Laughter Exercise of the Month
Name: Follow The Leader
Level of Vigor*: 1 – 9
How to Lead (for a group of up to 15 people):
1. Declare: “The next exercise is called ‘Follow the Leader.”
2. Demonstrate: “One person will laugh while doing any movement for 4 or 5 seconds. Everyone else copies them, at the level where you feel comfortable. After a few seconds, we’ll let the next person be the Leader, and we’ll go around so everyone has a turn.”
3. Do: “Are you ready? Everyone copy me first. And: GO!” (Begin performing a movement while laughing. After a few seconds, point to another person to indicate they are to lead next.)
> Technical Note: In the World Laughter Tour school, the certified Laughter Leader performs the laughter/movements and the rest of the group copies him/her. When the Leader stops doing their movements, the exercise is over. In the Kataria tradition the leadership role is passed to everyone (or many) in the group.
Benefits: Especially good with young people, as they succeed no matter what they do; since they choose their own expression they avoid embarrassment. (Such “unconditional success and acceptance” can boost self-esteem.)
Variations: If you have a large group, the Leader can choose which person(s) will do the exemplary movement/exercises. Watch the group members’ energy level – depending on the vigorousness of the person leading the exercise this could go on for anywhere from 30 seconds to several minutes.
Variation: Follow the Leader (Moving Around): Start in a line. One person will be the head of the line. At the command of “Go,” this person does a laughter/movement, walking ahead, and everyone copies them. After a few seconds, the first person goes to the rear of the line while the next person in line becomes the “Leader,” everyone else copying them. Continue, changing Leaders every five seconds or so.
Variation: Musical Instruments: One person pretends to play a musical instrument which makes laughter sounds; everyone else copies them. Go around the group, switching the instrumentalist (everyone copies them). (Be sure to encourage them to make laughing sounds, not just “pretend musical” sounds.)
Variation: Follow the Leader (Shadows): Start in a row, with the sun or a bright light behind such that your shadows can be seen on the ground. The person on one end does a movement while laughing, the others (looking at their shadows on the ground) copy that person’s movement. After a few seconds, pass the “Leader” role to the next person. (Special thanks to Fiona Skye for coming up with this – now a Laguna Laughter Club “favorite!”)
See on the web: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
* All sessions begin with the advice that participants may engage at whatever level they wish. The “Level of Vigor” offered is a suggestion of the intensity range at which the exercise is typically performed.
Videos of Laughter Exercises
(about one minute each)
from The Laughter Yoga Institute:
Upchuckle (“Heave Ho-ho-ho”)
Articles by Institute Director Jeffrey Briar
Warming Up the Voice (for Laughter Leaders) – by Kathryn Burns
Laughter Yoga Links and Articles
Dr. Kataria’s site, The International Laughter Yoga HQ, from Dr. Kataria, the Founder of Laughter Yoga.
AATH, the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Laughter, professional association for everyone in the field of therapeutic laughter.
World Laughter Tour, Steve Wilson’s site.
American School of Laughter Yoga, Sebastien Gendry’s site.
Wikipedia, definition of Laughter Yoga.
Sense of Humor Site, all about humor, with Links to Laughter Sites.
Laughpower, discover the Power of Laughter with Laughter Yoga.
Pastor Laura Gentry, powerful advocate for Laughter as part of her ministry (Iowa, USA).
Laughter Yoga for kids, Pastor Laura’s delightful video.
Pamela Venus, Laughter Yogini/Therapist working with all ages (including teens, tweens and seniors) in Ohio, USA.
The Whole Being Weekend, annual low-cost California retreat with myriad workshops (including Laughter Yoga), music, dance and community celebration.
Tucson Laughter Yoga, laughter advocate Patti Wheatley, programs and events in Arizona, USA.
Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen, accomplished freelancer, writes about laughter yoga and health.
Hilary Kimblin, teaches both traditional and laughter yoga, including wonderful retreats in nature. Produces laughter parties and events in the Los Angeles area.
Coty Benrimoj, enthusiastic Laughter Leader/Teacher with diverse offerings in the San Diego area.
Melanie Rudolph, Laughter Yoga Leader and Wellness Coach in Louisville, Kentucky.
Melanie’s Louisville Laughter Club.
Laughing in Georgia, Helen and Craig Whitley’s delight-filled Laughter Yoga site (Georgia, USA).
Teresa Corrigan offers programs in Marin County, California; and Laughter Yoga Leader Training at the University of California Medical Center, San Francisco.
LaughterYogaAlberta, Fif Fernades’ website in Calgary, Alberta Canada. Get inspired by what Fif (and husband Hamish) are doing in Uganda.
LaughterYogaVictoria&ComoxValleys,Canada Laughter Clubs, Leaders and resources.
LaughterSchoolQuebec, Linda Leclerc’s multi-faceted Laughter Yoga school in Montreal, Quebec Canada (in French).
LaughterYogaInstituteFrance Fabrice and Lolita Loizeau’s wonderfully active “Institute of Laughter Yoga and Healthy Laughter” in France (in French).
LachYogaGermanyBirck, Claudia Birck’s flourishing and fun School of Laughter Yoga in Germany (in German).
LachYogaInstitut, Gabreila Leppelt-Remmel (based in Hamburg) offers training, laughter club, conferences and other programs (in German).
YogadelaRisaMexico, The fantastic, encouraging work of Luis Gomez in Mexico and South America (in Spanish).
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