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The Gangs Issue

Laughter Yoga

I was in Mumbai a little while ago, so I visited the Laughter Yoga club. That's this type of yoga where they meet in the park every morning and basically have group hysterics. It's not a club or anything-it's just a bunch of guys who get together and...
VICE Staff
Κείμενο VICE Staff
1.10.06

Destiny Church followers congregate in a park in Auckland. Photo by Chris Skelton

I was in Mumbai a little while ago, so I visited the Laughter Yoga club. That's this type of yoga where they meet in the park every morning and basically have group hysterics. It's not a club or anything—it's just a bunch of guys who get together and go "HAW HAW HAW." There is a ringleader who leads the group, so the group will be going "HAW HAW HOOOOO, HAW HAW HOOOOO," for a while, and then he will shout, "Draw the pen!" and they will all switch into the exercise called "Draw the pen." Meaning that they will loop their right hands around as though they were writing in cursive and they will shout, "doodle doodle doo. doodle doodle doo." Then their leader—who in this case was a man of about 60 with white hair and a barrel chest—will shout, "Dusting the house!" and everyone will set about dusting an imaginary house while going "HAW HAW HAW! HAW HAW HAW! HAW HAW HAW!" Yeah, it was pretty neat. I did a couple of the exercises with them—pitching the ball, flagging the hands. Afterwards I interviewed some of the guys. Mostly the poorest, oldest, dumbest guys came forward while the college professors hung back and watched, so I got interviews about how Laughter Yoga cures cancer. At the end, I sat down with the guy who developed it, who happens to be a medical doctor. He wears one black shoe and one white one to symbolize that we shouldn't take things too seriously. He told me which questions to ask him, so I rolled with it and did as he said, and he explained to me that your happy chemicals are released when you fake laugh the same as when you real laugh, and that a big part of the yoga, in addition to the laughter, is just being up early in the morning, out in the park, moving around. Then he stared me in the eye and laughed for about 30 seconds. Yeah, so, pretty cool. VICE STAFF