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The Power of a Smile

We often hear "practice makes perfect". Well let me introduce you to "practice makes happy".

This week in our first Yoga for Anxiety session we practised the Taoist Smile, also known as inner smile meditation.

It was very interesting to share this practice with the students as it can be a very strange thing to experience when you do it for the first time.

"A smile is happiness you'll find right under your nose." -Tom Wilson

A lot of research have been done on the effects of smiling throughout the years. It might not be news to you when I say that research suggests smiling can "trick" your brain into happiness. I can see you rolling eyes a little but..bear with me on this one...

From dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins, smiling release a lot of very cool neurotransmitters into our body which all together can provide a sense a more calm and peace, helping to fight against day-to-day stress and anxiety. Amazing, right?

But what is a Taoist smile practice?

A guided meditation focusing on shaping a nice big grin on your face. Yes, that is it. A smile practice is actually about...well..smiling. Who would have thought?!

But think about it... how our brain tends to wander everywhere all day long. Asking our brain to focus on creating a nice warm big smile on our face might not seem difficult to start with...yet asking the brain to focus on this smile... observing the immediate physical sensations with the muscles of your face first, then moving into the inner vibrations our smile brings in addition..this might be a little more challenging.. and that is where mindfulness meets our smile. Nice to meet you!

We could see it as sending our physical smile through the layers of the body and sharing its effects inside out; activating warmth, comfort and kindness from within. Sounds great doesn't it?

Yoga for Anxiety is a 8-week in-person course run at Weeke Community Centre (Winchester, Hampshire, UK). From breathing exercises, mindful movements, to guided visualisation, this program is created to share multiple tools and techniques you can use to feel calmer and peaceful in every day life. First course started on January 20th 2022 ad additional dates will be posted soon. Don't hesitate to get in touch if you would like to know more

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