I love the idea that smiling is used as a healing and meditation practice by many ancient cultures. Taoists believe that holding a smile on your face and directing it inwards towards your organs and inner body, is the key to good health and longevity.
Traditional Balinese healers know that a smile washes away bad energy and recommend smiling meditation as a simple way to calm the mind and bring health to the soul. The inspirational Thich Nhat Hanh has always encouraged us to smile as part of our daily practice for a more peaceful world, and as an essential ingredient in any walking meditation.
How to smile on the inside:
I was first introduced to the Taoist exercise called the “inner smile” about 15 years ago. I was studying with an awesome qi gong and Taoist instructor who had spent many years living in China.
Each week we were guided to smile on our face, really feel the smiling energy and then imagine ( in our minds eye ) sending the smiling energy into each of our organs. Slowly and deliberately breathing the smiling energy fully into each organ. We spent at least 5 minutes allowing each organ to receive the smiling energy before moving onto the next. It was calming and an easy way to feel relaxed on the inside. You’d be surprised how tense and tight organs can get.
Now, this might sound super easy, however some weeks – to my surprise – some organs simply refused to receive a smiling breath. The stubborn organ ( with attitude ) generally was tight, hard and tense. It obviously needed relaxing along with a little bit of attention and love. To achieve success, I would place my hands on the organ (for a stronger connection) continue to breathe and smile into the stubborn body part; until it finally softened and received the well-being benefits of the smiling energy.
I must say this simple little exercise taught me alot about my organs as I became more and more intimate with them as each week passed. If the organ being stubborn was the kidney then I made sure I drank more water and used the smiling energy to dissolve any trapped fear in my kidneys. If the organ being stubborn was the liver I ate clean simple food – giving the liver a rest and focused on using the smiling energy to dissolve any trapped anger in my liver.
A few extra yoga twists were also useful in giving the organs a gentle detox and bringing fresh blood flow.
Smile into your organs and dissolve negative emotions:
In case you don’t know Chinese medicine believes there is a connection between your organs and emotions. By simply giving your organs mindful attention and filling them with more healthy energy such as smiling and breathing (more oxygen and blood flow), you are in effect shifting emotional garbage trapped in your organs. I can honestly say it does work.
Following is a simple explanation as to the emotions linked to your main organs.
1: Smile into your liver and dissolve anger:
Smiling into your liver can not only help dissolve anger and resentment but greatly assist with the decision making process. Allow yourself to forgive, accept and feel kindness.
2: Smile into your kidneys and dissolve fear:
Feel safe, secure and protected in life again. Breathe a smile into your kidneys, feel them soften on the inhalation and release fear and stress on the exhalation.
3: Smile into your lungs and dissolve sadness or depression:
Fill your lungs on the inhale and totally empty them on the exhale. Allow fresh new air to fill your lungs as you inhale the smiling energy. Feel them relax and release any feelings of sadness and depression.
4: Smile into your stomach and dissolve anxiety:
The stomach can often be a place where we hold lots of worry. Smiling into your stomach can greatly help bring you into the present moment releasing worry and anxiety about the past and future. Continue breathing the smiling energy into your stomach until it feels totally relaxed. A relaxed stomach means improved digestion and a calmer you.
5: Smile into your heart and dissolve hate and impatience:
Smiling into your heart can help shift cruelty, hurt, hate and impatience. Feel your heart fill with joy, kindness and compassion with each breath cycle.
6: Smile into any body part:
Of course you can enjoy a quick 5 minute smiling break by breathing into any part of your body that is overworked, fatigued or stressed. Smile into your eyes if they are tired. Smile into your jaw if you are clenching your teeth. Smile into your shoulders if they are hunched and tight. Smile into your feet if they are tired. A smile encourages you to soften, release and improve energy flow.