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.)

For the past few years I have been repeatedly attempting to redeliver a session of Laughter Yoga that I once attended back in 2011. Using only my memories, some google research and sheer enthusiasm my aim is to take the gathered crowd from passive, attentive listening to arm waving, unself-concious hilarity in 15-20 minutes.

I disclose my lack of thorough training at the start, then lead the participants through a carefully calibrated sequence of exercises, moving from gentle breathing, to simple hand gestures, to 'Haha' sounds, then from unconvincing forced chuckles to collective giggles and finally rapturous, full volume belly laughs, indistinguishable from the real thing. A fake lesson in fake laughter.

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

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