An Introduction To Laughter Yoga

'An Introduction to Laughter Yoga', 2011 onwards


(Above: 'An Introduction to Laughter Yoga' in the Olympic Cauldron gallery, part of The Festival of Radical Play, The Museum of London 2017.)

After attending an introductory session of Laughter Yoga back in 2011, I am repeatedly attempting to redeliver that same class to audiences in various situations, using only my memory, enthusiasm and some googling. With the aim of replicating the transition from awkward curiosity to arm waving collective hilarity.

I start by giving a short history of Laughter Yoga, from its origins in Mumbai in the 1990s to its use in numerpus environments today.  I then explain my lack of any formal qualifications and what I'm attempting to do. Then we go straight into the series of exercises, from gentle movements on to more elaborate gestures, including: gentle breathing exercises; forced fake laughter chanting; laughing at yourself, each other and your surroundings; finishing with energetic, arms-aloft, bellowing hysterics.

To date sessions have been presented a: Tate St Ives; The Museum of London, Oakwood naturist club, Downright Excellent Down syndrome charity. Gudwara Sikh temple, Sidmouth House Dementia group and various locations across Walthamstow for Art Night 2019.

Above: 'An Introduction to Laughter Yoga' in the Olympic Cauldron gallery and Neolithic London gallery as part of The Festival of Radical Play, The Museum opf London 2017.

Above: Tate St Ives, 2011, within Roman Ondak's 'Measuring the Universe'. Photograph Miguel Amado.

Above: Oakwood Sun Club, part of my Artist Residence in association with Radical Essex, 2017. Photograph Hayley Dixon.

Above: 'An Introduction to Laughter Yoga' at Downright Excellent, a speech and language charity for children with Down Syndrome.

In 2019 I was selected to present new versions of AITLY for Art Night Open around Walthamstow, where I live and work. Art Night is an annual art event that commissions site specific artworks for locations around London. Artists this year included Cory Achangel, Oscar Murillo and Emma Talbot. 

With Art Night support I was able to explore venue options around the town and select those that would be pertinant to a group experiment in collective joy and pretend positivity. The four locations were Walthamstow Town Square Gardens, a historic public space soon to be developed on (above); Bank Job, a community print workshop and anti-debt project in a disused bank branch; Greenleaf Baptist Church; and culminating in Waltham Forest Council Chambers.

The sessions were held once in each location, on the hour every hour for four hours, moving in a northerly direction from the Town square to the Town Hall.

All photos of Art Night by Tom Carter.

Classes last 15-30 mins. Suitable for all group sizes, ages and abilities.

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