairs of facial muscles. It may actually enhance an exercise regime because the body and mind can cope with pain and stressors for longer periods. (Read more.)
  3. Emotions.
    Laughter increases our release of endorphins. Endorphins are the ‘happy’ chemicals that stay in the body for up to 24hrs and help us to regulate our emotions and subsequent behaviour. If we laugh more often we feel better more often. (Read more.)
  4. Immune System.
    Studies show that laughter can boost our immune system by up to 40%. (Read more.)
  5. Stress Reduction.
    Laughter relaxes the body and counteracts the stress hormone Cortisol. (Read more.)
  6. Boost Energy.
    The brain requires approximately 25% of the net intake of oxygen. Laughter Yoga increases the oxygen levels in the blood and gives you more energy, which is good for business and creative projects. (Read more.)
  7. Better Relationships.
    Relaxing, connecting and laughing together can improve our relationships. The quality of our lives is dependent upon the quality of the relationships we have. Everybody laughs in the same language all over the world. Laughter connects us all as one.  (Read more.)
  8. Change Perspective.
    Laughter Yoga can help us to change our outlook on life. With regular practice it can help us to see the lighter side of life and give us a new perspective on things. After all, it’s not possible to be troubled when we laugh. (Read more.)
  9. The Now.
    Laughter quickly brings us into the present moment. When we are actively engaged in deep belly laughter with another, we cannot think about the past or the future. The Now is all that exists when we allow ourselves to let go and authentically laugh.
  10. Our Natural State.
    Laughter feels good for a very good reason. It’s because we should be doing it. Laughter is what life, the universe and everything wants for us, it’s our natural state of being and our emotions are our guides. When we give up resisting ‘what is’ we fall back into love and laughter. If it feels good, do it more and if it doesn’t, don’t. Simples.
  11. Bliss.
    As demonstrated by the Laughing Buddha, authentic deep unconditional laughter is the physical manifestation that comes from the highest state of enlightenment. It is the realisation of the point of life itself. The Cosmic Joke.  “If love is the answer then laughter is the key.” (Anon)

How is Laughter Yoga done?
Today there are many thousands of people practicing Laughter Yoga in their own way around the world, but in general we can say that we combine conscious deep breathing (a form of pranayama) and gentle stretching, with sounds, eye contact and body movement to gently trigger positive bio-chemical responses in the body and receive the many positive health benefits and improved state of emotional well being that result.

The three key core principles of Laughter Yoga are:

  1. DEEP:
    Laughter should come from the belly not the chest. It is only when we bring the breath deep into the belly that we can fully expand the lungs, stretch out the diaphragm and start to realise the many benefits.
  2. EXTENDED:
    Exhalation is extended through belly laughter which quickly expels stale air from the bottom of the lungs and replaces it with fresh new oxygen on the next in-breath.
  3. UNCONDITIONAL:
    In Laughter Yoga the laughter should be unconditional. We do not need something funny to happen to make us laugh. We simply make a commitment to willingly participate in the practice without the need for any jokes, comedy or humour (which might fall flat or offend someone). With some initial guidance and gentle encouragement authentic laughter naturally and spontaneously arises before quickly becoming contagious in a group environment. It’s a little like Trout Tickling.Kneesy, Earsy, Nosey

Methods used in a typical Laughter Yoga session are designed to cultivate a sense of childlike playfulness which has the profound effect of quickly exposing and dissolving the ego. This can be quite a challenge for some (including me, the first time I did it), but allowing ourselves to experiment, play, have fun and laugh at ourselves for being so silly is a powerful technique designed to help us relax, let go and achieve freedom from the ego. This is Yoga and with practice it gets easier and the effects are both liberating and transformative for many.

Laughter Yoga does involve some physical exercise and, whilst a skilful practitioner can tailor their class to meet the abilities of the group, it is advised that anyone who is in any doubt about their own physical health should consult with their doctor before participating.ho ho hahaha

Laughter Yoga as a Way of Life
Laughter Yoga has quickly spread around the world helping people to find lasting happiness and improved health in a way that is easy, accessible and fun.

In Yogic philosophy it is the breath that is life itself (Prana) and Laughter Yoga helps us to increase our capacity of both. However, contrary to what many people may believe, the life of a Laughter Yogi is not one of constant laughing 24/7 and it’s, most definitely, not about pretending to be happy or faking laughter. No, Laughter Yoga is about letting go of the ego, letting go of resistance, accepting the truth of what is and consciously choosing the next positive response.

With regular practice Laughter Yoga helps us to gain mastery over our thoughts and actions and increasingly helps us to take full responsibility for our own emotional and physical state.

We change the world by changing ourselves, and by vibrantly embracing life and ensuring that our own light shines as brightly as possible, not only do we personally receive the many benefits but we also help others to do the same if they choose.

We know that happy people are healthier, have better connections and enjoy life more. They are kinder, more caring and compassionate; less stressed and more productive. In learning to take ourselves less seriously, more lightly, we can still take our work seriously with greater results.

Some say that we have a right to be happy, but I believe that we actually have a responsibility to be happy. Happiness is a choice as we become the stories we tell ourselves. World peace can only come by first choosing inner peace and this is central to the teachings and philosophy of Laughter Yoga.

Laughter Yoga is a state of ‘being’. We recognise the interconnectedness of everyone and everything and take full responsibility for our place within it all. As a way of life, Laughter Yoga can be practised anytime, anywhere and you need nothing more than deep breath, a warm smile and a twinkle in your eye.

Laughter Yoga is a gift of love in action.

Where can I try Laughter Yoga?
Laughter Yoga UK represents the largest body of Laughter Yoga professionals, practitioners, enthusiasts and supporters in the UK and holds a directory of workshops, clubs, classes which you can access for free here.

Workshops and classes tend to last between 45-60 minutes in length and cost between £5 and £10 per person (depending upon location and specific requirements).

The annual Laughter Yoga UK Conference and Laughter Festival is a co-created, not-for-profit community event for happiness, health and wellbeing. Three whole days of positive co-creation through dancing, singing, playing and laughing. It is the best place to connect with other like-minded, positive people from around the country and beyond.

“World-class venue; health spa and healing area; main stage, natural woodland; inspiring speakers; healthy food, family friendly, brilliant workshops, ethical traders; woodland stage, amazing live music and loads of amazing people, all focusing their attention on raising the energy and having a good time.”

Here at Laughter Time, our own work takes us up and down the country into businesses and community organisations, care homes and hospices, conferences and festivals.

We currently operate monthly community clubs in Oswestry, Shrewsbury, Stoke-on-Trent, Thirsk, Northallerton, Masham and Grimsby that are accessible to all and cost £5 (or by donation for those on low income).

Following our presentation this year at the Faculty of Public Health Annual Conference we’re planning to roll out a coordinated programme of workshops and events as part of a local community health initiative which will specifically target anxiety, stress and depression in our home county of Shropshire.

If you find it difficult to make it to a Laughter Yoga class or event but have access to the internet from your home then the Skype Laughter Club and “skypelaughteruk” groups are a great way to get your regular dose of deep belly laughter. (Simply add either group as contacts on Skype and message the organisers to join in).

hohoho hehehe hahahaLaughter Yoga Training
It is not necessary for you to embark upon any sort of official Laughter Yoga training in order to enjoy and share the benefits of Laughter Yoga. There are many excellent Laughter Yoga Leaders out there who have never done any of the formal training.

However, if you do feel the calling to go deeper and learn even more from others, then your selection of teacher/guru/course will make all the difference to the quality of your experience and what you are able to share with others as a result.

People teach many different forms of Laughter Yoga, in many different ways, but not everyone is a good teacher. Courses are available throughout the UK and overseas but choosing a course with a teacher who is a practicing professional, with experience and integrity, a good track record and visible testimonials from satisfied students is a wise investment of your time and money.

Depending upon who you decide to train with, the internationally recognised Dr. Madan Kataria model of two day Laughter Yoga Leader Training will equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary to embed Laughter Yoga into your own life and successfully share it with others if you want to.

But other models of Laughter Yoga training do exist and are equally valid and useful, such as Joe Hoare’s Natural Laughter Skills course, Melanie Bloch’s Inside-Out Laughter, Julie Whitehead’s Stressless Living, Caroline Carr’s Find Your Oomph!, Jo Bluett’s Laughter Cleanse, Sebastian Gendry’s Laughter Wellness training, Caroline Harts’s Joyful Jaunts, Lisa Sturge’s Laughter Skills Training and our very own Laughter Connection course we lovingly refer to as TLC.

The best teachers have a broad range of skills and experience and are constantly growing and developing their work. To get funnelled into one myopic way of thinking and miss the wider landscape would be to limit ourselves and to limit the power and reach of Laughter Yoga. It’s time to break out of the box and be free! Learn from the best and then do your own thing to the best of your ability. It’s time to shine.

Choosing high quality, professionally delivered training in whatever form you decide will pay back dividends in the end and the LYUK directory provides a useful list of professional members, many with training opportunities here.

More Information
LYUK is the professional membership body for Laughter Yoga in the UK and as such provides a growing wealth of knowledge and experience from which to draw upon. Supporter membership starts from only £20 per year and provides information and resources to help you laugh more, a quarterly magazine and access to the ‘LYUK Members’ Facebook group.

Laughter Yoga International represents Laughter Yoga around the world and is the biggest resource of Laughter Yoga knowledge and skills in the known universe. Its Online Learning Centre and Prozone Area can be particularly useful to professionals for continuing development.

Conclusion
Laughter Yoga is a simple, healthy and positive practice to bring more joy to your life and the lives of many others. Now, more than ever before, the world needs more positive connections, and laughter has the power to connect us all, around the world, in an instant. By changing ourselves we can change the world and live a happier, healthier, more enjoyable life.

If you are interested in bringing more laughter into your own life and/or the lives of others then why not join us on our next training course in Congleton, Cheshire on 21st-22nd October 2017. Early Bird discounts and concessions are still available here.

With Love and Laughter,

Wes
hahaha 🙂

Subscribe to our blog here or for more information about how to relax, connect and feel good please visit www.laughtertime.co.uk

Rainbow Magic Laughter Festival 2017

The 2017 Laughter Yoga UK Conference and Laughter Festival: A Reflection of Love.

On Friday 9th June 2017 under the light of a full Strawberry moon an incredible group of positive people met to focus their attention on having a good time and opening their hearts fully to the healing power of love and laughter. We danced, we sang, we laughed and we played. The woodland echoed with the sounds of joy and we shined brightly for three whole days of summer. Hahahahah

Finally, after 12 months of hard work, today is Sunday. A quiet day of stillness and rest. A day of meditation, connection and listening….deep listening and in this post I’ll be sharing that quiet, reflective space with you, sharing my thoughts and hopes and outlining how by coming together as one we can easily co-create an even more beautiful world.

 “If you put out a vessel it will fill full of rain.”
Co-creation is at the heart of everything we do at the Laughter Festival and 2017 was no exception. The reason LF17 was such a massive success was because of all the amazing people who came and gave so much of themselves for the benefit of others. When we all dig just a little bit deeper, when we share the load and bring a little more to the table than we personally need for ourselves, then abundance is the inevitable result.

© Giles Atkinson

It’s true that Tim and I are good at bringing the component parts together and as such our small but happy training and events company www.laughtertime.co.uk is the main sponsor of the Laughter Festival, but it is the amazing people that come and the gifts that they all bring that makes our weekend so very, very special indeed.

A good friend of mine once told me “If you put out a vessel it will fill full of rain”.  With the help of a brilliant team, we put out the vessel. The venue, the website, the health and safety, the facilities, the equipment etc….. though it is the heart-centred beings that come from all over the country and beyond that are the sweet summer rain that fills the vessel to the brim, and last weekend our cup was truly overflowing.

Wow! I am always blown away by what we can achieve when we focus our attention and pull together as one. Thank you all so much. I’m proud to be part of such a talented group of co-creators and change-makers and my deepest gratitude goes to everyone who gave what they could.

A lesson in trust
Of course, running an annual event of this size involves some levels of risk. The first one that springs to everyone’s mind is financial and yes, that is a major consideration. Even though we are a not-for-profit community event that is supported and co-created through the generosity of many people, the costs are still significant and run into the 10’s of thousands of pounds (no small sum for two Shropshire country bumpkins). But putting those pesky pound notes to one side, there are many other, more subtle risks that have only become apparent with time and experience.

There is the risk that people will let you down, of equipment failure, bad weather, illness, accidents etc and then, as a festival organiser, there is the risk to one’s own personal health and wellbeing as a result of the stress that comes with managing all the risks (something I am acutely aware of since my experience of burnout)….. The list goes on and on. It’s quite a ride and not for the feint hearted. Hahahahah

But despite all the known and unknown risks, the hurdles and barriers, the haters and deliberate saboteurs, we continued, side by side, shoulder to shoulder, step by step. With love as our guiding light, with faith and the unshakable confidence that comes from a deep sense of knowing that what we are doing is for the benefit of all. It’s bigger than us, it has its own momentum and a mission to help as many people as possible to live happy and healthy lives. It’s a beautiful energy and I feel so grateful to be able to be in service with my friends in such a positive and fun way.

I have learnt from my own direct experience to have total trust in the journey of life. As long as my intentions remain good and for the benefit of all, then everything works out perfectly. It always does. It is only when goals become ego-centric, based in fear (often lack of money) that they become harmful to others and things start to go badly.

Go towards the light
We’ve all met them. Those people that undermine your confidence, that shoot you down at every opportunity. Those that can’t bare not to be the centre of attention and cannot abide the success of others. The trolls, the naysayers, the parasites that seem to suck the energy from others. Sadly with the rapid growth of social media this form of narcistic sociopathic compulsive behaviour disorder seems to be massively on the increase. The trick, I think, is to become quicker at noticing them and then avoiding them altogether. “Don’t feed the trolls”.

One of the many things I am noticing about myself whilst I am on this journey of self-discovery is how intolerant I am becoming of those who aim to cause harm and prevent others from shining their light. Sometimes this can be overt by way of deliberate sabotage but more often than not it can be disguised and hidden from public view in the form of emails, covert messages and gossiping. Energy vampires I have come to learn are simply those people that deliberately take up your head space….. ie those people that you think about, that you don’t want to think about.

The way I see it is that we have 24hrs in the day. In those hours what do you want to think about? If you are spending any time thinking about something or someone other than what you would like to think about, then this is a drain. A friend of mine tells me “Some people are energy drains and some people are energy radiators”. Don’t give the drains your time or attention. Just cut the cord now and think about what you would rather think about…. The garden, your children, your holidays, your love or whatever. We get what we focus on, so focus on the things you want, not on the things you don’t want. Just turn your back, walk away from darkness and towards the light. Do your thing to the best of your ability and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Buddha says… “There are some who are moving from darkness into more darkness and there are those that are moving from darkness into lightness. Then there are those that are moving from lightness back into darkness and finally there are those who are moving from lightness into more lightness”.

Focus on the light, hang out with the people that make you feel good about yourself. Focus your attention on all the good things you are grateful for and turn your back on what feels bad. Our emotions are our guides. They are a brilliantly designed energetic feedback system designed to nudge us towards a state of love. Do what makes you happy and don’t let anyone hold you down. Just shine your light, laugh out loud, sing your song and dance your dance with all the passion you can muster. Like attracts like. Light attracts light.

By recognising separation as the illusion it is and seeing everyone as another physical expression of our own true Self, we immediately stop causing harm to others because to do so would be to cause harm to ourselves. True enlightment comes from the knowledge that we are both one and yet separate at the same time. Hahahahah. That’s why the Buddha laughs so heartily. It’s all so hilarious! The cosmic joke.

© Giles Atkinson

Connection
Laughter Yoga, LYUK, the Laughter Festival, Laughter Time, Tim, me and even Simba the wolf dog are all about connection. It’s what Yoga means. Removing the illusion of separation, connecting with each other as one. One family, one community. All brothers and sisters under the same sun and moon. “We’re all just walking each other home” ~ Rumi

I love the way that laughter deeply connects us all and those feelings of connection were very strong at the weekend as we laughed and cried and hugged together. It’s really beautiful to see so much love and support within the LYUK family. There are so many good and wise people here to share our journey with.

Laughter Yoga helps us to connect with others, with ourselves and with the present moment in a very powerful way and when that all comes together in perfect balance, at just the right time, then amazing shifts in perspective can (and often do) happen. It is for this reason that our healing area is such an integral part of the Laughter Festival and I’m very grateful for the support that our healers provide.

Of course, some connections were only brief. I guess there’s only so much we can do in one weekend and I accept that some of those new connections need more watering and more time to flourish and achieve their full potential. Luckily, I no longer suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) and accept that everything is perfect in any given moment. Yes, there’s always more that could be done, more workshops I could have attended, more conversations I could have had but chasing those goals is a sure fire way to a very stressful life as they constantly remain just out of our reach. Been there, done that and I can testify that I am happier now with just accepting everything exactly as it is. Perfectly imperfect.

Rest and Relaxation
There’s no doubt about it, modern western life is busy and the wheel never really stops spinning for any of us and so I recognise the importance of getting some quality down time at every opportunity.

I have to admit that I absolutely love my work. I love creating and working with amazing individuals to help others and yes, I am probably guilty of working too much. Hahahah. However, I’m very grateful that my work is about helping others to live happier, more peaceful, less stressful lives so in my down time I get to walk my talk, practice the techniques and experience the benefits directly so that I can teach more effectively.

For me the best form of rest and relaxation is meditation which is something I do formally for at least twenty minutes every day. I find that the rest my brain gets from meditation keeps me feeling fresh, grounded and centred. The more I meditate the better I feel and the better I perform.

For me, meditation is not a religious practice in any way and I do not follow an official path or doctrine. No, for me meditation is a form of brain training….. teaching the brain to focus on just one thing….. the breath in this case. By focusing on just one thing (the breath) it stills our thoughts, quietens down the monkey mind and gives our brain the rest it needs to operate optimally.

If you’re new to meditation then you might like to give this simple 20 min exercise a try.

  1. Posture:
    1. Sit upright in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
    2. Make sure you are unrestricted around the neck and the throat.
    3. Uncross everything (fingers, legs, arms etc)
    4. Place your hands loosely onto your knees or into your lap with the palms facing upwards if that’s comfortable.
    5. Neck, back, head in alignment and your back away from the chair so that you are self-supporting and sat upright in a ‘dignified’ position.
  2. Timer:
    1. “If you can’t meditate for 20 minutes then you should meditate for an hour” ~ Goenke
    2. Set your timer for 20 mins (I use the free Insight Timer app).
  3. Breathe:
    1. Close your eyes and take a deep breath in before slowly releasing out through the nose.
    2. Observe the breath as it comes in through the nose, travels down the throat to the bottom of the lungs. Hold for a moment and then observe the same breath, the exact same particle of air as it leaves the bottom of the lungs, travels up through the throat and out through the nostrils.
  4. Repeat:
    1. Breathe in deep…… hold…… and breathe out long.
    2. Each time the mind wanders to other thoughts…..just bring your focus gently back to following the breath.
    3. Breathe in deep…… hold…… and breathe out long.
  5. Enjoy:
    1. Meditation is a highly pleasurable experience. With practice it can become like entering a state of pure bliss. Nirvana.
    2. Like learning any new skill it can be frustrating at first but I guarantee that each time you practice it gets a little bit easier and the results are well worth the effort.
    3. In time you will likely experience an increased sense of calmness, less stress, more laughter, better performance, less tiredness, improved relationships, more clarity and many more benefits.

Laughter Festival 2018
We’re already far too excited about our event next year and it’s clear from the number of ‘Pioneer rate’ tickets that have already been sold that many of you are too.

Buying your tickets early for this amazing event is important for a number of really good reasons.

  1. The ‘Pioneer rate’ saves you ££’s. As a first mover you get the advantage of 40% off the gate price.
  2. LYUK members can get an extra 10% off.
  3. Buying your tickets early gives us the capital to put down deposits and invest into the festival for next year to make it even better for everyone.
  4. We have a limit of 499 tickets available to sell and only 100 places at the 2018 LYUK Conference. Buying your tickets early secures your place and prevents disappointment.

Advance tickets to #themostpositiveweekendoftheyear are available here: http://www.laughterfestival.org.uk/buy-tickets

The Laughter Festival is a not-for-profit event for happiness, health and wellbeing so you can be assured that every penny is used to make the event even better for everyone. We have a policy of ‘everyone buys a ticket’… even the organisers. We all contribute to the pot so that we can all share in the joy that results. It’s the way we roll and we know that co-creation is where it’s at. By working together and helping each other, we all rise and achieve sooo much more for everyone. Consciously co-creating the more beautiful world that our hearts know is possible. <3

We can’t wait!
If you’re keen to get involved then please do step forward and make yourself known as soon as possible.
The sooner we sort the programme offerings and music and speakers and and and…… the easier the whole process becomes.

If you would like to run a workshop or speak or volunteer or know of a band, therapist, artist or trader who would fit right in then please contact us at info@laughterfestival.org.uk.

Next year is gonna be awesome.

Training and Workshops
We’re off to the 2017 Faculty of Public Health conference tomorrow to share the power of laughter and relaxation with those at the sharp end of public health. It’s a brilliant opportunity to spread the message even further that happiness and health is easily accessible to us all with some simple changes to our mind set and behaviour. We’re really hoping to get Laughter Yoga into the hearts and minds of medical professionals so that they will have more confidence to prescribe it as a complimentary practice in alignment with the likes of CBT and other Positive Psychology interventions.

On Friday we’re laughing with a group of 12 unemployed people as part of a programme sponsored by the European Social Fund and in conjunction with Bangor University. Bringing joy to those who have suffered for so long.

It really is beautiful work and if you’d like to bring more laughter into your life or the lives of those within your care, or perhaps you’re interested in training to become a Laughter Yoga professional and deliver your own workshops and programmes then please do contact us.

Our next training courses are in Birmingham and Congleton and early bird rates are still available for those that want to join us.

It really does seem that the time for laughter is now.  Hahahahah J

With love and laughter,
Wes.

PS – Save 40% with ‘Pioneer rate’ tickets to the Laughter Festival and LYUK Conference (offer ends 01/07/17). Don’t miss out! Tickets available here: http://www.laughterfestival.org.uk/buy-tickets/

PPS – Experience the true power of laughter on one of our many training courses here: https://laughtertime.co.uk/training/

Subscribe to our blog here or for more information about our workshops, training and events please visit www.laughtertime.co.uk.

Mind, Body AND Spirit

Mind Body Spirit Birmingham 2016 4th October

The whole healthy body healthy mind mantra is on overdrive here at Laughter Time HQ.

As well as boosting our endorphins and immune system on last weekends Laughter Yoga Leader Training course in Cheshire, we’ve also been charging our bodies with as many organic vegetarian superfoods as we can.

When laughter, relaxation and mindfulness are combined it often follows that awareness is placed on the quality of the rest of our lives. Our lifestyle, our food and our relationships all come into focus as we become aware of how everything is connected .

Whilst laughter cannot directly help you with the quality of your diet (perhaps look to a company like www.suma.co.uk for that kind of guidance :-)), it is proven that the quality of our lives is dependent upon the quality of our relationships….. and that’s where laughter can really come into it’s own.

We instinctively know that laughter is good for us and now’s your chance to come along and experience the very real benefits and insights of treating laughter as an exercise and daily routine to stave off depression, lower blood pressure, improve immunity and increase resistance to glum people 😉

We’re getting super excited about MBS Birmingham on the 4th of November!

We’re on the Main Stage at 11:00,
in the Wellbeing Studio at 12:00
and in the Ceremony Space at 14:30.

Come and join us and experience the full power of Laughter and lots, lots more.

Hahahahahah.

To add more juicy laughter related tidbits to your daily diet, be sure to check us out at MBS on Friday 4th November in Birmingham NEC.

We are changing the world one chuckle and one chickpea at a time 🙂

Mind Body Spirit Festival
Join us for 3 full days of festival shenanigans

Mind Body Spirit Birmingham Festival – Birmingham NEC – 4 to 6 November, 2016

The Mind Body Spirit Wellbeing Festival at the iconic Birmingham NEC
MINDBODYSPIRIT.CO.UK

#MBSFestival @MBSFestival #LaughterYoga #Laughter #Wellness #Mindfulness #Relaxation #ThePowerofLaughter

Burnout is a thing and it happened to me.

I did it again. I created a massive challenge for myself, where none was needed, took too much on (again), ignored the warning signs and learnt some valuable lessons about burnout (and mushrooms) in the process.mushroom-forest-floor

This is extremely exciting from a live research point of view and as you can imagine, I find it both fascinating and absolutely hilarious from the stand point of a Laughter Yoga Teacher. Nonetheless, I am grateful for the experience as it has given me an even greater understanding of stress, more insight into its causes and more knowledge of how to help others to quickly and sustainably recover from it.

It can happen to us all and I hope that by sharing my own experience these words might help someone else along the way.

“We are all just walking each other home” – Rumi.

As you’ll discover from the first blog (below), I’ve been thinking about and planning our cycle tour of Scotland for quite some time and probably talking about it for a year or more. The incredible buzz of the Laughter Festival was behind us, I’d cleared two weeks in my diary, psyched myself up to cycle 35miles per day in all conditions, the bikes were ready and our kit had been sorted.

lake-district

It was then, at that exact point, when I was on my laptop, in the van, working out the average daily mileage and combining that with where we might sleep along the way, then cross referencing that information with possible Laughter Yoga venues, whilst at the same time writing and sending out press releases, emailing local contacts for support, making announcements and working out costs (I could go on). Suddenly the amount of work hit me and it all very quickly went pear shaped. And man! What a ride. Hahahahah

The pressures that come from running a growing small business were combined with the everyday life and money stuff and now the trip to Scotland and everything that it involved. It was all too much. My body and mind reached a tipping point and my wheels completely fell off.

I appeared to have physically collapsed under the sheer weight of it all, like hitting a wall of physical ability, and for a couple of days I felt unable to move, plan, speak, think, get dressed or even switch on my laptop. Everything completely stopped….. and I cried… which felt good and I was grateful for the relief they provided.

And then it came to me, in a flash of inspiration. I suddenly remembered that in the lead up to the Laughter Festival, my amazing friend and business partner Tim had said to me in private conversation, when I’d been announcing even more plans and ideas, “I just don’t want you to burn out”. Of course, I did not realise the significance of this statement at the time nor that it would prove to be both a prediction and a great blessing in disguise.

In a sudden flurry of activity I immediately Googled ‘Burnout’ and discovered it to be defined as “multiple stressors over an extended period of time”. It was like a Eureka moment and such a blessing to discover this information. I wasn’t alone, there were many others, I hadn’t lost my marbles and it wasn’t that any one of these pressures was too difficult to handle, it was more like there was just too many of them, that I was being stretched too thin, pulled in too many directions without adequate resources and not getting the rest that my body needed. Sound familiar? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

I felt better as I read through the list of symptoms: not eating properly, working harder, exhaustion, frustration, lack of enthusiasm and motivation. I had to accept the evidence before me and smiled kindly to myself. I knew that I had struck gold, a bit like when I discovered the true power of laughter for the first time, and I knew that the healing process had already started.

mushroom-hoard

I followed my nose further (which has never let me down) and over the next few days I started to list my ‘perceived’ stressors before bringing them all neatly together under the following headings:

  • Money
  • Home
  • Health
  • Family
  • Relationships
  • Learning
  • Van
  • Work/Career
  • Other

Each of the headings then had a further list of items below of all the issues that I felt were not right in some way.

The page quickly filled up with improvements to be made, jobs to be done and goals to be met. The very act of writing as many of the issues down as I could think of and then sorting them into their relevant headings was useful in that it gave me the information I needed within a framework which formed an overview of all the areas of my life that I felt were important to me at that time. From this perspective I could more easily see the main issues that were causing me problems and those that could be easily resolved for some quick wins. I smiled and felt better.

Two things became instantly apparent.

  1. I had to offload some of my work and cancel the Scotland trip. It was always a bit of an ambitious project and I just had to accept that I wasn’t physically ready to manage it at this time.
  2. Smiling made me feel good. So I resolved to do even more of the things that would bring me joy and even less of the things that caused me stress. I went to see Tim to share the good news and then I went to play in the woods on a fantastic foraging course with renowned mycologist Jesper Lauder and then to the coast (hence the photos).

canaerfon-marina

Needless to say that the whole tornado of emotions and thoughts eventually passed and to be out on the other side again was like a breath of fresh air.

As a Laughter Yoga Teacher, I smiled at the irony of the situation, which felt good. How was it possible to teach others how to create their own reality and choose their own emotional state and yet still fall victim to the stresses and strains of my own life? I chuckled kindly to myself, which felt great.

It’s impossible to say which straw it was that finally broke the camel’s back or maybe even which combination of straws or in which order. Who knows? But what I do know now is that Burnout is a thing and as the world gets faster and life gets busier, more and more people around the world are experiencing it, even Laughter Yogis.

The good news is that the quicker the acceptance of the situation the speedier the recovery (so I hope this post will get picked up by those that need it most) and there are some easy and practical steps to help bring you back on track and in alignment with your true purpose.

  1. Recognise the symptoms of burnout.
  2. Stop what you are doing and take some deep breaths.
  3. Write down your list of stressors and elaborate on each point.
  4. Organise them into a few key headings.
  5. Write down what you can do in the short, medium and long term

Some people think that Laughter Yoga instructors should be laughing all of the time (even in our sleep I assume). I strongly disagree and in fact, I think it is quite dangerous to be in denial of your true feelings. Life’s just not like that and anybody who tells you different is either a) not human or b) not telling you the truth.

There are good days and bad days, ups and downs for us all and to pretend that everything is just peachy all of the time is unrealistic, unsustainable and can be very damaging to our mental (and physical) health. No, my work is in being authentic, in speaking the truth from my own direct experience and sharing my discoveries and insights along the way with others.

All emotions are good and should not be avoided. They point us towards what is good for us and away from what is bad, helping us to go in the direction that brings us the most fulfilment and joy (defined by love and laughter). The trick is to not to react to them in haste or indeed, to ignore the warning signs, as I did, of what is actually a highly evolved and awesomely sophisticated bio-chemical energetic feedback system. Instead, we must learn to forge our life deliberately in order to become fully conscious creators of our own reality and, as I have found time and time again, coming back to and maintaining a regular practice of deep breathing, mindfulness, meditation (and laughter) is of real value to our lives.

club-banner

Yes, it’s true that even I ignore the nudges and pinches sometimes, but luckily, when I do find myself in a bit of a dip, I address what’s really going on and thankfully have learnt the techniques that help me to not dwell there for long, to focus on what I do want, not on what I don’t want, to remember who I truly am, get back on the horse and continue in the service of others.

Regardless of what is happening in the outside world and no matter how you are feeling on the inside, always remember that you can simply take a few deep breaths, safe in the knowledge that this moment too will pass.

You’re amazing and don’t you forget it.
It is time to shine.

Namaste,

Wes
Hahahahahaha

Subscribe to our blog here or for more information about how to positively combat stress and prevent burnout in your workplace please visit www.laughtertime.co.uk.

“Miles of Smiles”. Adventures in Laughter Yoga.

Eeeek!
Only 4 weeks to go before our epic 500 mile cycle ride and Laughter Yoga marathon around the north coast of Scotland and I’m starting to feel pretty excited. Hahahaha.

BikeFrom the 4th to 16th September I will be cycle touring the NC500 with two friends (Darren and Sammy) as part of the Laughter Time “Miles of Smiles” UK Laughter Yoga Tour.

NC500

“Miles of Smiles” is simply about helping people to come together and feel good in a way that is easy, sustainable and fun. Making connections, building relationships and laughing out loud.

It’s our wee mission to share health and happiness throughout the communities of the Northern Highlands and the 14 day tour will include Laughter Yoga workshops in Inverness, Gairloch, Ullapool, Thurso, John O’Groats, Wick and Dornoch before ending in Inverness on Friday 16th September.

Combining my love of the wilderness with a passion for Laughter Yoga, I’ll be sharing the true power of laughter, mindfulness and meditation with as many people as possible along the way. Connecting communities with laughter for happiness, health and wellbeing. Spreading a wee bit o’cheer o’er the hills and doon ta Loch Ness. Hahahahah.

Image result for loch ness monster

The press have started to support us, we’ve got some venues and dates coming together and the Laughter Tour map has been updated here: http://www.laughtertime.co.uk/tour

We always feel better when we laugh and that’s for some very good (and scientifically proven) reasons but laughter is also the fastest, easiest and most natural way I know to directly connect with our own inner sense of joy and peace. Laughter is the very point of life itself and that’s why it feels so good!

It’s about setting our intention to be happy, giving ourselves permission to laugh, going with the flow and helping others to smile along the way and that’s exactly what the Laughter Tour is all about. Well, that, and the small matter of 500 miles on two wheels. Heheheheh 😉
NC500 logo
Now to shave my legs (I’m not sure why but it seems to be the thing).

With love and laughter,
Wes. Hahahahah
😉

PS – If you would like to support our not-for-profit community outreach work then you can do so by making a donation to the Laughter Foundation. Thank you.