What To Put In Your Happiness Tool Box with Maude Bombardier
Have you ever walked outside and just wanted to meet and hug every single person? Or felt so light you just don’t care what anyone else thinks and every negative thing feels so small in comparison to how happy you are?
That’s how I felt after trying laughter yoga.
I was in a room full of strangers, just laughing about literally ANYTHING. At first it felt weird, I mean, who are these people? What do they think about my dorky laugh? What if I have lipstick on my teeth?
Until the fake laughters turned to real ones and I was in the same room filled with strangers, except after an hour, I’ve never felt the safest. And carefree. I asked, “why did I even bother about such petty things?”
I met Maude a few months ago to brainstorm our shoot and on our first meeting, I joined her shopping for essential oils. Haha! I love it so much when clients feel like soulmates and bestfriends. We instantly connected and when I learned more about her heart and her story,
She invited me to her laughter yoga session that weekend. And then we did our shoot sometime later. It was supposed to be an hour, but we ended up chatting at a coffeeshop about business, gratitude, affirmations.. Her heart genuinely desires to spread happiness and help people live a better life and she’s one of those people I meet that just makes me journal right after and just write about how grateful I am to have them in my life.
She started The Laughing Hour late last year and since then, she’s been featured in different media companies, articles and podcasts. Way to go! And I think when you just look at it from the outside, you would be surprised on how everything is happening for her. I feel lucky to be able to hear The Laughing Hour’s story directly from her and how it turned from a journal entry to a business.
Read more about her story below. :)
HER INTRODUCTION TO LAUGHTER YOGA
I first heard about laughter yoga when I was in Hawaii. I was visiting my brother and he told me about it, and I thought that it was just a Hawaiian thing, I didn’t think that it was gonna be common because when I looked at the videos it seemed a little crazy.
When I came back to Montreal, I realized that they offered laughter yoga sessions. I went and it was just very interesting because I was with a bunch of strangers laughing for absolutely no reasons and it felt very weird, I was like “why am I here? What is this place?” It’s rude to leave so I didn’t leave; I sat the whole time and at the end, I just couldn’t stop laughing and my cheeks were like stuck in the smile mode. I left the studio and I just wanted to smile and say “hi!” to everyone – you don’t do that in Montreal, saying “hi” to everyone because it will make you look like coocoo. Then I went the second time with my friends because at the end of the first time, I felt so good that I said I want more of this. So I told my friends and they told me I was crazy but I was just like “Guys, come on, it’s gonna be so awesome!” I convinced them to come. We were there the second time, and at the beginning, I was like “why am I here, this is still weird.” But it was great; by the end of it just sharing that laughter with my friends was amazing.
During the session, they told us about the certification that we could get to be a laughter yoga instructor. When they said that, I said that I want that certification.
Ten years since then when I went back home and I wrote in my life list – everyone calls it “bucket list” but I call it my “life list” – I wrote one day, I’m gonna have my certification in laughter yoga and that one day I’m also gonna give a class.
Fast forward to today, I was writing everything in my journal about my business ideas that I wanted to incorporate laughter yoga somehow. It’s like I had retreat ideas or I had happiness booth camps. All of them incorporated laughter yoga but it was never my main focus.
Last December, I met my boyfriend – I met him in September but in December, it hit me that he was so sparkling and he was so passionate. When I was looking at him, I realized I had lost myself. Like, I was so focused in my work – and I love my job – but it was very time-consuming. So I said that I want more of that spark that I see in my boyfriend.
My brother who lives in Hawaii passed away a few years ago and when he passed away, it was pretty life-changing. I’ve always been positive but losing someone that close puts a lot of things in perspective so I moved to Vancouver at that time and I was trying to look for myself. I was going on really huge hikes just to feel very small and feels that being stressed because you’re late for five minutes – like, why would you be stressed about that? You’re so small in this world. I started paying attention to where and how I was spending my time.
I feel like The Laughing Hour is just honoring the fact that I want to use this time that I have here doing something that I really love and I’ve always said that I want to spread happiness somehow.
It was a little challenging for me though because I was scared that starting The Laughing Hour, I would always have to seem super happy and positive - I mean, like I said, I’m positive all the time – it’s just that I don’t wanna have to fake being happy when I was actually sad, and the Laughter Yoga is beneficial and the list of benefits for laughing is long.
Though that’s not for everyone and that’s okay, just like going to the gym is good for you but it’s not for everyone.
I feel like laughter yoga is a good tool to have in your toolbox, so if you’re feeling down – know it’s in your toolbox, like maybe you feel like writing or dancing. If you feel like doing laughter yoga every once in a week, or you don’t have to do it all the time, just know that it’s a tool that you have.
Man, I love to cry. *laughter* Wait, that’s not true, I don’t like to cry in front of people but when I feel down or when I’m having a challenging time, I know that I need to cry and it feels really good afterward. It is very releasing. It’s important to know – I was talking about knowing what’s in your toolbox – I’ve developed a little routine for myself when I’m down and then it’s really easy to know what I’ll do because when you feel angry or sad, you can’t think straight. So if you have a little sadness routine, then it’s easy to find out how you’re gonna spend your time going to the next thing.
I went back in my journal and saw laughter yoga written EVERYWHERE. So I went like – you know what, I told myself that I was gonna get that certification, I wanna go get it. I got my certification in May or April of this year 2018. I started with a friend doing some sessions in parks and in schools and people were asking us if we’re gonna be continuing this after the summer season. I was like, I’m just gonna launch it and dive into this entrepreneur world and then do The Laughing Hour full time.
Actually at the beginning, I was pretty scared, because you know, I have bills to pay and everything but it seemed like all of it was working out from a side job that has a very flexible hours so I can pay the bills and then I can focus on my Laughing Hour and everything comes together.
[The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho] is such a good book, and it’s true! It feels like everything happens, just be like “oh, I want this and then, boom! You start talking with someone who can help you with that. It’s so interesting and so wonderful, I feel like being supported by the universe, pretty much.
When I said that I feel supported by the universe, it’s just that I posted an event and then CBC Radio contacted me and then French Canada and then CTV, I don’t know, they’re the one who reached out to me and I feel very grateful for that actually. Before starting this company, I kind of tried to continue my brother’s company. I was at podcast and doing that really helped me know how to start a company. I’m not an expert at all but I started the laughing hour with some resources that I didn’t have with the first on.
A BUSINESS SHE CAN TAKE ANYWHERE
I love traveling and that was a big discussion with my boyfriend because I was like, “okay, I saw cheap tickets to go to Hawaii. I wanna go to Hawaii now.” And then he was like, “but you just started a company.” So I was like, “yeah, let’s make it a business thing, maybe I can do some laughter yoga in Hawaii.” I ended up not buying tickets to Hawaii but then I saw cheap tickets to Vancouver then I was like, “Let’s go to Vancouver! Let’s make a business trip out of it.” And since I used to live in Vancouver, I had a few contacts there. For sure, I want to offer the laughing sessions in Edmonton but also outside of Edmonton because I love traveling. This is something that is catered for everyone, I do it for children, for seniors, and businesses so it pretty much touches everyone.
DIFFERENT METHODS FOR DIFFERENT CLIENTS
With the children it has to be very stretched because they can get crazy with all the laughing – so it’s like “we’re going to the zoo” laughing, we’ll do that monkey laugh, so it’s like more crazy and childish. With seniors, it’s a lot of both – like, ”oh I lost my glasses again…”, “oh, look at the fat that I got below my chin” and let’s laugh about this fat here. *laughter* I think at one point it was “I lost my dentures” so we’re laughing about that. And with the corporate world, it’s more like being at the office and your boss is nagging you so we laugh about that and we laugh about having back pain because we’ve been sitting at the office for too long.
So I play around at the laughing exercises that we do depending on the group that I have with me.
HER BIGGEST LESSON SO FAR
It’s teaching me to trust myself because you’re on your own when you do this. You’re on your own but you can collaborate for some decisions.
Sometimes I just wish that there’s a magical answer, like, “Oh this is the right price that you should give.” And, “this is how you should negotiate for this thing.” It’s a big learning curve for that.
Otherwise, like for now, I think I’m in the honeymoon phase. It’s just like waking up in the morning and be “okay, this is what I need to do.” So yeah, I’m in that honeymoon phase.
Follow Maude’s journey with The Laughing Hour here: