Friday, May 9, 2014

LAUGH-FEST IS JUST A WEEK AWAY

The Laugh-Fest of the Midwest is just a week away! The group of presenters and registrants is just amazing. I am so inspired by the exciting presentations planned for the event. My heart is singing already. There is a complete schedule of the weekend's activities at this link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B66AGyTuWqsna1lkWnNrUnNMZUk/edit?usp=sharing

Teddy Widdel has been added as an event speaker. Laughter Yoga Teacher and joyful dynamo, Teddy will share her dances and creative ideas for sharing laughter with seniors.

Just to entice you in these final days, we are going to be extending the Early Bird discount. We don't want anyone to miss out on this weekend of laughter. Learn more about the presenters and register now at: http://www.laughinglaura.com/laughfest.html.

See you soon! Ha ha ha! :)

Laughingly,
Laura

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

DANCE YOUR WAY TO BLISS


I love active meditations. Ever since I learned laughter meditation, it's been my bliss. You get to wriggle around on the floor, giggling with friends like you're at a slumber party—what could be easier? And yet, you still get the mindful benefit of other, more serious forms of meditation. Easy. Effective. Fun. That's what I adore.

So when my friend, Sarito Sun, told me about a dancing meditation she's been practicing for 35 years, I decided I wanted to try that, too.

Sarito Sun & Laughing Laura

I'm delighted to report that she's mentored me in this method. It's called Kundalini Dancing Meditation and it is, indeed, amazing. And simple. It begins with gently loosening the body, literally shaking off stress and anything else blocking the free-flow of energy. Then, you get to dance intuitively to joyful, rhythmic music. After this is 15 minutes of sitting and feeling the calmness of mind. Finally, there is a time of lying down and entering into deep, deep silence. The whole meditation takes an hour and—like laughter meditation—it is truly transformative. I cannot do it without blissing out entirely!

Therefore, I have integrated it into my own meditation practice and I'll be sharing it with as many people as possible. To begin with, I've scheduled an event in Decorah, Iowa at Discover Happy pilates studio at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 24th. I will also offer this dancing meditation at the Laugh-Fest of the Midwest. Yes, registration is still open for this exciting event to be held May 16-18, so hurry up and secure your place.

It's Holy Week so I'm very much engaged in my ministry at Our Savior's Lutheran Church. By the way, we had a donkey at worship last Sunday! Check out the pictures here. And please keep in mind that Holy Hilarity Sunday will be April 27th at 9 a.m. If you want to laugh in church, I invite you to be there!  Blessings to you all.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

HAPPY APRIL FOOL'S DAY & EXTENDED LAUGH-FEST EARLY-BIRD DISCOUNT


Have you registered for the Laugh-Fest of the Midwest yet? Many of you have and you've taken advantage of the great early-bird discount. If you haven't, it's not too late to get the savings because we're extending the discount deadline to April 29! And we now have a list of amazing presenters to entice you to register. They are listed below.



JANE VOIGTS

Nobody can bring out the comedy—and spiritual potential—of polyester pant suits...and inspire others to do the same....than Jane Voigts!  Comedian, writer and Methodist Minister, Jane is one of the great hopes for modern religious life. She graduated from the Claremont School of Theology in 1996.  There she created an improv troupe of seminarians called Angelic Residue; they played improv games with scripture and were a huge hit everywhere we went..  She even created a full-fledged Comedy Church in Toluca Lake, California.  She's presently working on a book about the biblical account of the birth of Isaac (ie "laughter") as well as an evening of entertainment entitled, The Bible Cabaret:  A Comedy and Music Review Starring the Old and New Testaments.  In her spare time, she collects polyester pant suits and figures out how to get out of the splits. At the Laugh-Fest, Jane will be leading us in hilarious improvisation exercises as well as offering a comedic performance. Check out her website: http://janevoigts.com.


ANNE TIMPANY

A whirlwind of joy, Ann Timpany is the Founding Director of the Academy for Joyful Leadership, providing support and training for you to laugh your way to passion and prosperity and co-create a culture of joy by sharing your gifts with others.  Anne leads Joy Tours, transformational travel adventures, and Joy School retreats around the world, in addition to regular laughter meditations and joyful playshops in her local community of Idaho Falls, Idaho.  Anne's passion is inspiring and empowering you to live joyfully, bring your dreams into reality, and play the note that only you can play in the grand symphony of life! Anne is coming all the way from Idaho to offer an extended playshop to help you connect with your passion and purpose through play! Check out her website: http://www.embodyingjoy.com/.

DR. TERRI REASONER

A Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher, Terri Reasoner holds a PhD in Transformative Learning & Change from the California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco. Her dissertation focus was on the role social networks play in bringing isolated individuals together to find hope, healing, and relief. Terri weaves her Laughter Yoga practice into her 20 plus year of adult learning and training profession. Terri is also a Certified Performance Technologist (CPT) and has been certified in Myers-Briggs. She currently works as an independent consultant while sharing her love for Laughter Yoga with her clients.  She will be presenting the work she’s doing on the relationship between Laughter Yoga, Positive Psychology and Happiness. Check out her website: http://www.engaginglaughteryoga.com/.


DR. KATHY PHELAN

Dr. Kathleen Phelan is a family practice medical doctor with ProHealth, certified Laughter Yoga Leader, and the sister of Laughing Laura! She’ll be doing an “Ask Dr. Laffy Kathy” session in which you can have your medical questions answered. Plus, she has two laughing kids who will be joining us for the weekend! Check out her blog: http://laffykathy.blogspot.com/


SILLY SALLY

Explore the joys of caring clowning with Silly Sally, also known as Sarah Caldwell. Sarah offers her enthusiasm and experience—sharing her tricks of the trade to inspire you. Sarah will not only do a hands-on clowning workshop and share about her therapeutic use of humor, she'll give a performance at our Saturday night costume party!


BETSY KENNEDY

Occupational Therapist, Lymphedema Therapist and certified Laughter Yoga Leader, Betsy Kennedy has extensive health care experience from pediatrics to senior care, specifically dementia care. She joyfully integrates her various skill set to help people of all ages experience higher quality of life. Betsy will be sitting on our health care panel as well as leading a field trip to the local nursing home to do Laughter Yoga with the residents. Check out her website: 


LAUREN HUNT


Certified Laughter Yoga Leader, mother, community organizer, and natural born leader, Lauren Hunt is on a mission to  to help you lighten up, laugh more, cultivate your playful self and fall in LOVE with life. Her deepest passion is to bring people together to uplift and celebrate life through her loves of laughing, singing and dancing. Lauren will be leading some Laughter Yoga as well as a delightfully playful gibberish playshop! Check out her website: http://www.laughandlovelife.com/.


DEB OLSON, R.N., M.S.N.

A Certified Health Coach, Cancer Guide and Director of Living Alive, Deb Olson uses a variety of tools to help clients see their true potential and the meaning in their lives. In addition to her 30 years of nursing practice, Deb is a certified Laughter Yoga Leader, Healing Touch practitioner and has completed the Advanced Mind-Body Medicine professional training program among other things. Her vision is to help clients live joyfully with themselves and others and she’s found that learning to love yourself is the key to unlocking your passions and purpose in life. Deb will share more about this at the Laugh-Fest in a presentation called Unconditional Life and Laughter. Check out her website: http://iamlivingalive.com.


TERESA LISUM

Certified Laughter Yoga Leader, massage therapist, Reiki practitioner and Tai Chi instructor, Teresa Lisum will be leading joyful Tai Chi sessions and sharing her creative use of music and dancing with Laughter Yoga.


KELLI BOYLEN

Licensed Massage Therapist Kelli Boylen will be available for retreat guests on Saturday, May 17. She will be offering hour long massages for $50, starting at 9 a.m. Her training includes basic massage, deep tissue work, myofascial release and reflexology. 

Please email indigoskymassage@gmail.com to make an appointment, or leave a message at 563.329.0515. Appointments are limited—email or call soon! Sunday appointments may be available if there is enough demand.

LAUGHING LAURA

And of course, I'll be doing some presenting, too, including the opening ceremony where we'll zealously commit ourselves to a weekend of pure joy, relaxation and laughter! I'll also be sharing some folk dances, games and more. If you'd like a to do some deep personal work for freedom, joy and enlightenment, consider scheduling a one hour  "Laughing Constellations" session with me. Please email right away so we can schedule it: laughinglauragentry@gmail.com.



PLUS, we may have more great presenters! We hope this new information inspires you to get registered for the Laugh-Fest right away! It is a wonderful, affordable laughter vacation waiting just for you. Couldn't you use some rest and renewal as well as inspiration from these incredible folks? Visit the Laugh-Fest page to register: http://www.laughinglaura.com/laughfest.html. Thanks!




Thursday, March 20, 2014

HAPPY HAPPINESS DAY

Today is not only the first day of spring, it's International Happiness Day! So I wish you a happy day filled with fun, friendship, smiles and laughter. Do something joyful today and feel the bliss of being part of this international celebration established by the UN.

Speaking of doing joyful things...let me just remind you that the early bird special for the 2nd Annual LaughFest of the Midwest is coming up (the event is May 16-18 and the deadline for the special rate is April 1). Now is the time to register so you get the best deal!

The LaughFest is a retreat in a gorgeous wilderness setting. This is your chance to relax and renew yourself. There will be loads of laughter and other wellness-boosting fun. And the price just can't be beat since it includes a whole weekend of programming, lodging, food, snacks and other bonuses. Please stop by the site today to learn more and get registered.

Got questions?
Drop me an email at laughinglauragentry@gmail.com
or call me at 563-880-2699.

I can't wait to laugh all weekend with you!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A LAUGHING NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!



Hello Laughter Friends,
Has 2013 has been a good year for you? Through the ups and downs, I hope you've been able to laugh your way through it, or at least flash a dazzling smile once in a while. This life we're living is so very precious.

I just wanted to send out a Laughing New Year greeting to each and every one of you. May 2014 bring you more joy, more connection and more meaning! Laugh your way into it. You can do it! Here are some important dates:


• LAUGHTER YOGA TRAINING will be held March 21-23 for the LEADER training and March 21-25 for the TEACHER training in Ferryville, Wisconsin. Visit the Laughter School page to learn more and get registered: http://www.laughinglaura.com/laughter-school-1.html

• LAUGHFEST of the MIDWEST will be held May 16-18, also in Ferryville, Wisconsin. Click here to learn more: http://www.laughinglaura.com/laughfest.html

It's kind of ironic that I run the Iowa School of Laughter Yoga and yet most of my events are now held in Wisconsin. ha ha ha! It's just where the area retreat center is and we all love to meet there.

This year, I became a facilitator of a therapeutic process known as Family Constellations. It is incredibly healing and it's blown my laughter socks off to see how much it can transform people. Of course, I've already figured out a way to utilize laughter in the cathartic process (and presented about this at the national constellations conference in Seattle this fall). Learn more about it at: laughingconstellations.com. If you are interesting in scheduling a session with me but live far away, no problem. I do Skype sessions now, which work just as well as in-person ones.

On a personal note, William and I are getting set for a big move to our new off-grid home in the woods. The building is still going on (and believe me, we are laughing about it or we might not survive the process) but we hope to be moving by spring...or summer...or fall...ha ha ha...but 2014 is the YEAR! It's in our area so we'll continue to pastor our churches but we will have a whole new simplicity of life and connection to the earth—using solar power and burning wood for heat. I could not be more excited! Plus, we have built a studio for small group retreats. Stay tuned for future events to be held at The Gentry Joint.

Cliffs on our new property

In the meantime, I've been doing fewer laughter yoga classes and speaking engagements because I'm busy downsizing. I have begun a blog about the process, which I hope you'll check out. Here's the address: thestuffofmystory.blogspot.com.

Please drop me an email and let me know how you're doing. I think you're AMAZING!

Love and laughter to you and yours,
Laughing Laura

Thursday, November 28, 2013

LAUGH FRIDAY SALE!

Looking for that perfect gift? How about LAUGHTER?


Why not give that special someone a WHOLE WEEKEND of LAUGHTER? On May 16-18, we’ll be holding the second annual LaughFest of the Midwest. It was a smash success in 2013 so we’re planning uplifting experience for 2014. Now, registration is open just in time for your gift giving needs. And if you act fast, you’ll get a $30 discount.


 There is something magical about gathering with new friends and old to laugh your cares away.


And it’s a hoot to dress up in hilarious costumes!


There will be speakers sharing insights about wellness, joy and laughter. Recharge your laughter yoga practice with this wealth of inspiration! No experience in laughter yoga is necessary, though. This event is for all people of all ages. It is designed for anyone willing to have more health and happiness.


There will also be workshops, laughing hikes, deep fun games, singing, dancing, a costume party and more! For those of you who live in the Midwest, it doesn’t get any handier than this. You can experience a conference on par with the annual All America Laughter Yoga Conference...but right here in your own neighborhood! If you live futher away, you can fly into the LaCrosse airport.






Laughter brings people together! Imagine what fun it will be.



I believe the setting is extremely important. That’s why this event is going to be held at a retreat center in Southwest Wisconsin. It is a secluded valley with 635 acres of prisine wilderness with a creek running through it. It’s of the beaten path and well worth the trip for the opportunity to connect with nature in springtime, just as the earth is coming to life again.



The hospitality at the camp can’t be beat. This year, we’ll be staying in the log cabin village, the main retreat center and the Koinonia Lodge (pictured below). These upsale shared accomodations have bathrooms with showers in each cabin/lodge. It's like a big slumber party! And the food is delicious. Everything is made with love by the camp cook. Vegetarian and meat entrees are served at each meal. Please let us know if you have other dietary needs. The center also boasts a wood-fired sauna, which will be heated up to perfection each evening. 



The all-inclusive price for the LaughFest of the Midwest in Ferryville, Wisconsin is $225, which includes 2 nights lodging, all meals, healthy snacks, a Laughter Blasters CD, a brand new laughter e-book by Laughing Laura, and a myriad of delightful programming for the entire weekend. But if you act NOW, you can get the EARLY BIRD rate of just $195 for all that!

Who do you know who could use a “laughter intervention” of a stress-free weekend at the LaughFest? Bring a friend or family member and share the experience! 


Personally, I’m giving my sister this gift (Shhhh! Don’t tell her). Here we are pictured below. I can’t wait to spend the weekend bonding with her, building a whole new set of happy memories. Who are you going to bring?


To get the great LAUGH FRIDAY rate, register now! Visit my new laughter site to register: http://www.laughinglaura.com/laughfest.html





Tuesday, October 22, 2013

THE LAUGHTER BLASTERS CD IS HERE!

I am pleased to inform you that my new CD, Laughter Blasters, has been released! At last, you’ll be able to hear the exciting montage of laughter blasted out along with a jazz trumpet. 


“Against the assault of laughter 
nothing can stand.”
So wrote the iconic American humorist Mark Twain. This aptly describes Laughter Blasters. 

Cadres of enthusiastic laughers from around the globe have joined forces to bring you this unique collection of zealously blasted laughter.  It features my laughter along with that of The Laugh Man Doug Collins who’s been hailed as the man with the most contagious laugh in the world. His runaway YouTube hit “Dad at Comedy Barn” was played on Good Morning America and to date has over twenty-four million views. If you haven’t seen it, or just haven’t seen it recently, you can watch it at this link. It’s guaranteed to make you laugh!

This project began a ridiculously long time ago when Doug and I formed a laughter friendship via Facebook. We determined to do a recording together. After some deliberation, we decided it would simply be a collection of contagious laughter, since that’s his special gift.


So, I packed my bags and headed down to meet Doug and his wife, Linda,  in Memphis, Tennessee. I asked him if he knew of a good recording studio and said: “How about Sun Studio?” and then proceeded to belt out one of his great laughs.

“Why not?” I replied and laughed right back. 

The next thing we knew Doug and I, along with a group of his family and friends, were recording in the legendary studio that’s known as the birthplace of Rock and Roll. Many famous records were made there by artists like B.B. King, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bonnie Raitt, Def Leppard and U2 (my favorite band in the world). And here we were in that same studio rolling around on the floor laughing our sides out! The whole thing was absurdly funny. But beyond the humor, it was pure delight—you know, one of those perfect “can this really be happening?” moments.

Doug in Sun Studio (in Elvis' shadow)

When I returned home I decided to add trumpet music to the mix.  I think laughter and trumpets share a frontier. They both have the capacity to blast with abandon. That, and I love the interplay of music and laughter. I’ve been experimenting with that for a while. I knew that the trumpet music could help bring the various laughter sounds together and make it more fascinating for the listener. So I hired Zak Kaszynski, a young jazz trumpeter. We had him improvise on jazz standards while the sound engineer, Brett Huus, and I laughed. Incredibly, he was able to keep on playing through our shinanigans but every so often, he’d burst into laughter along with us. It was a riot.

I could have stopped there, but I was setting out to make the most contagious laughter album possible so I sought out more Laughter Blasters willing to join the party. 

Doug had involved his wife and son, so I decided to get my own family into the project. I put together a recording session with my friend Richard Bruxvoort Colligan in Strawberry Point, Iowa, which included my husband, my dad, his college friend, the friend’s wife, and a friend of ours.

That was great but I was determined to have even more, so I set up another recording session in Madison, Wisconsin at Audio for the Arts Studio.  The objective was to get as many people from the Madison Laughter Club as I could. This organization, you see, has some of the universe’s most enthusiastic laughers. A large gaggle of gigglers showed up for the recording including the four founders of the club, other club members, some of my laughter students from the Madison area, a college buddy of mine, my best friend from the 5th grade, as well as my sister and her kids who made a road trip on a school night to be there. To say it was outrageous would be an understatement! We were able to record everyone’s individual laugh as well as various groups of laughers. Throughout the session, people were falling down and slapping the floor. You can hear this on the CD and see it in the promotional video below. It was unprecedented hilarity. No one could contain themselves at all. On the way home my nephew summed up the evening by telling his mom: “That was really fun. Aunt Laura should do that more often!”



Still, that wasn’t quite enough laughter for me. I set up a few more recording sessions in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. One of them was entirely peopled by child laughers. My niece and nephew were visiting us at the time so they got to laugh on tape again. We also had a five year-old who has been raised on laughter because his grandmother trained with me to become Laughter Yoga Leader just before he was born. His giggles are too precious for words. You can hear them all on the kid-only song “Just Plain Goofing Around.” 

We even flew Doug to Wisconsin so we could get more of his amazing laugh recorded. This enabled him to be the keynote speaker at our Spring Laughter Retreat. Needless to say, the whole group fell in love with him and we were all grateful for his joyful presence.

On top of all that, some friends from around the country and Australia, Israel and Chile sent in recordings of their laughter, which we mixed in. I also included a laugh by Carl Kassel of public radio. I had won his voice for my voice mail because I was a contestent on “Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me!” (click here to see the video of the greeting he recorded for me). All told, sixty-one laughers were involved—the biggest group I’ve ever put onto one CD! I am profoundly grateful to each and every person (whose names are listed below) for they have given an enormous gift by sharing their unique laugh.


And yes, I painted the cover. I filled it with laughing, happy, random things to make you smile—like an eggplant, peace doves, hearts, stars, flowers, a cupcake, a moose and Mount Fuji!  It took me all winter.  I packaged the CD in an eco-friendly wallet made with certified green components. Woo hoo!

The cover painting in process


If laughter is medicine, this recording is prescription strength! It’s such a relentless stream of positive energy that no grumpiness can withstand it. In fact, it’s so concentrated, you probably can’t listen to the whole album at once and do it responsibly because you’ll be laughing too hard!

Every one of my productions is precious to me (Laughter Friends, Today is a Laughing Day, Laugh Your Way There, Holy Hysterics, Yoga de la Risa, Be Laughter, Yule Laugh, The Little Book of Big Laughs, Laughter Blasters). They are made with love and I send them out into the world to do their work of spreading world laughter. Yet I can honestly say Laughter Blasters is my new favorite. It was a much longer and more involved process than I expected, but it is worth it because now I have an amazing collection of laughter to share. I think it’s particularly helpful for laughter yoga professionals who don’t necessarily need laughter exercises to laugh on their own, but a bit of recorded laughter helps!

The Laughter Blasters disc

Here is the behind the scenes video, where you can also hear samples from the CD. I'm so excited to share this with you. Get ready to laugh! :)


Like the other discs, Laughter Blasters retails for $14.95. It’s available at CD Baby and Amazon (where the price fluxuates and you can sometimes get a better deal). You can also find them as digital downloads at those sites so you can get it instantly. Right now, I’m running an introductory offer: FREE shipping if you order one CD or you can get a Laughter Blasters Party Pack of 3 CDs for just $30 plus FREE shipping. You can order them below with the handy Paypal buttons or at The Laughter Shoppe where there are some other new offers, too. And with the mail-in coupon below that, you can get the album as a digital download from me for just $5 per card! Once I receive your order, I’ll send you a download card with the code for you to download it from CD Baby. Hurry, this is a limited-time offer (and makes a super Christmas gift that can be tucked into a card)!


$14.95 for 1 CD • FREE SHIPPING
introductory offer!



LAUGHTER BLASTERS PARTY PACK
$30.00 for 3 CDs • FREE SHIPPING
introductory offer for a limited time only!





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LAUGHTER BLASTERS CUSTOMER REVIEWS
5.0 out of 5 stars She's a genius! September 7, 2013
As a certified Hasya Yoga leader, I work primarily with assisted-living and memory-care clients. Laura Gentry's "Laughter Blasters" is a perfect aid for helping them laugh and enjoy the moment. I would not hesitate to recommend the CD to anyone serving this universe. It would also make a perfect gift.

5.0 out of 5 stars Most fun ever! October 21, 2013
I love Laura's latest creation! Laughter Blasters is just plain fun and enlivens the whole house. I like to use it as soft background music while I work to keep things light and happy. I can imagine this would be great as background music for parties and in stores. Be warned though. Sometimes this CD can get very very funny. This is great for everyone! Thank you for your amazing products Laura! We can't wait for the next one!


5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of Contagious Laughter! October 7, 2013
By Jenna
I LOVE this CD! I am a trained Laughter Yoga leader and will definitely be using this CD as a resource for myself. Once again, Laughing Laura has produced a wonderfully contagious and usable laughter resource! This is perfect for laughing along in the car, at home, or even at work, if you so choose! The music in the background of all the tracks is a great addition to the laughter; it adds another cheerful dimension for you to laugh along with. Laughing Laura has brought some incredibly talented laughers, including herself, Doug Collins "The Laugh Man" with his contagious laughter and many others with great laughs to produce a hilariously fun CD for your laughter enjoyment!

The back cover