The Inner Smile: A Taoist Exercise for Relaxation and Healing

By Isa Herrera, MSPT

attractive senior woman with her eyes closed in thought

Have you ever noticed that your mood can affect your physical well-being? Our bodies are intimately connected to our thoughts and emotions. If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, you’ll also start feeling it in your body. Maybe your heart rate will increase, you’ll get a headache, or you might feel tightness in your chest.

One way to counter negative thinking is to connect with our bodies in a positive way. One powerful and healing exercise that does just this is the Taoist Inner Smile. The Inner Smile is an exercise that uses the energy of happiness and love to communicate with our internal organs and pelvic floor muscles. This simple exercise can help improve organ function and promote relaxation throughout the body.

Ready to give it a try? Keep reading to learn more!

What Is the Inner Smile?

Isa Herrera - Inner Smile Exercise for Pelvic HealthThe inner smile is a type of inward meditation that Taoists developed in ancient China. It is said to be one of the most powerful exercises for relaxation and healing. 

The inner smile begins with the eyes. The eyes are the first organs to receive signals and can cause the organs and glands to accelerate their activity at times of stress or danger. When the eyes are relaxed, they activate the parasympathetic nervous system and cause the body to relax.

How Does It Work?
The inner smile increases chi (life force energy) throughout the body. It is said to balance yin and yang energies and promote harmony between mind, body, and spirit. The inner smile is particularly beneficial for women over 40 transitioning through menopause and peri-menopause. Many older women experience problems with their bladder control, sexual function, and overall emotional and psychological well-being during this time. 

However, regular practice of the inner smile has been shown to alleviate these symptoms by increasing blood flow, turning on the parasympathetic nervous system (relaxation nerves), and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles. 

How to Do the Inner Smile Exercise:

1) Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and your eyes closed.

2) Begin by smiling softly to yourself. Allow the corners of your mouth to turn up in a gentle curve, and then we focus on the eyes.

3) The eyes are the first organs to receive signals from the brain, and they can cause the organs and glands to accelerate their activity at times of stress or danger. When the eyes are relaxed, they activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which causes the body to relax. This relaxation has a ripple effect throughout the body, promoting improved organ function and overall health. As you continue smiling, let the happiness and love spread from your mouth to your eyes. Allow your whole face to soften and glow with warmth.

4) When you feel the energy of happiness and love in your eyes, begin imagining that energy moving down from your head, neck, shoulders, and pelvic floor to your toes.

5) Continue smiling as you imagine the energy of love moving through your significant organs: lungs, heart, liver, pancreas, spleen, kidney, bladder, [email protected], and adrenal glands. If there’s an organ that you want to focus on, do so by smiling into it for up to 1 minute. I like to smile at my bladder and pelvic floor so I spend time there.

6) As you imagine the energy moving through each organ, say silently or aloud, “I Love You,” “Thank You,” or any phrase expressing gratitude or appreciation.

7) When you have finished directing energy and good wishes to each organ in your body, sit quietly for a few moments and feel the peacefulness and harmony within you.”



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