Let’s talk about Laughter Yoga.
Alik and Lauren Colbert founded Laughing Lovebugs with a mission to cultivate joy and inspire connection in the lives of others through Laughter Yoga. As Certified Laughter Leaders, they lead Laughter Yoga sessions and programs for individuals of all ages, from children to seniors. They are passionate about empowering, inspiring, and enlightening others, and are dedicated to helping people discover the joys and many benefits of Laughter Yoga.
They completed Certified Laughter Leader training through LaughterYoga University, founded by Dr. Madan Kataria. They are constantly inspired by the joy that Laughter Yoga brings to their lives and infuse this feeling into every interaction and connection. Laughter Yoga is an exercise routine that increases joy, relieves stress, and delivers a fun, uplifting experience.
Certified Laughter Leaders guide participants in sessions that combine laughter exercises with deep yoga breathing. No joking, talking or humor is required. Laughter Yoga does not depend on your mood at all. You just need enthusiasm and an open mind. Studies by Laughter Yoga International and founder Dr. Madan Kataria reveal physiological, emotional, and mental benefits to Laughter Yoga.
Lauren Colbert 00:00
Laughter yoga was founded by a medical doctor in India in 1995. He found that there was many health benefits to laughter. And his wife was a yoga practitioner. So he combined the two with laughter exercises and the deep yoga breathing. So laughter yoga is unlike your traditional yoga session, you don't need a yoga mat. You don't need to be flexible. We're not doing any poses. The only yoga part of it is the deep yoga, breathing the pranayana breaths and the laughter exercises. It's an interactive exercise routine that benefits your mental, emotional and physical health at the same time, which is so amazing because it's perhaps the only exercise routine that hits all three areas of your health.
Lauren Colbert 00:50
Welcome to the Plant Based DFW Podcast weekly show with Dr. Riz and via a show broadcasted from the Dallas Fort Worth area that focuses on lifestyle medicine. This is the use of evidence based lifestyle therapeutic approaches, such as a whole food plant based diet, regular physical exercise, adequate sleep, and stress management to treat, prevent and oftentimes reverse lifestyle related chronic diseases that are all too prevalent. Every week They feature a guest who speaks on one of these lifestyle medicine pillars. This show is for you, the person who is seeking to improve your overall wellness and quality of life. So whether you are driving, walking, or relaxing at home, we hope this show will provide you one more tool for your wellness toolbox. Let's meet today's podcast guest.
Maya Acosta 01:41
Friends. Welcome back to another episode. This is Maya. And in today's episode, you will learn about the benefits of laughter yoga. Before we get into this topic, I wanted to let you know that next week I will be in Nashville, Tennessee. Yes, Nashville. I will be attending a four day conference for podcasters. That means that I have the opportunity to attend lectures, network with other podcasters and to learn what I can do to enhance my work as a podcaster. I plan on sharing all those details with you when I return. Let's talk about laughter yoga. I had the pleasure of speaking with Alik and Lauren Colbert who are the founders of Laughing LoveBugs. They have a mission to cultivate joy and inspire connection in the lives of others through laughter yoga. As certified laughter leaders, they lead laughter yoga sessions and programs for individuals of all ages. They are passionate about empowering, inspiring and enlightening others and are dedicated to helping people to discover the joys and the many benefits of laughter yoga. They are constantly inspired by the joy that laughter yoga brings to their lives and infuses feeling into every interaction and connection. Laughter yoga is actually an exercise routine that increases joy, relieves stress and delivers a fun and uplifting experience. Certified laughter leaders guide participants in sessions that combine both laughter exercises with deep yoga breathing. No joking, talking or humor is required. Laughter yoga does not depend on your mood at all. You just need enthusiasm and an open mind. Studies by Laughter Yoga International and the founder Dr. Madan Kataria, reveal physiological, emotional and mental benefits of laughter yoga. I had such a nice time speaking with Alik and Lauren and I invite you to visit their website laughinglovebugs.com. They have a monthly laughter plan. They offer group sessions, workplace sessions, laughter buddy pass, couple sessions and laughter yoga for children between ages 4 and 10. And I hope that you enjoy them just as much as I did. And again, thank you for listening. Welcome, Alik and Lauren.
Lauren Colbert 03:55
Thank you for welcoming us. We're so excited to be here and share about laughter yoga and our journey.
Maya Acosta 04:05
Yeah, well, you know, I did say that I woke up today like I've been in good spirits. Knowing that I'm going to have this opportunity to speak with both of you because laughing is one of my favorite things. But I didn't even know about laughter yoga until I heard you guys speak on clubhouse. It's a platform that I just started kind of exploring, and I'm really enjoying it. So before we learn about laughter yoga in itself. I'd love to learn more about the both of you. If you'd like to share, how did you meet? And what line of work were you in before you discovered laughter?
Lauren Colbert 04:38
The story of how we met is really interesting. We met online on a dating website. And it was both of our first experiences on a dating app. And
Alik Colbert 04:51
We felt like we knew each other from the moment we met.
Lauren Colbert 04:54
Yeah, the algorithm matched up perfectly and
Alik Colbert 05:00
The hi 90s
Lauren Colbert 05:01
Yeah, it's been amazing. We have a very blissful companionship. Alik is my best friend. And we also have this business together and business partners, best friends. Uh married.
Alik Colbert 05:19
Lauren Colbert 05:20
Yeah. And we just really enjoy working together and building together growing together learning together. As I am a case manager, I work with individuals with developmental disabilities, for the state of New Jersey.
Alik Colbert 05:40
And I'm a union Carpenter commercial.
Maya Acosta 05:42
Okay. Very nice. So let me ask you kind of going back a little bit to your dating, whatever you feel comfortable answering. But is there something in particular that stood out like your your you were matched 90%. Was there something that said that you said, Oh, my goodness, it's on his list as well? Or on her list? And yes, definitely, we were going to be able to connect?
Lauren Colbert 06:02
The dating website that we were on, after a series of questions in different categories, from lifestyle, to hobbies to
Alik Colbert 06:13
things that you can fill them on your own in the questions. We're never ending. So you can log on. And there were more questions. So you keep on filling out questions. So as always fine tuning so every time you answer the question, you're the algorithm would keep updating your percentages, and it would show you commonalities.
Lauren Colbert 06:29
Yeah, it would act everything from
Alik Colbert 06:32
would you say our toothbrushes apart?
Lauren Colbert 06:34
Yeah. To share? Yeah, all types of questions from all subjects and different ways of life.
Alik Colbert 06:46
And it did a lot of the weeding out process for us, I guess.
Lauren Colbert 06:49
Yeah. up as 96% match, I was the one that found Alik. And I saw that we for 96% match. So I was the first one to approach him. It was my first and last experience in my life ever approaching a man. And I didn't know what to say. I just was like, uh, what's up with that 96% match?
Alik Colbert 07:15
And I was unfamiliar with being approached. So I understand exactly what she meant. I didn't know that was her way of approaching me.
Maya Acosta 07:25
Alik, I love how you said that, you know, you were fine tuning every time the other algorithm gave you an opportunity to kind of fine tune and be more particular about who you are. But also what you're looking for in a partner I think is awesome. I know that for me, one of the things that was highly important is that my partner value the outdoors, like spending time in nature, enjoying the ocean, you know, water, because those are the things that I love to do the most So, and I love that both of you are in partnership together working on this. It's your business, it's your lifestyle is probably now your even your calling. Is that right?
Alik Colbert 08:00
Lauren Colbert 08:01
Yes, absolutely. It's really dreaming awake, we always say because this line of work is so fulfilling. And the story of how we got here is so interesting, because we both never heard of laughter yoga, and it was our very first time in a laughter yoga session and the the benefits were life changing. And just let us along it to.
Alik Colbert 08:29
We both found it becoming certified. We both found it. And we didn't know that we were missing what we actually found.
Lauren Colbert 08:35
Maya Acosta 08:37
Before you describe laughter yoga, I want to say that I've been a person who has always sought out comedy as a way to release some of the tension because I feel like I picked up a lot of energy. And I know that on clubhouse, you're involved in a lot of different rooms that talk about those various topics about energy and overwhelm overall wellness. But I was the person that always went to the comedy clubs, because it does so much for me when I laugh. And even when there is some sadness or something that I can't handle, I realized that I start off with laughter to get the rest of the emotion out. So what exactly is laughter yoga? I know both of them separately, but I've never heard of them together.
Lauren Colbert 09:19
Okay, so we'll be happy to share that with you. laughter yoga was founded by a medical doctor in India in 1995. He found that there were many health benefits to laughter and his wife was a yoga practitioner. So he combined the two with laughter exercises and the deep yogic breathing. So laughter yoga is unlike your traditional yoga session. You don't need a yoga mat. You don't need to be flexible. We're not doing any poses. The only yoga part of it is the deep yoga, breathing the pranayana breaths and the laughter exercises. It's an interactive exercise. routine that benefits your mental, emotional and physical health at the same time, which is so amazing because it's perhaps the only exercise routine that hits all three areas of your health.
Maya Acosta 10:13
Okay, so this was founded in 1995. And then So Lauren, how did you discover laughter yoga in the first place? What was the story behind that?
Lauren Colbert 10:21
Okay, so I was going through a really dark period in my life, I was experiencing a lot of stress due to work, and I was the person that would internalize my stress, internalized challenges, and it took a toll on my health, unfortunately. And every time I would go to the doctor and ask, what is the cause of this? They would, they would answer stress. So I was really looking for relief from stress. But I wanted something that would be interesting, fun, and sustainable, something that I would actually enjoy doing. But I have no clue what that would be. So I use the lovely Google search. And I google search, unique ways to relieve stress, and laughter yoga came up to my surprise, I've never heard of laughter yoga, I was concerned if it was even a real thing. But after further research, I found that it was real. And my next Google search was laughter yoga sessions near me. I found two of them. I'm so excited. I registered for both of them, because they were a week apart with two different instructors in two different locations. So I was like, Yes, I found two laughter yoga session. So register for both of them went to the first one. And I thought it was fun and interesting. But I wasn't really transformed. From that experience, I should say, I just felt that it was really cool, interesting. And I invited two of my cousins with me to join, and we just made it like the girls girls thing. And it was, it was interesting, but I wasn't really transformed for it from it. So I wasn't sure if I would attend the next session. I registered for that following weekend. So the entire week went by and I just had this gut feeling tugging at me like, maybe you should try it again. But my mind was telling me No, you already tried it. And it really wasn't. You weren't, you weren't really sold on it, you weren't really transformed. So maybe you shouldn't try it again. But that gut feeling kept on tugging at me, like try it again, try it again, it's with a different instructor, you may have a different experience. It's a different location. So I'm so glad that I listened to my gut feeling because it was so correct. That following weekend arrived, and I'm like, I'm gonna try this again. It's a different place, I'll have a different experience, maybe I called my cousins. And I asked him if they would join me again. And they both the clients. And this. And this is when I came to me, and I asked him if he would join me.
Alik Colbert 13:05
And I had my fingers crossed the whole time saying I hope they join there. I don't want to go to laughter yoga, I never heard of it. And Lauren did not really give a stellar report of the first time. It says I never did a yoga session or ever heard of lack of yoga, I had a bias. I was skeptical about the whole thing. And at the same time, I was in a dark place I had recently had got injured on my job and subsequently laid off due to the injury. And I just couldn't believe that I felt like I could laugh or deserve the light. And I decided to go because I wanted to be supportive. So we went I arrived in the studio and I looked around a whole bunch of strangers. It was pre COVID. So you know, we all got to meet around it was full contact. I read a lot of the descriptions of what what laughter yoga was. And I still didn't believe I'm like, yeah, this is where it's not going to work. And I remember Lauren said that she really didn't connect with it as much. So the session started and instructor gave us a little bit of instructions like laughter becomes contagious within two minutes. I said to myself, No, man, she said that you reap the full benefits and 15 minutes again, I said no. And I'm thinking to myself, this is weird, but I'm gonna go along with it. I had a sense of humor, but I'm serious. So I sarcastically laugh through half of the session. Now she asked us before the session started to rate how we do it by checking. And I evaluated how I felt but I gave myself a two, a two out of 10 I wasn't really doing too good. Halfway through the session though. I decided, hey, let me check to see how I'm doing because I didn't believe that it worked. But I was laughing the whole time sarcastically but when my brain and my body connected when I want to reach for that number again, I wasn't at a two anymore. I was at 8. Eight out of 10 so my number went up at least six points. So from being skeptical, and not only You may not fully participating and you know, just data in filling, often filling corporate to fill in like, this was something I could do again. And we arrived back home, we showered, eight got ready for bed. And I remember something else that the laughter yoga instructor told us that if you hold a smile on your face, you can trick your body into feeling like attack your mind, you're taught to believe that you're happy because when you smile, you release hormones throughout your body that think through your actions through your body. So I laid in bed, and I just held on to that smile. Because while we're in that session, I hadn't thought about being laid off my injury, nothing like I was transformed from that point on because I realized that a lot of the things that we're going through a temporary time is passing by. And life is too short, just to hold on to negative emotions. So when I woke up the next morning, I remembered though, that the instructor said, try to include laughter into your life. So I wanted to get up, I was reinvigorated. I wanted to go for a jog about five in the morning. So I tapped Lauren and I said, hey, let's go for a jog. And since she's not really a morning person, and it was really cold, I ran by myself. But what I noticed when I was when I went for my job was that I'm passing people when they want to commute while you were driving. And they were looking at me with funny, strange looks, flashing headlights at me and turn me heads. And I just felt like, I felt strange. But they really shaped me, I got back home when I told him on my experience about how people looked at me, and I asked him when she'd go out on a job with me the next day.
Lauren Colbert 16:36
Yeah, so I was like, excuse me. So I'm like, I won't jog with you. But I'll go on that morning walk with you. Because at the time, I really was not a morning person. Um, so we this is what we call our first aha moment early in our laughter yoga journey, because we went on this block, and it was the most beautiful walk and beautiful experience that we had in our entire relationship. Because all we did was laugh, we did not talk to each other. We just laughed the whole time. And of course, for me, in the beginning, it started off as fake laughter because I'm not a morning person. But eventually it became real, and it felt so good. However, during that walk, I experienced the same effect of laughing while walking that Alik did while jogging and laughing. People were looking at us like we were so strange. People were crossing the street. And it was it was just an interesting experience. Like, people people were really taken aback by just walking and laughing
Alik Colbert 17:47
So much the fact that we forgot where we were, and we started jogging, and I mean, not jogging. And holding hands while skipping down the street.
Lauren Colbert 17:55
Yeah, cuz it felt so good. We were just like, in the moment with laughter it felt so good. And we never skipped in walk before. Like, it felt like during a walk, it felt so good. Like, the inner child within us was awakened, and we had no conversation. It was just like, flowing so beautifully. It was such a beautiful experience in the moment without any worries. Yeah, just laughter. So we went when we got home. He's like, Did you see the reactions? I'm like, Yeah, I was like, that's so interesting. And he was like I told you, he said, I thought it would be different if it was two of us. But same thing happened. So I was like, that's so interesting, um, that people are looking at us because we're strange, just because we're laughing. If we were arguing with each other, we held stress or tension in our face. I wonder if people would look at us like, like, we were strange. And I'll say something like normalize laughter we should normalize it, it should be normal to laugh. And this is what we call our second aha moment early in our life journey, because I'm like, we know that when we hear people laugh, that something good is happening. We know that laughter feels good. And it's good for us. However, why is it that it's strange to live without relying on a condition because that's what laughter yoga teaches us to unconditional laughter to empower ourselves with laughter to be in the present moment with laughter and feel good. Why is it strange to laugh? Why is why are people taken back by it? We just thought that was so interesting. And we reflected on that for about like, two to three weeks until the next laughter yoga session. We just kept on talking about that experience. And we continue to laugh in our daily routine because the laughter yoga instructor challenged us to do that for 40 days to laugh during your daily routine. Engage in unconditional laughter So we continue to reap the benefits of it. However, the benefits of the last video this session started to dissipate. Alik
Alik Colbert 20:10
I started watching YouTube videos, I started looking up like the yoga sessions, the travel, recapture what I have felt during the session, it worked a little bit, but nothing really match being interactive with other people and actually laughing in the book and make eye contact and all that the effects of the dissipate. Yeah, so I started asking her every time I thought about it, what is the next session?
Lauren Colbert 20:36
Yeah, cuz this laughter yoga instructor was only holding these sessions once a month. So I registered for the next one. Excuse me, and we went to it. And, uh, together, we had the most amazing experience again, but in the back of my mind, I'm wondering, why is this laughter yoga session with this instructor so different than the one that I went to the first time with my cousin's, because I felt so transformed by it. However, I knew it wasn't, it was more than just because all week was with me, it was just something so different about it. So at the end of that session, it was amazing. Again, she asked us both. Have you ever participated in the laughter yoga session before? And I like shared with her, it was the second time I shared with her, it's my third time. And I was like, but your sessions are so different than the one that I went to. And she's like, would you mind sharing with me the name of the instructor and the location? And I did. And she said, Oh, that instructor is not certified. She learned off YouTube. People think laughter yoga is really easy to do. So they watch a YouTube video or two, and then they hope session. But she's not certified in laughter yoga. So this is our third aha moment in our laughter yoga journey, because I lead says, Well, how do we become certified in laughter yoga, um, because I have witnessed, there's a huge difference between a certified laughter yoga leader and someone who is it certified, the session was so different the way it was structured, and just the energy, like you were mentioning earlier, when we started like, picking up on that energy, it just didn't feel the same.
Maya Acosta 22:21
If I can interject, and I don't want to cut you off, I want to, I want us to come back to exactly where you're at so that we can continue. But there were some things that really stood out in terms of what you both have just shared. One of them is yes, the energy is significant. And it's almost like when we're choosing just a regular yoga instructor or a health coach, we try out different people to see what really resonates and works for us. And so that's why I wanted to have both of you on because I love your energy. I love hearing you talk on clubhouse. I also you know, your website, your social media, all of that reflects what you're about. And it's good. Like I really enjoy that I even was going to ask Where could I buy one of those t shirts that says, You're wearing the haha right now? Are those shirts available on your website as well?
Lauren Colbert 23:15
They are going to be available very soon. We're in the process of doing that. And they will be available very, very soon.
Maya Acosta 23:25
Yes, because I always not only would I love to support individuals who are doing good things like you guys, but I also enjoy wearing the shirts. So that was the first thing I kind of wanted to point out was your energy is amazing. And the fact that you continue to pursue this, Lauren, despite the fact that your first session was not all that. But you kept an open mind. My other point that I wanted to make and it's more of a question for Alik, before we move forward is Alik you saisd something that really stood out. You felt like you didn't deserve to laugh? Can you just kind of unpack that a little bit more? Tell us why you felt like you didn't deserve to laugh.
Alik Colbert 24:04
I think society conditioned you to believe that you have to have a reason or you don't have a right to feel good. Unless there's a specific condition and me being that I was injured, and I was laid off and not in a good place. And I felt like how can I live when all these other serious things around my life aren't put together like that? Very much. And I took it in internally, I internalized the situation where it was kind of like it was permanent. It was only a moment in time, but I made that situation my whole life. And it was only a brief point in time and when I look back at it now, it wasn't even worth the energy that I put in feeling bad and that's what I mean. You feel like when you're in a moment that is going to be forever in that you don't deserve to feel good. user to feel good because you know you're going to come out of it always is. And I just felt like, the condition for me to last for not working wasn't grand. I needed to be where I thought I was. If that makes any sense. Oh, yes. I just, I was judging myself I was down on mine so so even if I felt like there was something funny or something like I could have felt good about, I still had those conditions that were over my head that I didn't believe that I reached. I've reached that that point where Okay, the market is checker. Okay, you're doing good. Now you're back working. So now you can find now feel good. Now you can smile, always say so. I was always concerned about my situation.
Lauren Colbert 25:48
And this is why we're so intentional, when we're sharing laughter yoga with others. Because many people rely on conditions as adults we rely on for things to last level of happiness, level of satisfaction, a reason or sense of humor to laugh. So we logic, our way to laughter. We're always in that left side of our brain, which is what Alik basically described that, you know, but we encourage people to laugh to not rely on not wait on a moment to laugh to actually choose the moment.
Maya Acosta 26:24
I wanted to come back to what you were saying Lauren, which is the difference between someone who may try to you know, create a laughter group, as opposed to someone who's actually certified and trained in laughter yoga.
Lauren Colbert 26:36
So that's where our laughter yoga journey began. I certify laughter Yogi's. I will right after she made that statement, I'll look at how can we become certified in it. So although I was the one that found laughter yoga on the internet week was the one that actually started us on this journey, because he said, How do we become certified and we took the courses together. And it's been an amazing journey that's still unfolding every day,
Alik Colbert 27:01
it was so impacted from that first session that really just impressing
Lauren Colbert 27:07
Yeah, and we wanted to spread it with more people, family, friends, strangers, as many people as we can.
Alik Colbert 27:14
Because if we came from that dark place that you think sometimes that you can't get out of and you think it's so hard, and just to go somewhere and live there was just like, Hey, we feel like, you know, people that can use this Yeah, I meet people all the time that you know, they just need just a pick me up something to be able to just carry this into the world with you when you encounter people back and just use their energy just recharged or the spirit just uplifted.
Lauren Colbert 27:42
Yes. And the great thing about it is that, during this laughter yoga journey, he's learned so much about laughter not only the health benefits, but we also experienced the health benefits of it, and also how it improved our relationship with each other, those around us, but with ourselves as individuals and improved our relationship with ourselves. And it's been so amazing, because it all came from just practicing laughing, practicing laughing more. Practicing feeling good, because we don't have to practice stress, or, or anxiety or worry, we have to practice feeling good, though. And it taught us to no longer be comfortable with internalizing those external circumstances of stress or worry or challenges. It taught us to observe, observe it and externalize it to separate ourselves from it, but observe it and not absorb it. Laughter also empowered us to be present in the moment because we realize that when we're laughing, that we cannot feel angry at the same time you're laughing. Even if we're experiencing stress in our retention in our relationship, you do an exercise or argument laughter where were arguing without saying any words, we're just laughing. It only takes one of us to do this. And it's fake laughter. But the difference is, is that that emotional circuit breaker, your attention is released, and you're no longer spewing those negative words at each other, we're actually laughing and then we're able to communicate better because there's so much that happens inside of us that you can't see when you allow yourself to laugh. In those moments.
Alik Colbert 29:36
You're shortening the refractory period between your stressor. Yeah, and you're allowing yourself to feel good in that moment.
Maya Acosta 29:44
I love that you're an inspiration for me because I see how this has brought you guys closer and, and how it's probably worked like really enhanced your relationship and it makes me want to have the same thing with my partner. But I love how you were Saying that both of you were skipping you know, out in the street and just being childlike. That must feel like so liberating.
Alik Colbert 30:07
Lauren Colbert 30:08
It does.Because the thing is when I'm when we were children, we did not rely on conditions to laugh. We had that inner we have that joy, that joy was natural to us,
Alik Colbert 30:20
as we as we get conditions placed on our happiness and our joy.
Lauren Colbert 30:25
Yes. So we laughed, because we were playing when we were children. We didn't laugh because something was funny, or we had a sense of humor. We didn't even know what the second you were loved, as a child. We didn't wait to be happy or satisfied with life. We weren't feeling like, Oh, we have to be responsible and serious. We were free with our laughter, we play we laugh, because we were playing. So that's what laughter does. It awakens that inner child joy within us that desires freedom via laughter. I love that.
Maya Acosta 30:58
What did you mean, Lauren, when you said, you know, when you were going through the list of the four reasons why we laugh as adults, and one of them was I had it here, but happiness and satisfaction. What does that mean?
Lauren Colbert 31:11
Typically, as adults we rely on for conditions to live, we rely on the level of happiness. So as I just described, he wasn't happy. He was laid off of a job. And he was injured. And he didn't feel happy,
Alik Colbert 31:27
concerned about my career.
Lauren Colbert 31:28
Yeah, so he didn't feel happy. It was a condition that he was experiencing that made him unhappy. So he he relied on happiness to laugh. So typically, as adults, we rely we only laugh when we're happy. I'm not happy right now. I'm sad. I'm stressed. I can't laugh right now. So as adults, we rely on level of happiness. The second thing, we rely on his level of satisfaction. Oh, I can't laugh right now, I'm not satisfied with the way that my life is going.
Maya Acosta 32:01
Okay, so you're saying like, until we feel satisfied? We don't laugh? Is that what you're saying? And until we feel a certain level of happiness, we won't laugh.
Alik Colbert 32:10
So you're basically depriving yourself of a moment that can make you feel good and cleanse. Yeah. Something else that you want?
Lauren Colbert 32:17
Yeah. So we rely on conditions to laugh. The other ones is sensing humor. Some people say, Oh, I can't laugh. I don't have a sense of humor. I'm a serious person. So I can't laugh. That's another one. And then the other one is a reason people need a reason to laugh. During laughter yoga, we're not relying on a reason we're not relying on Comedy or jokes. we're choosing to laugh. It's unconditional.
Alik Colbert 32:41
Because sometimes in life, there are the reasons to live because sometimes there are a few in between when you actually have the opportunity to live. So if you don't have these opportunities, when do you laugh? Can you imagine a world without? Yes,
Maya Acosta 32:55
I can't imagine it which then kind of moves me to, to ask both of you How is it that you work with people to get them laughing? I know that you have taught everyone from children all the way up to the seniors senior age, you work with couples you even work with corporate
Lauren Colbert 33:11
Yeah, business is corporate. And we hold these laughter yoga sessions. So what makes us stand out from other laughter Yogi's is that we're very intentional about the way we hold our laughter yoga sessions, because we understand that people may not be willing to laugh, because they're stressed out or, you know, we get comfortable with be absorbed by our challenges or our stressors. So we're very intentional about the way we hold our laughter yoga sessions. And then the laughter yoga sessions, we're doing an array of laughter exercises and deep yoga, breathing exercises, and we structure it according to the demographic that we're serving. So if we're holding it for workplaces, it will be a different structure of a session than it would be for a child child for children. Because children laughter yoga sessions are typically a little bit shorter, depending on the age range, because their attention span is not going to be as long as for adults. So it all depends. And the great thing about it is that laughter yoga can be done for all abilities. So we had worked with clients that were elderly and wheelchairs, and we had laughter exercises that you could do seated. So that's the beautiful thing about it that it can be done for all ages, all abilities and for professional events, conferences or workshops and helps for team building experiences or icebreakers, icebreakers or for private events, whether it's a birthday party or a holiday,
Alik Colbert 35:05
We did one for a speed date and they had a speed dating conference where people wanted the icebreaker. So, you know, if you go into the lab that breaks a lot of eyes intention immediately.
Lauren Colbert 35:14
Yeah. We've also done it for free passes after a funeral to help people feel uplifted after such an occasion.
Alik Colbert 35:25
Family get togethers, you know, sometimes the potential for meeting you meet family that you haven't seen in a while, you know, old tension and things come up. And we've been requested to for Thanksgiving dinner.
Maya Acosta 35:39
Talk about awesome therapy, everything like you said, from icebreakers to really relieving some of that tension in the workplace. I can see how this would work with employees who, you know, sometimes there are those personalities that clash in the workforce, and just to have this experience of laughing together could be awesome. You work with couples as well. Do you do like individual one on one coaching as well?
Lauren Colbert 36:04
Yes, we've held sessions well, I get two on one. And we also have for couples as well. Those sessions are structured around helping to strengthen the bond between couples, we've held famillies,
Alik Colbert 36:22
We've had coaching sessions where we caught some people just wanted to incorporate laughter into their workplace, or the household. So instead of just a regular laughter yoga session, we coach people into how to add laughter into their lives too.
Lauren Colbert 36:35
Yeah, like we've had some teachers as we've also hold sessions for schools. But we also have some teachers book, laughter or yoga consultation, in which we share techniques and tools that they can use with laughter, yoga and bringing laughter into the classroom. So we're, we're open to whatever we're requested to do. And every time we get to do this laughter yoga session or laughter, consultation, it feels like the new experience, because it's interactive. It's not just like us telling you what to do. We are actually showing it and doing it together. So it's really an interactive exercise routine. And just the interactive experience, where we get to connect with people.
Maya Acosta 37:21
Yes, yes. So I'm looking forward to even implementing this into my life to see how I change as well. So a couple of more questions before I forget, tell us about the name. Laughing Lovebugs. Because that is real catchy and attractive. Like I just love the name. And what does a typical day look like for both of you when you are, you know, working with people? Because I also know you're on clubhouse, and you do zoom calls. So
Lauren Colbert 37:49
the Laughing LoveBugs name so we'll go back to the first question, the Laughing LoveBugs name was actually given to us nickname.
Alik Colbert 37:55
It was a nickname in the laughter yoga community. Since we are a married couple, and we participated in laughter yoga, leader training, training and group activities where other laughing yoga leaders get together. So we would come and since we're a married couple, we might be at a dinner or something. And we're canoodling, you might be holding hands. So they would just call us the love bugs. And they know they will cause the love bugs on a song say, hey, the laughing love bugs over there. And they the manager stuck laughing love bugs. Everywhere you go in the community, they will just say laughing love bugs, because they didn't know our names. And Firstly, they just called us the laughing lovebugs. And we liked it a name stuff. And
Lauren Colbert 38:38
yeah, we just look like yeah, this is a great name. So it was it was really cool. It started off as a nickname. And now we are. And then to answer your other question,
Maya Acosta 38:52
What would like what is the day look like for you when you are coaching because you're also active on social media, like on clubhouse and you do interviews. So I'm assuming you're staying pretty busy.
Lauren Colbert 39:03
Yeah, we are pretty busy. So our typical day varies depending on the number of sessions or the number of interviews or podcasts. But typically, we spend many of our days laughing, whether it be in a laughter yoga session, or because we not only do this as a business, we practice laughing in our personal lives as well. And many people think that Oh, you two are happy all the time. Because we're laughing so much. And we saw this quote that resonated so much that we don't laugh because we're happy. We're happy because we laugh because we actually practice laughing in our personal lives. We experience challenges still, we still experienced stress. We still experience these challenging moments, but what laughter did for us is it really improved the quality of our lives. Because overall, whether we're having a laughter yoga session or not, we're laughing with each other.
Alik Colbert 40:06
They're typically laughing before the first hour when we wake up in the morning, four hours before the first hour is up and are awakened. And we're already laughing.
Lauren Colbert 40:15
Yeah. Yeah, we actually had to practice this, of course, because it wasn't always automatic. But because we actually experienced the benefits of it. Um, it, it really helped us to be motivated to continue to practice it daily.
Alik Colbert 40:33
And it gets easier over time. Yeah. It's almost like a muscle. When you train it, it just gets so much easier. You let go of some of the mental blocks in your head that prevents you from just being able to laugh.
Maya Acosta 40:45
Excellent point, just like a muscle. Exactly. Wonderful. So for our listeners, will you give us like a little sample of what it's like to laugh with you guys? Absolutely.
Lauren Colbert 40:55
Yeah. Which should we do return? Okay, yeah, let's try that. So we're going to request that you just follow along with us. This laughter exercise is really easy to do. We're going to share it with you. And I'll just allow yourself to be free with this laughter yoga exercise, there's no wrong way to laugh. And remember, you can laugh as loud as you want as long as you want or as fake as you want. Your body and brain does not know the difference between real and fake laughter. This is why unconditional laughter is so easy to do, because you can even fake laugh, and you still reap the benefits of it. Okay, you're still activating those happy hormones. So with no further ado, we're going to share a laughter exercise called breathe, turn and laugh.
Alik Colbert 41:41
So we're going to take a deep breath in. And we're going to turn our head to the left and exhale. Good. Now Take another deep breath in. And you're gonna laugh and turn your head back to center. And exhale in turn to the right. The breath in. Life back to center.
Maya Acosta 42:28
I love that. That's like the child in us. Yay.
Lauren Colbert 42:30
Yeah, there's a science behind the very good, very good. Yay. So and the clapping when you clap,
Alik Colbert 42:36
you're activating active acupressure points, and the palms of your hands and your fingertips activated a large portion of receptors in the brain that are responsible for healing and feeling good.
Lauren Colbert 42:48
Yeah. And also, motion creates emotion. So the position our bodies are in when we're clapping or lifting our heads up and our arms up. It's also triggering the brain into thinking, Oh, I must be back in my childhood. We're saying Very good, very good. Yay. And awakening that inner child joy that we experienced as children. So it reinforces the play.
Maya Acosta 43:11
Yeah, that's why I want to do like a 30 day challenge as well. And get some of our listeners to try to participate because I really can shift like what you're just saying that mindset that we have that gets us into like a rut. Is there anything else that you'd like our listeners to know that maybe I forgot to ask?
Lauren Colbert 43:28
Remember, you don't have to wait on a moment to laugh, you can choose to laugh. Laughter feels good. It's good for you. There's no wrong way to do it. And just um, remember to laugh daily, you can live during your daily routine, whether you're stuck in traffic or you know, just take laughter breaks more. Because it's so good for you. It's something that's so simple to do that you must practice it. And remember, you can even fake clap your body and brain does not know the difference between real laughter and fake laughter.
Alik Colbert 44:02
And what you learn in a laughter yoga session, you can take an apply in your real life.
Maya Acosta 44:07
Yeah, that is true. And I don't want to forget to ask, but I remember hearing you Lauren, talk about your uncle, who was afflicted with COVID. And you started prescribed laughter as well.
Lauren Colbert 44:18
Yes, yes, exactly. It inspired us. So unfortunately, my uncle had a was diagnosed with COVID when he first asked the pandemic first started, and he was an ICU. And, um, he wasn't doing really well at all, but after a few days, on the treatment, he ended up feeling well enough where he can receive phone calls. So we wouldn't call them to talk we would call them to laugh. And we just engaged him and laughing with us and doing some of the laughter exercises that we just shared with you. And with this A few days, I would say probably about five to seven days later, he was transferred out of ICU. And he fully recovered, he's fine now. And it was so amazing. And we read the benefits of how laughter boosts your immune system and activates those killer T cells. And that's so much more relieves pain and so much more improved your cardiovascular health, but actually seeing how it impacted him and helped him to feel better, not only mentally and emotionally, but physically, it was really impactful.
Alik Colbert 45:42
And another great thing about laughter is, is deep breathing. You fully compress your diaphragm and you're laughing. When you laugh at the sounds ha, whoa. And he expelling all that stagnant co2 out of your lungs allow for you to breathe in more fresh oxygen.
Maya Acosta 45:57
So what you're saying Alik is that there are in both of you have mentioned it, but absolute physiological benefits to laughing we're boosting our immune system. I've even heard that there are studies that show that whether you're dealing with diabetes, or even I've heard one doctor talk about bipolar disorder, the the attacks were reduced, whether you have like arthritis, or diabetes, or any of these conditions are improved because you reduce some of the inflammation that's in the body and also that can spread to the brain. So a lot of health benefits.
Alik Colbert 46:35
Yeah, it gets so excited, so many benefits to just laughter and breathing that, yeah,
Lauren Colbert 46:42
that it's mind blowing. And, and actually to actually experience some of these benefits ourselves. It's been times where I had excruciating migraines, and we had terrible all the laughter yoga session. And I'm like, I don't know how I'm going to do this. And we had to do it. And the session was already booked. And actually within five to 10 minutes into the session, that headache was gone. It's been so many experiences that we had real life experiences, not just reading the studies that we see that these laughter yoga sessions really improved health. We had participants that had depression, insomnia, we had our cancer survivors,
Alik Colbert 47:29
insomnia, and depression. We had one person that was taking that thing, taking sleeping pills. And we didn't know and we had a we have a one month laughter plan. And this one person was taking the shoes on the plan, and she's taking the laughter. And the last day she told us that she stopped taking her sleeping because we didn't know she was sleeping. depressed. She just thanked us and told us that she stopped taking her rent medication, because she felt so much better.
Lauren Colbert 48:00
Yeah, yeah. And it's just so fulfilling. To hear both responses. We had cancer survivors and they felt so good. Participating laughter yoga session, because you're getting that oxygen rich blood circulation. With the laughter and you
Alik Colbert 48:19
get a good dose, you get a dose of dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins. In a laughter yoga session. So the same hormones, the same hormones you get you fall in love as well.
Lauren Colbert 48:31
Yeah. So we always say like, when you laugh, and you're choosing to laugh, you're giving your body so much love you're giving your cells are happy. Your cells are like, Yay. You must love us. He must love us. Yes, you're relieving that stress. You're you're improving your cardiovascular health, improving your blood sugar control, is it It's so amazing, we all benefit? Yeah,
Maya Acosta 49:01
I love this. It really falls under lifestyle medicine in the sense that it's lifestyle that you're using. So you're using laughter as medicine. So tell our listeners, how they can sign up for your programs, how they can learn more about you and how they can follow you on social media.
Lauren Colbert 49:18
Thank you were on all social media platforms at Laughing LoveBugs. Our website is laughinglovebugs.com
Maya Acosta 49:26
They can sign up from your website for any of those programs that you have?
Lauren Colbert 49:30
Yes, yes. And we're also starting to do in person sessions as well. Now that a lot of the restrictions have been lifted. Yeah. So we're, we're open to that as well. And we're still holding sessions virtually. And we're excited to share to share more laughter to share laughter yoga sessions with as many people as we can.
Maya Acosta 49:58
Any thoughts in the future about doing something like a conference like a laughter conferenc?
Lauren Colbert 50:04
Maya Acosta 50:06
That would be awesome. Well, Lauren and Alik. It's been a pleasure learning about you guys and the work that you're doing and, and really, you're spreading love and you're spreading wellness. So thank you so much for coming on our show today.
Lauren Colbert 50:20
Thank you for having us. It's such a privilege to be here to share with you and your platform. Thank you for allowing us this opportunity to share you're helping us on our mission to help people feel good with laughter and spread awareness about laughter yoga, we really appreciate you.
Maya Acosta 50:37
Yeah, it was my pleasure. Thank you. Were there you have it. We had Alik and Lauren Colbert of the Laughing LoveBugs. Share with us why we need more laughter in our lives. There's physiological, emotional and melt and mental wellness that we can bring into our lives by simply laughing so make sure that you follow them on their social media, visit them on their website, and thanks again for listening. You've been listening to the Plant Based DFW Podcast show. If you like our content, please like, share and leave a review. Our goal is to provide quality episodes to help support the community.