Mar 162015

Haha-happy day: The author Elvie Estavillo with Melfred Hernandez, doctor to celebrity singers      

Laughter Yoga is, indeed, a life-changing experience! Since I introduced LYoga in our beloved country in 2008, my perspectives have dramatically changed.  In the same breath, it has helped participants in various companies, organizations, schools, etc. where I conducted LYoga to laugh for no reason at all, thereby helping them to reduce stress, enhance efficiency, and reach optimum performance in the workplace, at home, in school, or wherever they are.  Laughter greatly helps in breaking the barriers and improving communication among people.

In October last year, after a vacation abroad, I noticed a change in my voice,   which the first doctor I consulted diagnosed as allergic cough.  However, after a month of taking the prescribed medicines, the voice change persisted.  Coincidentally, I read that when there is a voice change for a month, a voice specialist must be consulted immediately. So I contacted Dr. Melfred Hernandez, the famous doctor of our celebrity singers. After a thorough checkup and an endoscopy, Dr. Hernandez suggested an operation to remove the polyps in my vocal chords.  His diagnosis:  overused vocal chords.   

 I was advised, before and after the operation, to absolutely not use my vocal chords. No talking!  No laughing!  Though so downhearted, I followed the doctor’s prescription to the letter. For four long, boring weeks, I communicated through a small white board, and armed myself with an eraser and a pentel pen wherever I went.  Funny, I was mistaken for a mute in the mall when I wrote  on the  board what I wanted to say. Other times, a deaf mute! I did not go out with friends because the one time I  dined out, my friends said they felt I was not the same person —  my lips were agonizingly sealed all  through the dinner.

In lieu of laughter, I just kept smiling to myself, and incessantly prayed to our Greatest Healer to restore my voice He so kindly blessed me with,  to help spread joy, scatter sunshine, strengthen faith, and instill positivism among our kababayans through Laughter Yoga.  

Two weeks after the operation, I went to see Dr. Hernandez for vocal chords checkup. When asked how I was,  I took out my white board and was about to write  when Dr. Hernandez told me to just talk.  Since I had not  uttered a word for a month, I was nervous,  not sure how to start, so he said, “Just open your mouth and say something.”  After quite a while, I opened my mouth and said something.  My voice was hardly audible, so  nervously, I asked:  “Why is my voice like this?”  He told me to continue talking.  Oh, what a great relief when after some time, I heard my normal voice again, and uttered a prayer of thanks.  I then asked if I could laugh, and he advised me to do it slowly, gradually. For this reason, I will conduct a Laughter Yoga session only once a month, preferably to a big number of participants so I will be able to reach out to as many people as possible.

On my second checkup, Doc Melfred asked me to laugh, so I let out my roaring happy laughter  continuously, until he said, “Enough.”  He commented:  “My God, your laughter is very contagious, infectious.” He added,  “I am in charge of the conference for 600 doctors in December next year, can you be our guest speaker?”  And together, we laughed heartily!  Hahaha!

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Let’s keep laughing to a healthy, happy, positive us!  For the fifth year, I will conduct a Laughter Yoga session at Makati Medical Center on March 22 for Dr. Art Libao and his 400 volunteers.  Email me at

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