LAUGHTER YOGA with Gavin Parish


(for Gavin Parish, a hero)

At first it’s fake,
contrived laughter,
but through reiteration
we collectively unroll our defences
like shedding clothes.
A warm surge kicks in
tantamount to a transfusion.
We are buoyed by eye contact
knowing this is a safe environment
for people,disabled by angst,
interminable ill health
in which to lose accumulating misery.
Our guru from his wheel chair
(result of an accident!)
drives the merriment
and through techniques
learnt from India,
makes from his handiwork
a bevy of “”giggling children.””
its all a tonic,
opportunity to “let go!””



  As a regular participant in the YOGA LAUGHTER session organised by the Amitabha Hospice in Avondale Auckland and run by Gavin Parish   I can frankly state that it is a very beneficial to all people at the session. It not only produces joy, high-spiritedness but leaves everyone wanting more of the experience on a frequent basis. Patients at the sessions are especially uplifted. This is penetrating therapy and would greatly help many lonely, depressed or seriously unwell people in the community.


About Gavin Parish

Gavin Parish is a living legend at the Amitabha Hospice for very good reasons. Not only does he ignite healthy laughter for groups of volunteers and patients but is readily available for this purpose at short notice. Gavin, a former fire-fighter suffered a devastating accident nine years back on a motorbike. He spent months recovering in the Auckland Spinal Rehabilitation unit at Otara .He has been confined to a wheelchair ever since. But something significant took place, when a friend took him to a laughter yoga class as a break from rehabilitation. “They just accepted me as part of their team.” stated Gavin “and made me feel good every week.” Over time, Gavin trained as a laughter yoga instructor. He now runs sessions at the Amitabha Hospice in Powell Street, Avondale Auckland and also at other community meetings.


His therapy is magical, creating a sense of belonging among people who are too often isolated in their daily lives and seriously disabled because of major health issues. Although laughter yoga is initially simulated Gavin is able through his techniques, experience and ability to launch playful interaction to bring   people into a “real laughter “situation releasing their endorphins naturally. Joop VanHerk, the group’s coordinator at Amitabha says the patients enjoy “Laughter yoga as it distracts from their pain!” Laughter yoga began in Mumbai India in 1995 and has been a phenomena ever since. As the adage goes” “laughter is the best medicine”” and as we say as volunteers or Patients at the Centre, this message is hard to dispute.




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