Laughter Yoga on Zoom
Online Laughter Groups with Zoom
We have many options to continue laughter despite many locations still social distancing. Zoom interactive video conferencing is one of the easiest and most popular options from a computer or smartphone app. Because it is interactive, it allows eye contact which we know encourages contagious laughing! Early in March, many laughter professionals began hosting free sessions on Zoom.
Here are some basic ideas to help you join in the fun!
- Mute? Video off? Generally, we use Zoom so we can hear and see one another in real time, allowing contagious laughter. If you have background noise- be courteous and mute your microphone. Being online can get tiring. Some may be tempted to multi-task, especially if there is excessive talking or distractions. Video does take a lot of bandwidth (internet power). If there is an issue with screens freezing often, you may need others to turn off their video. Of course, the downside is less group eye contact, although in a pinch it can help. If you need to walk away for a moment, turning off video is a good idea.
- Prepare your lighting and background. Light your face and arms from side or front, not from behind or ceiling. Try a practice Zoom to check for shadows or bright spots when you move. Be aware to look directly at your camera and not just at screen. It is easy to get distracted and look at your own image too often, so practice will help. Studies show that cognitive fatigue occurs more often when we constantly look at our own image. It is not natural to see yourself every moment and it causes slow grade cognitive distress! Solve it by looking at camera and others more. Keep your background simple if possible. Be aware of your audience and adapt your background. Child friendly? Professional? Cheerful? Promotional? However, avoid promotions of your groups, clubs or training when in someone else’s group- unless they ask of course! As a courtesy, message host before session if you plan to have a sign advertising your or someone else’s business/club. Zoom allows us to be intimately invited into groups and clubs that we did not have access to before! With this invitation comes the need to walk gently. If you choose to use the feature allowing computer photo to show as your background- please be aware that it can be distracting and sometimes you “disappear” into the background. Of course, many of us are at home on Zoom- don’t forget to look behind you for dirty dishes, messy tables or other things that might look odd on camera! You can always turn off your video if you suddenly notice a background that is too distracting.
- Troublemakers? Many people are stressed and looking for an outlet. Same as an in-person group, you may see outbursts or other behavior that’s not appropriate. Fortunately, the host can remove a participant by right clicking on their picture or place them in waiting room (time out). If it is a large group, co-hosts can be designated to assist. Be sure to keep the default video setting which allows only host to share computer screen content. Address trouble quickly and go on with your group. If you find some LY Pros joining your sessions and not respecting your lead or style, please message them privately. When you are a guest, be sure to show support and respect of the host!
- Meeting ID and password. A method to control who attends online sessions- the host can create unique meeting IDs or passwords. Some people feel this helps prevent troublemakers, however, it could make it too complicated for group members. If you host a weekly session, it is easiest to keep the same ID each week. For one-time or private sessions, emailing attendees the new ID is simple.
- Landline? Did you know that Zoom works with any phone? From within the USA, using a dial in option will allow participants to listen and join laughter Zooms. Of course, they will not have video, but hearing laughter can rejuvenate those without higher tech options.
- Support others yet allow the host to lead. Being online with Zoom allows us to visit clubs anywhere! It’s a wonderful opportunity to be joyful and support other Laughter professionals. We can jump into their club with just a few clicks- no travel needed! Hosts often open their sessions for clients, new laughers, laugh pros or others and post information allowing anyone to join. However, another reminder, please be courteous when you are a guest. Please wait for host to invite sharing before you share about your own club, training or other event. Keep in mind that each host has a different feeling about promotion — especially regarding paid events or trainings. Some hosts want guests to share, while other hosts prefer not.
As you travel on this zoom journey- you will notice a variety of styles,themes, and formats.
Basic style categories can be described as:
- Talking (introductions, explanations, discussion, etc.)
- Follow the Leader (limited or no talking)
- Just Laugh (laughing, giggling without a leader or specific LY exercise)
- The Arts – music, dance, sing, play (with or without laughter)
- Combination of Ctyles (mixture of any or all the above)
In the next newsletter, we will share best practices for each style. Please send us your thoughts and comments! It is exciting and fun to participate with so many different styles- without ever leaving your home! For many, Zoom laughter groups are here to stay. Join in the fun- I look forward to zooming with you soon!
CLYT — Eagle Lake, Wisconsin