This is an ancient meditation which has roots in both Taoist and Tibetan traditions and is used widely in martial arts- where its considered important to help create courage and flexibility.
Recent research -see 1) - shows a direct association between the physiological health of the heart and emotional states and how emotional stress can weaken the functioning of the heart- the inner smile is a meditative practice that can benefit your heath and well being
How does it work?
The heart is the most important organ in our body and is also the center of beauty, love, compassion and wisdom. Normally we open our hearts to what we like. This practice helps us open and strengthen our heart consciously, so we can live with an open heart, which is less dependent on an external event or a person. Smiling helps balance the emotional pressure we feel in our daily life.
When our heart is open we may be less fearful, have less anxiety, and be less judgemental of others. Our life will flow more easily. Our stress levels and health will improve-the Qi flows more easily and smoothly throughout the meridians and in turn this helps our organs and body functions become more harmonious
When to do it?
Its best to practice this daily for approx 15 minutes first thing in the morning, and better if you use a timer or alarm clock. Ideally find a place where you can be undisturbed. As you become more used to this you can practice the inner smile anywhere.
You can sit either in a chair or in a meditation position -whatever is comfortable. Lying down is not recommended - you may fall asleep!
If you like you can use a guided audio or some music that helps you feel relaxed
How to do it
Sit and be comfortable taking a few deep breaths, relax and just feel yourself in the present moment.
Then remember something that makes you smile - this can be anything that creates a feeling of joy and happiness inside your heart. It may be when you were in love, or a favourite animal or beautiful place you have visited. It does not matter what but allow a smile to spread on your face so your face is actually smiling. This in itself helps to open the heart as there are energetic pathways between your face and your heart. Feel how the smile feels and let your attention go inside you body to your heart and feel the smile there.
Then let go of the trigger or memory and just feel the smile –still smiling on your face and in your heart. Sit and enjoy how this feels. You may feel it spread through your body like golden warming rays of sunlight
You may like to direct the smiling energy to a particular place in your body or throughout the entire body. You can experiment with this.
You may find your mind wanders sometimes - that is ok–whenever you notice this happening come back to the smile.
If you practice this regularly every day for some weeks or even months you will notice profound changes in your life, your health and well-being.