Eva Provedel speaks with Happiful ahead of this years' Mental Wealth Festival
Reading Eva’s bio ahead of our interview, I am instantly intrigued. Her job title is categorically the best I have ever heard – Eva is a Joy Coach - and she is dedicated to bringing more sustainability and positive vibes to her clients’ personal and work life.
Eva will be at this year’s Mental Wealth Festival, a two-day event with a mission to explore how we live, respond and build our resilience in regards to our mental health. For some attendees Eva will be setting the mood for the festival with a morning Laughter Yoga workshop.
With this in mind, I pick up the phone and have my first chat with Eva – all about laughter, being our authentic selves and connecting with our inner child.
Tell us a little about what you do Eva?
I help people improve their skills and approach to life in order to reach their goals. I encourage them to make use of their own strengths and powers to create the path in life that they want.
One of the ways that I’ve found of doing this that is very powerful, and I am very passionate about, is to develop a positive attitude and use the body to help ourselves. Its a kind of inverse process - not so much from the mind to the body but from the body to the mind, exercising the body for a happier body and a happier mind.
And Laughter Yoga?
Practising laughter is a way to get in tune with our own body with our inner child. Our inner child who is creative, wondering about the world, sees the positive in things and is curious; the inner child that in the face of everything is positive and looks for solutions - that wants to get up and try new things.
Laughter yoga is basically all about cultivating your inner child, your inner smile, your inner laughter.
How does your teaching of Laughter Yoga sit within your wider practise?
Laughter Yoga is one side of what I do, the rest of it is around training and coaching. I work upon building up individuals' confidence or skills to help them communicate better with others, personally or professionally.
Ultimately, these skills are transferrable though. Sometimes we think that there are different personas - that you have to have a different persona in your work life and your home life. Personally I think we divide ourselves when we are actually one person.
What I try to do is help people bring their authentic self wherever they go so that they can always be in alignment with who they are, what they want and what their values are. I find when people are unhappy at work it is because there is some kind of dissonance between who they are and how their life is going at that moment.
My work is about helping them regain the power to take control of their lives and maintain their wellbeing, which often gets forgotten, right?
Is your work focused upon helping people to understand who they are at their core rather than a label they might inhabit at any one time - Mother, Daughter, Manager and so on?
Yes. We all have different hats that we put on for different roles and activities and sometimes those feel conflicting. Sometimes we put a lot of attention on one role and the other one gets a bit neglected.
There is a whole movement around balance and work/life balance - although I don’t like the differentiation. There’s a lot of work in our life and I don’t see why life isn’t considered more within the whole context of working?
Even the phrase work/life balance pits them against each other?
It's the duality that comes from the Western World’s philosophy. Our philosophers, rather than seeing life in a holistic manner which is more of an Eastern approach, go more rationally into the duality of things.That’s really helpful in many ways but also unhelpful in others.
I think it's more interesting to look at the holistic picture of ourselves as human beings. Why are we here, what do we want to do with our lives - all the big questions that constitute our journey…
Thats where the coaching comes in to my work too as I address what is holding people back. Thats really important in the context of the Mental Wealth Festival’s mission and building our sense of self.
What can people expect from your session at the Mental Wealth Festival?
London is a crowded city and people are rushing about and it can be hard to find time to dedicate to slowing down, breathing, finding your inner smile and interacting with other people in a positive and playful way.
What we do in Laughter Yoga is body based, so we don’t spend time talking initially. We breathe, we do laughter exercises - a way to exercise the muscle of laughter - just to get people back in a child-like state of happiness, which is useful for adults too.
Participants bond through this practise and it creates connections really quickly. At the end of the session there a moment of laughter meditation, which is when the laughter comes out like a fountain! Everyone is ready for the release and to just feel the laughter.
Afterwards, we share what the experience was like for everybody - their responses can be anything from unearthing a childhood memory to the release of physical pain. Laughter produces endorphins and other happy hormones. Its really magical actually...
Eva Provedel’s Laughter Yoga workshop will take place on Monday 10 September, the first day of City Lit’s Mental Wealth Festival. You can find more information about the festival here and connect with Eva on Facebook.