We meet on Saturday Mornings

Laughter Club
The Bendigo Laughter Club meets every Saturday from 8.30-9am. Cost is FREE!!.
Venue: Laughter Club
Address: Ewing Park Playground Bendigo (across from the 24hour milkbar in Williamson St)
Date: Every Saturday
Time: 8:30-9:00am
Phone: Christine Curnow 5442 3934

The benefits of joining a laughter club

Laughter clubs are free and open to everyone.

What happens at a laughter club?

The idea of laughter clubs is to gain the benefits of laughter by laughing for no reason. This is important - it's not necessary to tell jokes, or to be in a good mood or to be a humorous person or to feel like laughing. At a laughter club we practice laughing until it becomes more natural. We fake it until we make it.

Since it began in India in 1995 the laughter yoga movement (we call them laughter clubs or laughter yoga - it's the same thing) has spread to more than 3,000 clubs worldwide.

In Australia alone there are 5,000 practitioners of laughter yoga. It was a major event during the 2004 Melbourne International festival.

Hearty, roaring, silent and humming laughter, giggling, chuckling and smiling – who would say no to more laughter in their lives? The health benefits are undisputed and universal. A customised laughter session is the best way to enjoy “the medicine of laughter”.

The Bendigo Laughers

The Bendigo Laughers
HO HO hahaha

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Bendigo Laughter Club Leader Christine Curnow

Bendigo Laughter Club Leader Christine Curnow’s first taste of laughter yoga…She loved it so much now she is running the showJ

My first contact with a laughter session was when I had to go to a workshop for Activity workers, at the All Seasons over 10 years ago. The leader, Debbie, was able to encourage over 200 lifestyle workers to act out, being like a monkey whilst laughing. There were many other action laughs, and this was my introduction. I loved the feeling of being able to laugh at myself, whilst laughing at the actions that others were doing. This idea of joining Bendigo Laughter Club was explained so well that I talked my husband Ken, into coming with me to Ewing Park, on the corner of Williamson Street and Brougham Street, on a Saturday morning, at 8.30am - 9.00am. So we both started
attending the Bendigo Laughter Club and continue to enjoy the healthy benefits. The friendships formed are a by-product, of the half hour of movement and laughter. In researching  the many benefits, truly Laughter is the best medicine. So i encourage everyone to come and try and see why I am glad to be a part of the Bendigo Laughter Club. Ho Ho Ha Ha. Christine Curnow.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Testimonial from Brendan O'Brien

Way back when I cannot even remember what year it was, I was slightly addicted to a television show called The Secret Life of Us.   On one of their episodes they highlighted a laughter club, which I thought was very cool.   I'd heard about them before then, but this made me more interested in finding one.   The fact that I now know that the small bit of "laughter-clubbing" they had on the show was nothing like what we do matters not to me, as I am still in debt to the show for kindling my interest, so to speak.

There was a little time between that episode and my first moving to Bendigo, and then hearing about the laughter club here.   But once I was in (I believe it was three or four months after it began here), I was truly IN.   It quite quickly became something I had trouble doing without.

I've always been an easy-going happy sort of fella, and have often been interested in alternative ideas and "thinking out of the box", so it seems that I was almost a shoe-in for taking to Hasya Yoga, as its official name is.   Also having a bit of a thespian streak in me, the idea of laughing while doing outrageous actions, or based on weird ideas, really appealed to me also.   And as I learnt more, did a leadership workshop, and actually benefitted from the partaking myself, I was no longer a convert, but a died-in-the-wool zealot!   And if I missed a week (which was actually 2 weeks, being the Saturday in the middle of the week before and the week following) it left a cavernous hole in my life and I couldn't wait to get back into the swing of things next time around.

With all of my acquired knowledge I could almost write a list of biblical proportions if I wanted to, based on the benfits of Hasya Yoga, so instead of doing that I'll settle on listing some of the things that I have found most valuable for me:
    • reducing inhibitions and improving self-confidence
    • physically aiding my health (I felt better and healthier - no lie!)
    • made a lot of wonderful friends, many of whom were almost as zany and madcap as myself
    • and most of all, no matter how bad other things were in my life, I had something to look forward to weekly, that would make me feel better regardless of how much I had to "force" it.
I'm not sure what else I have to say, except that some of my friends are simply "weekly acquaintances" whom I interact with for approximately an hour each Saturday, but some have become people whose friendship I value greatly and I'd like to think will be in my life for a long time, regardless of laughter club's presence or not.

Oh, and with regard to the last bullet point, once you can get past that initial uncomfortable feeling that comes from trying to laugh like a monkey, or like a lawnmower, or even attempting to laugh with no sound, you will realise that even when forcing it you still gain the benefits of the pheromones (spelling?) that your brain releases in the act of laughing.   You cannot help but feel good!

Brendan O'Brien
Bendigo Laughter Club
20 February 2009

Just before I started laughter club in 2002, life was Very Serious. I was working with refugees, and I had been working in East Timor, which had almost totally been destroyed by the militias. I was also Very Serious, Very Earnest and probably, Just a Bit Annoying. Just for fun, I got to go to community meetings, Rotary meetings and the like. I was shocked at the notion that my brother had, just for fun, made a crazy gangster movie with a bunch of friends. Even more shocking was the idea of ‘just for fun’, was so far removed from my existence that it wouldn’t occurred to me.
Then I heard about Laughter Club. I saw a picture of a woman laughing her head of on a newspaper cover. Then I read about it in another newspaper. Then that same crazy laughing woman put posters up everywhere. Hmmm. A place where you could laugh, without having to be fun? It sounded like a perfect fit.
I finally got around to going (8.30 in the morning was a big ask) when my husband was away.   Of course, I was late. I had to walk into the laughter club in the middle of a chicken laugh. Yes, a chicken laugh.
I started flapping half way across the field. And that was it. I was silly, and foolish and laughing for the next 20 minutes amongst a group of other laughers.  It didn’t occur to me until months later that I was also quite courageous.
There was laughing later in the day. I chased by neighbour in the car, up and down Bendigo just to tell her, ‘She has to go!’ (Clearly, one dose of laughter club doesn’t get rid of well intentioned earnestness.)
And that was it. I was there every Saturday for the next three years. I laughed by my way through a pregnancy. I only missed a couple of Saturdays. One I got married (my husband and I were laughed into the reception), the other I had my baby. Our new baby was in her pouch and she laughed too. We had a baby laugh, which was a bit silly.  Instead of jokes at (earnest) speeches and presentations, I made everyone do a kookaburra laugh. It worked a treat.
For the first time, I had a Gang. A gang of fellow laughers that met and laughed and drank coffee afterwards. It was fabulous. A Gang of people not at all like myself.  All walks, all types. We were daggy and cool at the same time.  I saw them more than I saw old friends and soon, they became old friends.
My family moved from Bendigo and we did try to go to Laughter Club in the big smoke, but it was never the same. That experience was hard to replicate. We were spontaneous, unguided and free flowing. We never knew what to expect, but it didn’t matter. We probably broke lots of Official Rules, but it didn’t matter.  We were inclusive. I didn’t realise how great it was until I went to other groups.  They were a little unsettled by our spontaneity.

Benefits of Laughter Therapy? For a jaded, cynical photo journalist it was about putting balance and fun and laughter back into the equation. It was about connecting and reconnecting to people. It was about going out of my comfort zone, embracing spontaneity and meeting people from all walks of life. It set up our weekends with fun and laughter. It defined them, to a certain extent.
It was totally brilliant.

 Lara McKinley

Testimonials from laughter club members

Laughter with a Bendigo Flavour

Early every Saturday morn, 8.30 in the a.m.
(Or sometimes it’s 8.36, cos people get there then)
People come from miles around, some from far, some near,
Just to start their weekend off with a dose of cheer.

We’re tall and short, young and older, even robust and thin,
Artists, musos, and believe it or not, even businessmen. (Well, businesspeople for that matter)
Some who work with the elderly, some with the disabled,
Some who teach, and we all learn, and some just won’t be labeled.

Bushwalkers, cyclists, motor bikers….many do drive cars,
And one or two notoriously spend Friday nights in bars (no names mentioned).
All shapes and sizes, walks of life, we come from round this place,
The common denominator is we like smiles on our face.

Our numbers are great, we’ve very regularly seventeen,
Rarely five, sometimes ten, high teens we’ve often seen.
We’re over six years old now, and our health is ooh la la,
And we think it’s fantastique to  “HO HO HA HA HA”.

Our laughs are numerous you know, too many here to mention,
But often people passing by, give us their attention.
Jack-in-the-box Laugh (and even Jill), the stripper Laugh’s a fave,
Rollercoaster, Lawnmower, and the Hot Coals laugh most days.

We’ve menageries of animal laughs up here in this town,
Monkey, Loin, we’ve even had a Sloth just lying ‘round.
Kookaburra, Elephant, and even Meerkats,
Come to think of it, I don’t recall we’ve ever had a Bat.

So if you ever find yourself early one Saturday
In central Vic, you must come round, join in and say g’day.
Williamson St, in Ewing Park Playground, just across from the pub,
You can be sure you’ll be welcome at the Bendigo Laughter Club!

Brendan O’Brien

History of the Bendigo Laughter Club

Hi I'm Debbie Phillips and I am the founder of the Bendigo Laughter Club. I first started the laughter club back in December 2002 just after my third child was born. Its interesting how life turns a corner and how unplanned events can totally change your direction in life and give you experiences that you would never even dream of happening. After giving birth to a beautiful baby boy ( who by the way snuck into my womb without my permission) I developed post natal depression and as I was from a natural health background I went in search of a natural solution to support my recovery. I remember watching an Australian series on TV called secret life of us and they showed one of the characters in the show attending a laughter club on Hampton Beach. This for some strange reason triggered a desire to research and be trained on how I could start a club like that. A club where people meet and laugh out loud at nothing.
My research took me to Geelong were I first experienced what a laughter club does and yes I was confronted and challenged by laughing like a money which lead into laughing like a chicken to throwing my arms in the air expelling the loudest laugh I have ever let escape from my mouth and the only thing that got me through the session was the fact that noone knew me down there. I repeatedly told myself that its OK as I will be finished this soon and I can go back to Bendigo and stack it up as experience but one that probably is a bit out there for me. Later that day after I had finished the theory side of the workshop I noticed that my head felt clearer and my mood was lighter and I actually for the first time felt like my spark was back and that was the start of what has been an amazing 9 years of running workshops, sessions every weekend and travelling all over the state to promote the benefits of laughing out load for no reason.
I have been supported by my family, friends and made many new friends as well as meeting some of the most fantastic people through laughter club. This has truly been a crack up of a journey and one that I thank the universe for sending my way. Cheers