Friday, July 29, 2011

Laughing Yoga

My friend Kevin Rodin (also known as Huyen's new swim teacher) told me that he and his wife Beth tried to go to laughing yoga in Kolkata. I was intrigued by the idea of laughing yoga and asked someone in Kolkata about it. This one guy told me how it was very healthy to laugh and that since Indian people don't laugh much, it was good to make oneself laugh in yoga class. When he told us this, my first thought was, "Indian people don't laugh a lot?". After he said that I started to notice that indeed, people didn't seem to laugh as much in India as in other places I've been. For example in Vietnam, everyone always seems to be laughing (except when they're stone faced on their motorbikes).

In Kolkata, we tried to find the laughing yoga and failed miserably for two hours. Perhaps the laughing yogis were watching us search for them and this inspired their laughing. Well, in Varanasi we signed up for regular yoga and it turned out to be a laughing yoga class. The guru was the weirdest dude I've met in a long time. Besides his dyed purple hair, he just had this comical look to match his big belly. I found myself giggling because all around his yoga studio were pictures of him featured in newspapers around the world. The pictures were clearly from a few years earlier when he was a tad bit trimmer. Anyway, he started to lead us in laughing yoga which was actually a lot of fun. We did thing like making funny faces and forcing ourselves to laugh. It wasn't too hard to make ourselves laugh though because everyone looked utterly ridiculous, especially the guru.

Just as we started to feel good and relaxed, a joke was played on us -- the guru said he had to go and had his assistant take over the class. His assistant, a girl, looked like she hadn't laughed since, well ever. She had the most serious look on her face and started to instruct us like a drill sergeant. Needless to say, there were no more laughs the rest of the class.