Would you consider having laughter yoga on your first date? Emma Jennings tells us how a couple walked into one of her laughter sessions, and she thought they must have been so in love because they had the time of their life during the session. Later, she found out they were on their first date.
In this episode, I have Emma joining me on the show. She is a laughter yogi, works as a freelance editor, and is trained to be a therapist. Emma has a background in publishing, and she is the founding editor of the green guide for London and Juno magazine. She is one of the cofounders of Brighton laughter Club, which has been meeting weekly in the heart of Brighton since 2011. In 2019, she was named the laughter ambassador.
Emma will share her laughter journey, how she built a laughter club, her experience having laughter sessions in a school, among other things.
Get comfortable and listen to this inspiring episode.
Key Talking Points of the Episode:
[01:18] How Emma discovered laughter yoga
[04:13] How Emma built the laughter club
[07:23] Emma’s laughter sessions in a private school
[11:43] How has laughter enhanced Emma’s life?
[16:41] Standout moments where someone has come up to Emma and said how laughter has helped them
[19:37] Emma’s message to anyone unsure of laughter yoga
[20:29] Emma’s laughter games
[22:40] Emma favourite laughing exercises
[24:35] Emma’s positive messages
[27:05] Something many people don’t know about Emma Jennings
[30:07] The transition between the in-person laughter to moving online
Standout Quote from the Episode:
“Polyvagal theory suggests that we have different ways of being in our nervous system. We can either be in fight or flight. I don’t mean when we’re poised because we perceive we’re under threat or we can be shut down, which is when we know there’s a threat and can’t escape. It’s easier just to shut down, or we can be socially engaged.”
Resources Mentioned in the Episode:
Molecules of Emotions: Candace Pert
Connect with Emma Jennings:
Pete Cann 00:05
Hello, I’m Pete Cann laughter leader, positive thinker and entrepreneur and you’re listening to laughter and positivity with people’s way each week I’ll bring you tips and tricks to lead a happier, more positive life. Ready? Let’s go.
Pete Cann 00:24
Hi guys, it’s Pete Cann here from laughter and positivity. And this week I’ve got Emma Jennings along who is a laughter yogi. She also works as a freelance editor and is trained to be a therapist. A background is in publishing, and she is the founding editor of the green guide for London and Juno magazine. She is one of the cofounders of Brighton laughter Club, which has been meeting weekly in the heart of Brighton since 2011. She has made a laughter ambassador, she was named after Ambassador sorry, in 2019. So I’m just going to go straight to the one just going to say hello. For us. That’s probably the best thing, isn’t it?
I Pete, good to meet you.
Likewise, over you. So, 2011 That’s a few years. It is yeah. Yeah. So, is that when you discovered laughter yoga?
Yeah, I think what happened was, I knew about laughter yoga, because my ex-husband had had someone come in and do it in his place of work. So, I knew about laughter yoga, and I was also working for cancer charity. And I think I was just getting more and more stressed. And then a friend lent me a book, The Molecules of Emotion by Candace pert, which I love to have you read it.
Pete Cann 01:41
You know, I sat on my bedside table, and I’ve, yeah, so I’m going to read it. Now. I am going to read it.
So Candace was the scientist who found the endorphin receptor. The book is absolutely brilliant. It reads more like a detective novel than a science, but it’s the chase to find the endorphin receptor. And when she does find the endorphin receptor, what she discovers is that there are endorphin receptors all over the body. You know, our immune cells have endorphin receptors, the brain cells have endorphin receptors. So it’s almost like every cell in the body is impacted by our endorphin levels. And the other point that she made was when we’re feeling down or depressed, that kind of, it’s almost like there’s a cocktail of hormones in the body that will impact the sense of memory. And so if you’re feeling a particular way, you’re more likely to access memories that were also laid down when you were feeling the same way. And I thought that’s fascinating. Because that’s like, why when you’re feeling depressed, and you can kind of Oh, nothing good ever happened, because that is how it seemed. And you know, my kids had just had measles. They’ve been really unwell. That GP was really unsympathetic, because I hadn’t been vaccinated. And we’ve been trying to sell our house and the house sell kept falling through. And I was just really stressed. And I thought, I need to do something about this. So I googled laughter, yoga, and then without even really knowing how suddenly I was in London, doing a two day training. And there I met a lovely woman called Lydia, who lived in Brighton. And she was like, when you move to Brighton? Should we set something up? Because there’s nothing up and running? So I said, Yes. You know, and I’m naturally quite a sort of shy intellectual introvert. So, you know, I was really outside of my comfort zone demonstrating laughter exercises to a group of strangers. But as you know, it works. You know, it’s, it’s profoundly, it’s simple and profound, but it’s really effective. So I haven’t really looked back.
Pete Cann 03:36
Amazing. And so, you, you were, were you living in Brighton at the time, then before we move into our estimating so. When you actually moved to Brighton, that was part of your new? Yes. Being I suppose was that laughter? Was this part of you? That’s amazing. So So, obviously, 2011 two that we’re talking really was 10 years, minus possibly a year based on whatever has happened. So how did you find sort of setting it up from the beginning and sort of the journey through sort of, you know, with regular people coming back? And how did you get more people to come along?
So, in terms of a laughter club, you know, for the first couple of years, there were some weeks where it would only be us, it’d be Lydia and, I would be the only two, we’d have a sort of, you know, one to one laughter session. Or sometimes there’d be three people or four people because what we found was people tended to come along for a burst, and then they’d naturally sort of drop off and go and do something else. So, you know, our, our kind of regulars would often last maybe four to six months. So it probably took us a good four, three to four years before we actually got to a state where it was kind of a minimum of five or six people every week.
Pete Cann 04:49
Amazing. And it’s weekly as well. Yes. Yeah. Wow. Wow. That is a commitment. Yes. Yeah. So
anything good because we were running the sessions we had to go, because there probably were weeks when it’s like, ah, you know, I don’t really feel like quite cozy and warm at home. But when you’re running the sessions, you have to go. And that’s been brilliant.
Pete Cann 05:08
Yeah, it’s like that. It’s that accountability piece, isn’t it? Where you, you know, you’ve booked, you’ve booked it or you’re meeting so when, you know, let them down. They don’t want to let you down. And next thing you’re laughing in a room, possibly with just the two of you. It’s so interesting, because I’ve got my laughter club second in person this Thursday again, and it you know, there’s days where like, the last one I did, I knew my regulars weren’t coming. There was like three or four people that couldn’t make it. And then I had five people just turn up from I can’t remember where they came from now. But it was, it was really interesting because they’ve never done laughter yoga, either. They’ve never Yeah, they just heard of it. And they thought they’d come along. And it actually was a really, really good session. So, I suppose it’s getting them to come back. The second time, that’s always the hardest hurdle I find when running a laughter club. And have you found that over the years, then that people would come along just for that one off session and just go, yeah, it’s not quite for me, or,
yes, yeah, we have plenty of people who will just come once. I mean, we’ve had people walk out of sessions going, it’s really not for me. However, what we did was we that we did a kind of little marketing thing where we did buy two get one free. So, if someone paid 10, because we were charging five pounds per session, if someone paid 10 pounds, they got three sessions. And often people would come for their three sessions. And I think, because it’s new, you know, even if, even if it’s something that’s going to work for you, it can feel really awkward and strange to start with. So it’s good, I think, to give people the opportunity to try a few sessions before they decide.
Pete Cann 06:38
Yeah, definitely, definitely. I think this is sort of something that I’ve said to people when you know, the first time it’s a bit like, okay, this is a bit either it’s bit wacky, or a bit weird, or, you know, just just go with it. Second time you start getting it the third time is when you probably have that eureka moment of going actually, this is really good. And I feel really good inside. And yeah, and then and then you either become completely obsessed with laughter yoga, like I am, or you know, at least you know that it’s, it’s a wellbeing tool for you. So, so Emma, you came onto my radar, because there was a piece in the it was a male, I think it was in the Times about running the laughter sessions at a private school. Yes, correct. Yeah, yeah. Do you want to just let me know a little bit about that?
Yeah. So, I mean, there’s a school in Brighton called Brighton girls school think that the name has changed Brighton girls’ school. And they’ve got a new head. And she was really, really kind of conscious about student welfare and wellbeing. And so, she’s actually appointed a head of wellbeing. And they’ve created an integrated program, where they’re inviting in different people to run different types of sessions with the girls. So, they’ve been doing laughter yoga, they’ve been doing dance, skateboarding, yoga, meditation, lots of different things. So almost like a smorgasbord of things for wellbeing, so that they can try them and see what works for them.
Pete Cann 07:59
Yeah, basically. And so how many times have you been in then done the laughter yoga with them?
So, I’ve worked with your nine and year seven so far, and then planning to go in and work with a sixth form? Next year?
Pete Cann 08:11
Amazing. Amazing. So, year nine, and seven. So, I’m just trying to work out my daughter, two sevens, the first old school first year, we’re seeing your score, isn’t it? Yeah, yeah.
Maybe even got that wrong. Might be near eight. They were little.
Pete Cann 08:24
Yeah. So how did they? Okay, so how big was the group? That would be my first question, actually,
approximately 20 students, so that was broken up into, you know, smaller segments? Yes. Holly Agrippa Mondo,
Pete Cann 08:39
how did you find that the, you know, they took the laughter yoga, did they take it on board?
Yes. It was interesting. It’s kind of, I suppose it was a little bit. It was managing energy. But one of the teachers who watched one of the sessions was like, oh, that’s great that they’ve kind of got an outlet for their sorts of playfulness and their bubbliness and their silliness. So, you know, when I run a laughter session, I will always five to six laughter exercises, then we have a break in the middle and we play some games, then a few more laughter exercises, and then the meditation and the grounding visualization. And I guess it was the games where they really came to life. You know, we I did the gibberish, translation exercise. And there was one point where there was a student who, you know, it was the teacher who was interviewing her. She was she was the gibberish translator, and then she was talking to somebody she was so far ahead of her hands going, how is this? How did this happen? You know?
Pete Cann 09:40
So, I’ve I’ve not heard if you are ever a translation, I can go I’ve got a good understanding, I think of what it is, but for our listeners, then do you want to just let us know what that means? Oh,
yeah, no, I love doing this. Especially if you’ve got groups where some people are quite shy, you know, because it’s just for three players, or whatever. And when you’ve got kids who can be Quite tribal. It’s a great game. So, three chairs. One person is an expert in a topic that is decided by the audience. And they only speak gibberish. One person is a translator. They’re fluent in English and gibberish. And then you have the journalist who only speaks English. And so the translator was obviously the one with the power. But they were funny, you know, I mean, they were just funny. And it was interesting how it wasn’t just the cool kids who were kind of getting up and playing. It kind of was really everyone could take part.
Pete Cann 10:33
Yeah, it’s amazing, isn’t it? I mean, for those people that listening don’t know what you’ve recite Burberry. Did you have any direction on that? Too bad? Ah. Sorry about that. It’s really interesting, like Jewish is one of those things where, where, you know, again, if I do my clubs, it’s, it’s just a real opener, isn’t it at the mind. And just, we can just be really childlike really quickly. And just, I’ve used it with my, my son a couple of times when he gets quiet, you know, get quite angry, and it’s just, like, just start talking gibberish with him. And actually, it diffuses the subject or the, you know, the feeling quite quickly, because he just gets all that anger rather than using words. And it’s some Yeah, no, it’s a really powerful tool. Isn’t it? Amazing? Yes. Yeah. Perfect. So how would you say obviously, you discovered laughter yoga, probably in 2010? Yes, yeah. So how does it enhance your life? Would you say, oh,
in lots of ways, I mean, one of the main benefits that I noticed pretty much instantaneously, when I started doing weekly sessions was, I sleep much better. I used to really struggle with insomnia, you know, get into bed mind start racing, trying to problem solve. And so, I just get into bed and I’m calm and I sleep that has that has been really good. The flip side of that is now that I’m menopause, or flat hormonal, sometimes I have a bad night of sleep, and I can’t cope. Because I’ve, I’ve got used to sleeping really, really well. So that’s one main benefit. Another main benefit is I think, at times, if I’m feeling down or tired or stress, I can withdraw into myself and doing laughter yoga, I think has made me more sociable, and more likely to reach out to people. I’m much more confident as a public speaker, just doing laughter yoga. And I also took up improvised comedy as a hobby. And I don’t think without the last year, I would have ever felt confident enough to do that.
Pete Cann 12:41
Amazing, amazing. It’s interesting. You mentioned the sleep side of things because that’s something that I realized quite quickly, I personally have trouble sleeping by member people in my club. Again, they’d have a session and then we somehow insomnia became a subject of, you know, the conversation. And then I said to them that they touch base with you tomorrow, just to see how you did sleep and, and everyone that I ever speak to always say they have a much better night’s sleep when they’ve had a laughter session. So, it’s, so how often do you laugh? And would you say like constructively?
Well, I’m quite miserable most of the time. I mean, I attend a weekly laughter club at the moment, we’re on Zoom. So, we rather than doing one evening, a week, we do 215-minute sessions in the morning. So 830 on a Monday morning and 830 on a Thursday morning. So, I regularly have two lots of 15 minutes of laughter. And then I guess any anything else that crops up in between? It’s been a lot less busy during lockdown than I would normally be.
Pete Cann 13:44
Yeah, so if you found the other days were like, you know, 815, for instance, this morning, but like, it’s Monday today. Have you ever had like the Monday mornings where you like, I can be bothered to go and switch a computer on and laugh this morning? You know, how do you overcome those feelings?
I think I mean it. So, it’s never a feeling if I’m awake. I’m I’m really up for laughing. Occasionally, if I’ve had a really late night, I just feel I need my sleep more. But I think I think I’m just naturally quite habitual person. Once I get into the habit of doing something that becomes part of my wellbeing program, and I keep at it. Because of being so much more socially isolated during the past 18 months. It’s been really, really important to me to do the laughter. And it’s lovely to see the same faces, to watch people, you know, people’s confidence with laughter yoga, develop and evolve, you know, so it’s quite a lovely community we have, actually,
Pete Cann 14:42
so how many people usually turn up or on average?
It varies. At the moment. It’s probably between about four and eight. It’s not as great group.
Pete Cann 14:50
Have you met them all in person?
We had a couple of in person sessions in the garden in the summer. Yes. And that I mean, that was absolutely the best Yeah, that’s still a couple of people that I have only seen on Zoom. I haven’t met them in person.
Pete Cann 15:05
You just don’t know how tall they are. That’s the thing, isn’t it? When you when you meet on Zoom, it’s, yeah, it. But what’s really interesting is that you probably feel that you’ve got that real deep connection with them. Because, you know, laughter obviously has that connection piece. And, I mean, this is something that I’ve realized that I’ve obviously laughed of laughter with a lot of people through the whole lockdown. And I just know, when you walk into a room and you see them, you’re just probably just going to get the giggles because you’re just sort of, you sort of know that already through the laughter and there’s just going to be some silliness litre, or someday they’ll just get them giggling so. So, when you move to Brighton back in 2011, and you started the club up virtually straight away, which, so once you have Okay, so let’s rewind a bit. So, you did the training, you did the two-day leader training. And you met Lorraine? Lydia, Lydia. Sorry, sorry. So, she was obviously from Brighton. So that’s, that’s amazing. You had that connection already. Before you move over? How quickly to moving to Brighton did you start the club?
So, I moved to Brighton July 2011. And we ran our first session in December.
Pete Cann 16:22
Wow. Wow. So amazing information. And so one question, I always like to ask people that have run, obviously, multiple sessions, there must be some standout moments where someone has come up to you and said, blur about how you know how it’s helped them? I mean, would you be happy to share some of those with me?
I’ve got some standout moments that they’re not about how it’s helped them. Because I was warned about this question, but I actually don’t know I can, if I can have four moments, then I can include worry about how it has been. One of my favorites is we used to have a book. And we used to ask people if they could write testimonials and after the session, so we just turned it around after the sessions. And my 14-year-old daughter used to attend with it with a degree of duress, her best friend absolutely loved it. So that often come along together. And the testimonial she wrote in the book was awkward and embarrassing at times.
Pete Cann 17:23
But happy mom.
So that, that that’s one of my moments. Another time is when this couple came. And during the laughter meditation, they were just laughing and laughing and laughing. And you were kind of I was kind of looking at them thinking Oh, they’re so in love. Wonderful, how gorgeous. And then afterwards it transpired that they were actually on a first date. And I just I just thought wasn’t that what a wonderful idea for a first date to go to the yoga session. And I guess that laughter was, was perhaps their sense of natural connection or that nervousness? I don’t know. I thought it was. But my top moment is when I was invited to Manchester to run a laughter yoga leader training for a group of for a group of women in someone’s home. And on the second day, we were doing the sitting laughter meditation, I think there were seven of us. And one woman, one woman actually crawled out of the room on her hands and knees, because we couldn’t stop laughing. And she somehow thought that leaving the room in that manner would help us to stop.
Yeah, and then, you know, because we’ve been running the club in Brighton, we get all kinds of people from all kinds of different backgrounds. You know, we have had people kind of come up and say just how much it has transformed their lives, you know, and just help them feel more confident socially, and feel less depressed and get out and kind of get on with their lives. And that’s been really profound and moving.
Pete Cann 18:53
Yeah, it’s amazing, isn’t it when people come up and actually say something like that, and it just like, you know, because you know, the goodness it brings to you personally. But actually, to have that moment where, excuse me, they have that first time that they they’ve reached that euphoric state euphoric, because I think you do go to this state of euphoria. Yeah. And then then they come up and they just share something lovely in your slide wall. I didn’t realize that, you know, that, that the laughter has this power. So, um, so what would you say to anyone that’s listening about? You know, how, because, because people again, let them dial in, they’ll listen to this. They’ll be just like, oh, I don’t know. It just seems a bit weird. I mean, what would you say to someone unsure about sort of coming along to a laughter session?
What would I say? I’d say, you know, like many things, I think it can be like Marmite. Some people love it. Some people don’t love it, but unless you try how will you know?
Pete Cann 19:47
It’s true. It’s true. I don’t like my mind. You like my mind?
I’ve started liking it now. Yeah. Just laughter is it it’s playfulness. It’s connected. It’s you know, there’s a meditative aspect to it. It’s you’re breathing. It’s there’s lots. It’s quite a holistic workout, isn’t it?
Pete Cann 20:07
Definitely. Definitely. And if you found because also, you mentioned improv comedy. If you bought some of that into your groups,
yes, I definitely think the games that I have incorporated, draw more heavily on improv now than they did when I first started out.
Pete Cann 20:25
Yeah. Would you be happy? Would you be happy to share a couple of those games?
Oh, yeah, definitely. So, I mean, I do love gibberish translation. So, and this is a good one for large groups of people where you, because there’s not that much time for each person. But when one person says a word in gibberish, then the next person repeats the word in gibberish, and then translates it into English. That’s fine. But just one word. Yeah, just one word. So obviously, the definition of the word might be longer a bit, probably be a little bit of a sentence. But yeah, you just repeat the word. And, yeah, that’s a great that allows people to be sort of cerebral and creative as well as absurd and funny. And my other favorite game, we call it the adverb game. So, an adverb is a describing word that often ends in L Y. And we have one person who’s the detective, they go outside of the room, and the rest of us kind of Huddle up and we decide on an adverb. So, it could be something like, quickly, you know, manly was when we had recently or kind of,
Pete Cann 21:38
essentially, all these kinds of words. And then the detective comes back in and they’ll say to a group of people, right, can you please mow the lawn in this manner? And then people mind the activity but using the adverb, and the detective has to guess what the adverb is?
Pete Cann 21:53
No, so they love to talk when they’re mining or is it? I can’t believe I just said that Pete, Come on. I’m only like a man; this is what I’m doing. My music. That’s a great one. I love that. Because yeah, if you’re right having that, especially when you have a club that maybe is an hour long. You can’t just do laughter exercises constantly because it’s really tiring for one thing, isn’t it? And it’s actually bringing that play in and actually then just seeing you’ve got grownups are 60 Plus that are playing and then you’ve got like 17-18-year-olds that are doing the same in this this disconnection piece, which is lovely, isn’t it? So? Yeah. So, I always like to ask them laughter Yogi’s, like, what two of your favorite laughing exercises?
Yeah, so two of my favorites. I think one of them is no ego, love. Okay, so this is a I always like to say this is dedicated to anyone and everyone whoever takes themselves too seriously. And it’s where we just point at ourselves and laugh You know, usually whilst making eye contact with one another.
love it love it was the second
and the second one, this this is what I think is good for kind of radio because it involves touch. And touch also students our nervous system. So, this is where you get some laughter cream. And you’re just going to gently rub it in all over. When you get your pot of laughter cream, unscrew the lid, take a generous dose and then just Hey, guys,
Pete Cann 24:04
I love to play this little fan because, you know, whoever’s listening, you know, when they’re driving or running or walking the dog or whatever, they just get that little laughter fix that hopefully people just laugh along at that point, because that’s the nice thing about laughter is contagious, isn’t it? Yes, it’s infectious. So, it’s so Okay, amazing. So, what I’m obviously laughter a bit is one positive. Obviously, trait what habit that you have, I mean, do you do you have any other positive habits that you try and be a fit into your weekly?
Yes, I do. So, one thing I do is I start the day, pretty much every day with a fresh juice you know, so carrot beetroot, ginger. Yeah, a lot of greens. So that’s, that’s definitely something that feels like it’s very, very good for me. And the other positive habit that I have, see swimming. I took that up during lockdown when there wasn’t really much that could be done, and I think see swimming. Yeah, that’s also a very powerful kind of endorphin and biochemical hit. I love that.
Pete Cann 25:09
System. Yeah, it’s going to say very when the Hoff sort of method, isn’t it? It’s just like the ice water and that whole take your swimming costume. We’re not talking wetsuits are we were talking about. So.
Woolly hats really?
Pete Cann 25:25
Rubber gloves or wetsuit gloves? Right. Suit Gloves?
Gloves? neoprene gloves? Yeah, because my hands get really cold. Yeah. And often, we will laugh as we go in the sea, because it’s either laugh or shout or swear. So, laughing is often the most positive out of those.
Pete Cann 25:42
Yeah, that’s interesting, isn’t it? So, when you maybe stub your toe or you do some like you say that that pay is quite painful getting into cold water at that point, but if you’re laughing you’re just getting those endorphins fly around the body actually just calms you down as you go through it. Yeah, amazing. We’re just we’re on our move at the moment to Cornwall so we’re at the moment we’re in Bristol, but Cornwall’s on the on the agenda very soon. And something I said to Chloe, my wife was like, Look, we’ll be able to do Christmas we’ll be able to go in the Segoe Christmas in our steel trunks and cause you to choose not riot
hundreds of other people that do it.
Yeah, what I recommend is if you start in July or August and then just keep going.
Pete Cann 26:30
Yeah, because I think October is supposed to be like October is basically the warmest time isn’t it for the sea is had the summer months to warm up and yeah, amazing. Amazing. So, so the people that you do the sea swimming with? Do they know that you obviously run laughter clubs as well? Or is that something?
Yeah, they do. Yeah. I just I just have one friend that I go regularly with. Yeah, but we we often do laugh as we go in the seat together.
Pete Cann 26:58
Amazing. Amazing. So okay, so what’s something that people want a lot a lot of people would know about you?
Oh, what would not a lot of people know about me? That’s a really good question. You’ve caught me out there. What’s not a lot of people know about me. Not a lot of people know that. I used to live in Sydney, James’s house. Do you know who said James’s? I do you notice I lived in a in a house with a blue plaque on the front of the house. Because the James had lived there. And in that house, I gave birth to three well to my three daughters. And also, a couple a couple of years later, someone stole the blue plaque and they came in they had to have another ceremony to put the plaque back. So there you go. Wow, that’s not many people know about me.
Pete Cann 27:47
Yeah, if you have to pay a little bit more because you’re living in a house with a blue plaque is that did you did you ever see any like images of the house when he lived there with anything?
I do you know what I have never Googled him. So, I don’t know. But the bar inside the house. It’s like a sort of 1930s house, the big hallway parquet flooring. And there’s a sort of plastic padded bar in the corner of the hallway store which is to James’s original bar from. Yeah.
Pete Cann 28:19
So those people that are listening and thinking who said James he was a carry on, wasn’t it carry on? Yeah. Yeah. They said they
used to work at Ealing studios and houses in Ealing obviously. Yeah.
Pete Cann 28:32
So where can listeners find you then?
So, Brighton laughter club.org or Brighton. cheerful.co.uk. And that spelled Brighton, as in the place name cheerful.co.uk.
Pete Cann 28:47
Perfect, perfect. And then but obviously, I take it your laughter club is open to anybody to turn up on the web, the online side of things you’d find?
Yeah. So basically, at the moment, we kind of split in half. So, half of us who used to do that the Tuesday evenings in person are running Tuesday evenings on Zoom. And then I I’m because of my training, I could no longer make Tuesday evenings. So, we’re also offering sessions on Monday and Thursday mornings. So yeah, if someone messages via the website, I can send them a zoom link to either the Tuesday evening, Monday morning or the first morning
Pete Cann 29:21
Amazing . Amazing and have you actually whilst we’re talking quickly about the zoom thing, have you found it because it’s interest? I’d recorded a podcast this morning, just the solo one just about the four ways that I can find laughter obviously, there’s a laughing on your own. There’s laughing I do audio on clubhouse I do. Every morning, I laugh for 10 minutes on clubhouse, then there’s the sort of video laughter like, obviously zoom or whatever, and then literally in person. Now, there’s a different level of energy I find between each one of those, but I think it was quite a few people. When we initially went into zoom laughter that were a little bit reserved about going online with laughter. I mean, how He found the transition between the in-person laughter to move in it online and the energy.
Oh, yeah, I mean, I suppose it was a bit of we moved online immediately, you know, so we didn’t miss any weeks. We just went straight to online. And what was lovely I think because Brighton laughter club have been going for so long. People came out of the woodwork who perhaps had been to in person sessions, but maybe hadn’t been for five or six years. So, during that first lockdown, we were an international bunch, you know, people were logging in from Vietnam, from Israel from Sicily. And so it was so lovely to see those familiar faces. And, yeah, for me, it doesn’t it misses something that you don’t you don’t get you know, in person. So, for so the in-person sessions, that’s where I’m much more likely to find a genuinely can’t stop laughing. You know, there’s right time to stop laughing now. That’s when often I’ll just lose it. Whereas on Zoom, that doesn’t happen to me so much.
Pete Cann 30:58
Yeah, yeah. As it happened.
Has it happened that I haven’t been able to stop laughing once? Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Often people think I’m trying to sabotage the session. So, I’m not the one doing the meditation. And it’s never the case. It’s just, you know, something about the ridiculousness of it just happened.
Pete Cann 31:17
This isn’t really interesting is it is that actually because I thought it wasn’t going to work so well on online and I remember, pre COVID actually doing a zoom session with four other Yogi’s and I was in Cornwall, I was in the car, sort of pulled up on my computer. I was laughing online, and all of a sudden, this light switch went, and I was just genuinely laughing. And then and then everyone went right by, and they’ve shut the computers, and I was just laughing on my own, I fell out the car just laughing and this layby Just, whoa, this is crazy, that actually you can make yourself feel this this energy from, you know, just being on the other side of the computer. But I think understanding how laughter works as well, obviously helps. I’ve got one more question Ijeoma before as a couple actually, because I’m really intrigued, because so you obviously started the club, the two of you. And then you mentioned some other people. So how soon into the club growing? Did you start sort of sharing, I suppose the running of the actual sessions?
Well, what happened was Lydia went off traveling. Okay. Yeah. So, and our venue had fallen through for some reason. So, I found myself with no partner and no venue. And then I was like, okay, what do I do? So, I went and tried to find a venue. And it just so happened that the first venue I went to, uh, normally when you’re trying to find a venue, you know, it’s weeks of emails and phone calls. One straightforward phone call went to the venue. It was a beautiful yoga studio. It was free when we had been running our sessions. And so, because I love this space so much, I said, Yeah, I’ll take it once a week. Even that was just me. And then sort of almost like two weeks later, someone came along, and she was like, oh, I’ve done the training, dah, dah, dah, could I help run some sessions, and then someone else came along. And then suddenly, there were three of us who knew how to run sessions. And I went off to New York on holiday, and they held the fort. And so and then I ran a few laughter yoga leader training. So then there were people who weren’t trained. And then we just effectively almost set it up as a co-op. And we just take turns running the sessions.
Pete Cann 33:21
Yea h. So, you get to get the actual goodness of not having to think about what’s going next and just being completely present in that moment. That’s the one thing that I find, especially because I’ve run quite a lot of corporate online sessions. And I do, obviously, I still laugh, because I’m going through the whole process, but I don’t actually switch my mind off because I’m thinking my next exercise, then I need to do this one. And I’m always a couple ahead of myself. So actually, finding out I have got someone actually in my laughter club now who’s just become a leader. So actually, this week, she doesn’t know this yet, but she’s going to be running some of the session this week. So, I could switch my mind off, which would be amazing. So, do you ever talk when you’re running a session? Do you ever lie down with a meditation? Or do you always sort of sit in observe everybody?
So, you talk about the laughter meditation or the laughter of it? Yeah, yeah. No, I was doing in. Yeah. Yeah. No, I always lay down and join in
Pete Cann 34:21
the fun bit in it.
It is, yeah, yeah. No, I think I just participate. So, I honestly think I get as much from sessions when I’m running them as I do when I’m attending them. Yeah. And I suppose because of improv, I guess. I’m quite good at winging it you know if I’ll so I’ll plan the exercises I’m going to do and then if the group needs a bit more energy, I’ll shift it if they’re going like they’re getting a bit too crazy. Let’s try and bring them down a bit or just kind of go with the flow.
Pete Cann 34:50
Yeah. So, your teacher as well I take it because you mentioned the training. So how soon after you did the lead the training? Did you go on and do the teacher training?
I think it was 2012 that I did there. Wow. And it was, it wasn’t because I wanted to teach so much as I just wanted to do more laughter It was just like, this is a really profound tool. I just wanted to do just I could.
Pete Cann 35:12
Yeah, amazing. Amazing. Okay, so I’m about to wrap this up. Then I always ask my guests. What three things bring you joy?
What three things bring me joy up my kids. Children, they bring me huge amounts of joy. Swimming in the sea, brings me immense joy. And even seeing other people swimming in the sea. I see them in my heart left because I know what a great time they are happening. They’re having and cooking brings me joy. I love nothing more than you know, having the kitchen to myself all afternoon and then having friends over and sharing food with them in the evening.
Pete Cann 35:48
Amazing. Amazing. So, if I was to come over for dinner, what would what sort of thing what would you lay on for me if I’m a vegan, though,
right? Yeah, no. So, some friends came over for dinner last week. And what do we have? I did, I made a fennel and Chestnut casserole with red wine. tomorry and tomatoes. And then it’s got fresh sage and fresh thyme in it as well. roasted potatoes and other vegetables. Carrots, beetroot and cabbage and gravy. Yeah. Red wine. They’ve been warmed by the fire. Yeah, that’s the sort of thing I love cooking vegan food.
Pete Cann 36:25
Rated amazing. Well, I hope I hope we do actually meet in person one day because we could have we could definitely have a gibberish interpretation session. I can feel that definitely coming on. So. But I’d like to thank you again for your time. It’s been amazing meeting you, did you said three things. I was just thinking, what was the third? It was cooking. That’s why I asked you.
Cooking brings me amazing, there was just one thing I wanted to say. Have you heard of polyvagal? Theory? No. This is really fascinating, because I’m training to be a therapist and I went to a trauma conference. And there was a gentleman called Steven Porges. And he’s developed polyvagal theory. And polyvagal theory suggests that we have different ways of being in our nervous system. So, we can either be in fight or flight, you don’t mean when we’re poised because we perceive we’re under threat. Or we can be shut down, which is when we you know there’s a threat and we can’t escape. And so it’s easier just to shut down. Or we can be socially engaged. And when we’re socially engaged, it’s our ventral vagus nerve that is activated. And our dorsal vagus nerve isn’t coming into play. And at the end of the conference, I went up to Steve and I was like, Look, we’re doing laughter yoga. That’s a way of activating the social engagement system, isn’t it? And he nodded and agreed. So, it’s almost in a way, like, when we’re laughing, and we’re making eye contact, and we’re mirroring one another. We’re sort of almost we’re pretending that we’re socially engaged. And then that actually kicks, the social engagement system,
Pete Cann 37:59
or just the loss of a thing. It’s amazing. There’s so there’s so many hidden little gems when it comes to laughter yoga, that it’s just, yeah, it still blows my mind, though. The first time you know, I did it again, just like that having that uncontrollable when I was at a festival. And I remember going back and seeing my wife Chloe at the time, and she looked at me and I was just like, really high on life. And she texted me she’s like, Pete, it’s 12 o’clock. What are you horn? I’m like,
It’s laughter It’s amazing. I’ve just found this just this tool that
Pete Cann 38:29
makes me feel really good about myself and just energized and yeah, and just the I suppose on a mission now just to keep sharing it and just put it out to the world. And, you know, ultimately, it’s not fair. It’s Marmite, isn’t it? It is Marmite, but it tastes better than my in my head. Brilliant. Emma, thank you
so much for your time. Lovely to meet you. Take care. Bye. Bye bye.
Pete Cann 38:55
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