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

Saturday, August 13, 2011

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

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