Awakenings Laughter Club
Awakenings Laughter Club was Portland, Oregon's first regularly scheduled free Laughter Club to stand the test of time. Previous clubs either were meeting sporadically or failed after a few months of dismal attendance. We celebrated our two-year anniversary in October 2010, which was an amazing feat! Unfortunately, the club came to an end the summer of 2011 after several months of low to zero attendance. The core group of members slowly had life changes that took them away, whether it was illness, a new job or moving and the early morning hour made it hard to reinvigorate the club once attendance dropped. However, laughing first thing in the morning is how Laughter Clubs began in India & it is a positive and energizing way to begin the day, so it was an appropriate way to bring Laughter Yoga to Portland, OR. The Awakenings Laughter Club is where I truly became a Leader in the community and learned what I needed to know to go out and continue sharing Laughter Yoga with my students and the world. It was the beginning and even though it is over my journey with Laughter Yoga has really just begun.
We used to meet on Tuesday Mornings from 7:10 am - 7:40 am. This was when we could get free space and so I jumped at the chance. Unfortunately, the early start was also part of the club's ultimate demise.
We used to meet in the Studio @ Awakenings Wellness Center (follow the link for more info) 1016 SE 12th Ave. Portland, OR and are grateful to Jim Davis for his generous use of the space during our 2 1/2 years. Finding a location is the hardest step to creating a sucessful Laughter Club in the United States where, unlike in India, most of the country cannot easily meet outside in a park year-round due to inclimate weather.
Because it's fun, free, good for your health and builds connection & community!
The Oregonian visit the Awakenings Laughter Club
The unique concept of Laughter Yoga began in 1995 by Dr. Madan Kataria, a physician in Mumbai, India. Realizing that laughter truly can be "the best medicine," he started working with a small group of people daily in a local park and discovered that anyone can laugh for no reason. He coined this group a "Laughter Club." Laughter Yoga has taken India by storm where most Laughter Clubs meet daily. In the United States, most Laughter Clubs meet weekly or monthly.
Laughter Yoga has since grown into a world-wide movement with more than 6,000 registered clubs in over 65 countries. Almost all are free!! Dr. Kataria encourages his Certified Laughter Yoga Leaders and Teachers to host at least one free event a month as a way to spread joy and give back to our communities.
Laughter Clubs are led by a Laughter Yoga Leader and/or Teacher. Club members take part in activities that combine laughter exercises (simulated laughter) and yogic breathing, which turns into real laughter when practiced in a group. Participation in a laughter club encourages playfulness, laughter, social connection, and a balance of mind, body, and spirit. It is a great way to improve health and make friends!
Typical Awakenings Laughter Club Session
- We begin the session with some stretching and breathing and then warm-up by chanting "Ho-ho Ha-ha-ha." 7:10 - 7:12 am
- We then begin a series of various Laughter Yoga exercises, interspersed with breathing and child-like playfulness, "Very good, very good, Yay!!" We are always learning or creating new exercises from our daily life experiences. Some days our session is based on a theme. 7:12 - 7:30 am
- We end the session with a Laughter Meditation. During this meditation, club members sit or lay on the floor and just laugh for several minutes. We follow up with some more deep breathing and a grounding exercise. 7:30 - 7:40 am