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Irish Laughter Champions Ciaran Ennis of Ennis Laughter Dragons and Heather Kavanagh from Wicklow.

Laughing all the way to a national title

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CIARAN Ennis has laughed his way to a national title. The founder of the locally based Ennis Laughter Dragons was named Irish Laughter Champion in Galway at the weekend.
“It felt brilliant to be named the winner, and I will definitely be back next year to defend my title,” he told us. The event was held in aid of Galway charity, Jigsaw, a free and confidential support service for young people, their mental health and wellbeing.
Ciaran and Angie Lindenau, lead the Laughter Dragons, a laughter yoga club, every Tuesday at 6pm in the Gaelscoil. The community laughter group meet to explore the benefits of laughter yoga.
He explained, “It’s a group where we meet once a week and it’ all about learning to laugh for no reason at all. We use laughter yoga, which comes from India. And we use laughter as an exercise, its one of the most powerful, dynamic exercises. The whole reason why we use laughter is to get the health benefits. It releases endorphins so you feel positive and happy, it reduces stress, it relieves pain and it’s very good for connecting people, rebuilding communities. It’s good for mental health and well being.”
He revealed that he has personally felt the benefits of this form of yoga in his own life
“In 2001 I was suffering from addiction and depression and psychosis and I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t laughing, but today, through my journey, of recovery, well being and laughter, I have now gone on to win this trophy. I feel really good now, really happy and I’ve come along way,” he said.
“I first heard about laughter yoga in 2006, here in Ennis when a laughter yogi from Donegal called Mary came here and was doing a workshop during Mental Health Week in the Temple Gate. I went along and I got the buzz and I’ve been laughing ever since so we set up the club in Ennis in 2010 / 2011.”
He explained that this is the second year of the Irish Laughter Championship in which competitors took part in two categories, senior and junior level.
“There were different categories of laughter and we had to compete in all of the categories. There was the diabolical laugh, where we were judged on whether it sounded real, expressive and natural. There was another category where we had to pretend we were penguins and waddle around the room laughing. Then there was the duel, where we had to stand in front of another persona and make them laugh, without any jokes or comedy just with our own laughter. There was also the fit of giggles category, where I was just rolling around the floor giggling. I won in the duel and the diabolical laugh, and then I went on to be named the overall winner of the competition which was great.” For more on the club, check the Ennis Laughter Dragons facebook page.

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