Enhance Your Health & Wellbeing With Inner Smile Meditation

When we extend love and kindness, which can be as simple as smiling, we not only help others feel loved and cared for, we feel a sense of inner peace and contentment as well. This article explore the benefits of the ancient Taoist technique of inner smile meditation.
Amy Pattee Colvin is a meditation teacher and author.
inner smile meditation
Amy Pattee Colvin is a meditation teacher and author.

Insight Timer teacher Amy Patte Colvin explains the ancient Taoist practice of inner smile meditation.

The Easy But Powerful Way Of Inner Smile Meditation

Have you ever noticed the effect of a smile? When we smile, joy and wellbeing radiate from our eyes and connects us with others, regardless of spoken language. When we extend love and kindness, which can be as simple as smiling, we not only help others feel loved and cared for, we feel a sense of inner peace and contentment as well.

Smiling is a universal language that extends compassion to others, without the need or use of words. It offers positive energy and speaks directly to the hearts of others. When we radiate a genuine smile, it opens our heart chakra and stimulates warmth deep within us. When done consciously, smiling can be literally healing.

Smiling Instead Of Frowning

Life regularly offers both exhilaration and exhaustion. Maintaining an emotional and energetic balance while you navigate daily obligations is essential. One way to stay balanced is by noticing throughout the day whether you’re smiling or frowning. And if you’re frowning, take a moment to smile instead.

Put an easy smile on your face for a minute. Relax your facial muscles, and then gently raise the corners of your lips. Intentionally separate your eyebrows to smooth your forehead. Think of someone or something that brings joy to your heart. Notice how you feel when you do.

Now frown for a moment; furrow your brow and clench your jaw. Notice the energetic and emotional shift. Imagine the effect of this emotional and energetic shift on your entire body, including your organs.

Read more: Life is full of both joys and sorrows. It may not feel all that balanced between the two, in part because of the relentless influence of our negativity bias. Mark Bertin reminds us how to practice joy and gratitude in difficult and stressful times.

The Benefits Of Inner Smile Meditation

In ancient times, Taoists knew about the power of healing love generated from a smile. They knew how the eyes transmit this energetic force outward to others. They also knew, more importantly, how the energy of the smile, when turned inward, can help us heal ourselves.

An ancient Taoist technique that helps us stay grounded in the present moment and provides a burst of positive healing energy is often referred to as the inner smile meditation. The powerful psychological and physiological effects of this practice cascade through the body and improve physical and mental health, and awaken compassion.

Smiling & Hormones

Research suggests that smiling reduces the stress hormones adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol. Smiling activates hormones that maintain blood pressure, improve respiration, accelerate healing, stabilize the mood, reduce pain, and relax muscles.

Conversely, frowning may increase stress and stress-related hormones. Frowning activates hormones that increase blood pressure, weaken the immune system, increase susceptibility to infections, and exacerbate depression and anxiety.

Read more: Overcome the common habit of focusing on the negative over the positive with these exercises for negativity bias.

Smiling & Healing Energies

Early Taoist texts suggest that maintaining a constant inner smile ensured health, happiness, and long life.

When you smile to yourself, you become your own best friend. Connecting with this inner friend helps you feel grounded, settled, and stable no matter what else goes on around you. Finding harmony within yourself cultivates contentment.

Unfortunately, as we encounter stress in daily life, negative emotions—such as fear, anger, sadness, worry, and impatience—increase. When these negative emotions run wild, our health and vital life-force (qi) are compromised.

Read more: In Hindu, Ayurvedic, Hatha Yoga and Tantric Yoga traditions, this life force is called prana. Learn more about what prana is and how to feel it.

Simple practices, such as inner smile meditation, help you maintain and sustain health and wellness over the long-term. Use this technique to transform negative energies into positive ones.

When you become conscious of what your organs do for you, take time to create a loving relationship with them. Feel and express gratitude to these faithful servants who keep us alive and healthy despite our sometimes unkind treatment towards them.

In other words, it is valuable to pay attention to your organs rather than taking them for granted. Without their proper functioning you will eventually become sick and emotionally imbalanced.

Through inner smile meditation, you’ll find ways to connect to the profound love generated from your smile. You can then direct this smiling energy to your organs, which in turn melts away the negative energy and promotes healing. The more you practice, the more you’ll begin to understand how your organs contain the essence of your emotional energies.

A Traditional Inner Smile Meditation Practice

Below is a variation of the traditional inner smile practice, which helps you direct the energy of a smile into any part of your body.

You can either read through the instructions and meditate on your own or listen to Amy’s guided audio version of the inner smile meditation in you’ll practice internalizing the smile, then directing the essence of the inner smile to various organs.

  1. Inner Smile Meditation Amy Pattee Colvin 8:27

1. Sit at the front edge of a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Close your eyes and feel connected to the earth through your feet. Your spine is straight yet relaxed, and your tailbone extends to the ground with the crown of your head reaching up into the sky.

If it is helpful, stretch your neck side to side, or roll your shoulders before you get settled.

Smile gently. Let your lips feel full and smooth as they spread to the side and lift just slightly. This smile requires nothing extreme; instead, it is just the kind of thing that relaxes your entire face and head.

Breathe fully, deeply, and slowly. While wearing this smile, consciously relax other areas of the body that may be holding tension.

2. Bring your attention to the space between your eyebrows. Visualize energy settling there like a warm shallow pool. Imagine settling into that pool, feeling comfortable and warm, slowly let your awareness sink deeper into the center of your head as if you are in a cozy and comfortable cave.

Then, imagine a smiling face in front of you—it could be your face or that of a loved one. Don’t put too much effort into picking just the right face; you can choose another one the next time you practice this meditation.

3. Draw the smile and the joyful energy it portrays into this space in the center of your head. Let your forehead relax. Let your face and body relax. Feel the warm and joyous essence from this smile begin to cascade through your entire body. If you’d like, visualize the smile surrounded by warm golden light. This light warms you on the inside as the smile moves through your body.

4. Visualize this smiling, warm energy moving throughout your entire body. It comforts and heals your muscles, joints, and internal organs. Take your time. Visualize each organ being soothed by this smiling, warm energy.

5. After you have spent time connecting with and smiling into your organs and muscles, notice the sensations in your body. Perhaps you feel energized, content, warm. Allow the smile to drift where it wants, or direct it to any place you’re feeling discomfort.

6. Continue visualizing the warm and golden essence of that smile within your body. Bring your awareness back to any place you may have missed, or any place you’d like to linger, and let it flow over and through your organs and soft tissue. Imagine this warm, smiling energy spreading throughout your entire body.

7. When you’re ready to bring the meditation to a close, anchor this feeling of peace and contentment into your body by placing your hands over your heart. Take several deep breaths and simply relax. Release any visualizations, or thoughts, and simply be, without thinking or doing.

Maintain a balance between effort and relaxation. If you notice a sensation of stress or exertion, relax, take a few deep breaths, then return to the practice. If your mind wanders, know this is human and totally okay. Gently and kindly bring your awareness back to your breath, body, and smile.

Take this smiling energy with you throughout your day. Observe your levels of internal awareness and calm as stress and anxiety ebb and flow during daily life.

Inner smile meditation is a simple practice that you can use at any time. No matter where you are, if you find yourself sliding into a negative mindset or feel physical discomfort, imagine the smiling energy in front of you again and draw that energy into your body.

Explore more free guided Taoist meditations.

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