Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.
Thich Nhat Hanh
A smile in any language is still a smile.
Years ago, I took a course in Taoist abdominal massage. The teachings from the master included the practice of smiling to each of your organs. Smile to the liver, the spleen, the kidneys, etc.
When I passed unassumingly by a mirror in my house and caught a glimpse of myself without a smile I was hit by the shocking revelation that I better smile! A smile can absolutely change the vibration, beauty, and energy of how you appear to others and how you feel within yourself. From my reflection I looked older, unhappy, and way too serious.
I decided to smile even when I wasn’t feeling like it. While I sat for meditation, I smiled. When I did an asana I could feel the tension in my face until I changed my expression with a smile. I brought my simple awareness to my class and asked my students to smile while in their posture. It immediately brought a playful easy and fun change to the classroom.
A smile will gain ten more years of life.
How do women deal with aging? Facelifts, botox injections, skin peels, new injections of this and that. This will improve a face with less wrinkles but cannot hide the inner quality that is missing, no matter how much is paid for a great facelift, ultimately as you age your face will reflect outwardly what is going on with you from the inside.
As I am growing on my journey through life; Always with yoga by my side, I know that the true beauty that shows up in the later years of life will radiate from the light of happiness and peace that I have cultivated knowing that this is everlasting beauty. When Yoga and meditation started to show me how I could be thrown around like the wind, I realized that instead of focusing on the outside, I better start on the inside. Meditation offers me a key to see when my emotions are coloring my state of mind and hatha yoga allows me to shed tension from what might be causing unwanted stress that is always reflected in facial tensions.
While practicing Inverted postures such as Headstand, Shoulderstand, and Halasana you will notice how your facial muscles have to relax. I can never tense my face while doing inversions and I love the image of increased blood flow, and turning all my facial muscles upward.
Yoga is a serious practice as is meditation, but it is a serious practice of fun, joy, lightness, and play. Like all aspects of your yoga practice, remember to smile. It’s free, it’s contagious, and if you do it long enough you will feel those weak facial muscles starting to tone.