Toronto-based photographer Meera Margaret Singh has come to explore and question the notion of how forced laughter gets 'real' during the process of Laughter Yoga. She will study and document the 'laughing yogis' of Bengaluru, which has 220 Laughter Clubs and is now known as the Laughter City.
For the last one month, Singh has been visiting two Laughter Clubs, in Basavanagudi and Jayanagar, every day. "Beginning with warm-up exercises, the ladies (at the Basavangudi club) start to laugh ho,ho, ha, ha, ha... She observes how slowly the forced laughter gets real at some point and then there is lightness in the air. Stimulated or real, laughter has the same benefits.
Held in parks, Laughter Yoga becomes a powerful and positive way to bring people together as well as connect with nature. This precisely is the reason, Singh says, why Bengaluru scores over other cities, "including Toronto. Here in Bengaluru, middle-aged and elderly people look at Laughter Yoga as a way to network with others who are also trying to be happy. Weather in the city is also conducive for such clubs to flourish. In Toronto we can't think of having a bunch of people laughing and bonding in the outdoors during winter," says Singh who also found people these groups to be inclusive. "Different religious communities laugh together. I imagine that any city would benefit from such outcomes."
Singhs project once completed will be turned into a video to be shown in galleries in Canada and beyond. Laughter City has also taught her an easy way to get her little boy to eat his breakfast. All it takes is for Singh to break into a simulated 'Ho 'Ho, Ho, Ha, Ha, Ha...' before long the little boy begins to laugh for real and eats his breakfast in a jiffy. Laughter has great benefits indeed!
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