Bring A Little Therapeutic Laughter Into Your Life!
Thanet Star's Illisia Adams investigates a new form of therapy, just how much it can change your life, and the woman bringing it to Thanet.
I was recently contacted by Caroline Manning who asked for my help photographing her Laughter Yoga workshop. I was happy to oblige, and after attending the event and speaking with her and her students, I decided that I wanted to not only return for the next session to partake myself, but also to write about who she is and what she does so that others might become involved and – as the title of this article suggests – bring a little [therapeutic] laughter into [their] lives!
Who is Caroline Manning?
Caroline [Manning] has over twenty-five years of experience in nursing and computing and has combined these with her life coaching and healing work in the past ten years. She is a transformational coach, public speaker, published author and laughter leader. Her professional slogan is
Stop Sacrificing. Be Yourself. Have It All.
She offers one-on-one transformational coaching and programs and group transformational work through laughter yoga to all ages in a wide variety of settings. She is the founder and leader of the Laughter Club which runs monthly in Broadstairs.
What is Laughter Yoga?
Laughter Yoga was created by Doctor Madan Kataria, a family doctor in India in 1995. It is based on the scientific evidence that we cannot tell the difference between fake and real laughter, so both have the same physical and mental benefits for us. It is practiced worldwide in thousands of laughter clubs in more than sixty-five countries.
Even celebrities are getting involved! Actor and Comedian John Cleese practices Laughter Yoga, as explained on Caroline [Manning]'s Blog.
Why should I consider taking part in Laughter Club?
Broadstairs Laughter Club organiser Caroline [Manning] explains
Some of the benefits are increased energy, stress reduction, lighter moods, less infections and lowering of high blood pressure. The "feel good" benefits range from increased focus, productivity and creativity through to people feeling more connected, sociable and happy. Not bad for an hour of laughter exercise.
Where and when is Laughter Club?
The Thanet Laughter Club has been running in Broadstairs since last year on a monthly basis. She hopes to expand to a weekly session if there is enough interest.
Caroline hosts the monthly "drop-in" Laughter Club open to the public on the first Thursday of every month at The Portland Center on Hopeville Avenue in St Peters of Broadstairs from 1-2pm. During August the club is closed but you can join the crowds at the Broadstairs Folk Week Festival who will be joining Caroline Laughing down at the Broadstairs Bandstand during the festival week. If you have a Festival pass you can even go to Laughter Club every morning on the campsite, full details are on the Broadstairs Folk Week Laughter Sessions page.
Caroline also works with community groups, organisations, hospitals, residential care homes and schools to bring the benefits of Laughter Yoga to all.
How much does the Laughter Club cost?
The Laughter Club is run purely on a donation basis. The suggested donation is £2 for those who can afford it and this is to cover the hire of the hall etc.
What do I need to bring and how do I dress?
You only need bring yourself, your open-mindedness and enthusiasm. Caroline suggests dressing comfortably with nothing that restricts movement.
In what other ways can Caroline help me?
Caroline also works with individuals in private one-to-one transformational coaching calls.
You can sign up to her e-zine through her website and you will automatically receive a downloadable copy of her book, Five Steps To Living Your Life On Purpose, which I have personally done and I have found it to be surprisingly helpful so I can highly recommend it.
What is Laughter Yoga like?
When you first arrive for the drop-in session you are asked to "grade" how you are feeling from a scale of one to ten, and again at the end of the session. As a group, you participate in various exercises that allow you to laugh, socialise and relax.
I did not partake in the session myself, but just watching other people do so had a positive effect on me. I even laughed a few times, failing to maintain my professionalism during the overwhelming positive, fun feelings in the room.
Exercises included a reconstruction of a rollercoaster ride, which although it looked really silly from an external point-of-view, was definitely everyone's favourite and had people in hysterics. The "Zombie Name Game" had a member of the group walking like a zombie approaching other members of the group who must name someone else in the group fast enough before they are tagged and turn into a zombie themselves! This was a great way for everyone to get to know one another.
At the end of every laughter exercise the group claps their hands and raises their arms positively in the air with proclamations of "very good, very good, yay!", clearly to give everyone a sense of achievement. While other sections of exercise and movement were broken up with group stretching and breathing.
Participants were happy to discuss their experience with me; some were regulars, others were new to the group. Ranging in age from their twenties through to their seventies, there were men and women from all walks of life. Two ladies with physical disabilities told me how appreciative they were of the fact that they could partake because many of the exercises were done whilst seated. Others cited the therapeutic nature of the drop-in sessions and told me how uplifted they felt and how they wished that the laughter club was held every week, rather than only once per month! The Laughter Club made attendees
feel good, they felt as though they are
not judged and
can be like a child again, and my personal favourite quote was a woman who said that she
had tears in [her] eyes it was so funny.
So, join the healthy laughter revolution! You can “drop-in” any month. You can also find out more about Caroline and what she does through her official website, by Liking her on Facebook and Following her on Twitter, or phone with your interest on 01843 807918. Caroline tells me she has plans for weekly classes come September of this year. Remember, if you sign up to her e-zine you will receive a free copy of her self-help book Five Steps To Living Your Life On Purpose and receive updates about classes and events too.