Smile Meditation

There are moments when we focus so much on our meditation practice that we neglect to develop a happy disposition. With the Breathe and Smile Meditation, you can pleasantly loosen up while still maintaining a clear, concentrated attention.

You can perform this meditation while lying down in Savasana, sitting on the floor, or in a chair. Give yourself ten minutes.

Choose a comfortable position for oneself, such as lying down or sitting. Become conscious of your body, paying attention to the areas that are in contact with the ground or your support. If you feel any discomfort in your body, acknowledge it without trying to ease it right away. Observe any related sensations and how they change as you breathe in and out. Take note of the areas of your body that are already at ease, relaxed, and comfortable.

Recognize how the breath naturally flows. Notice where in your body you are most aware of the movement of the breath. As air enters and exits the body, you could sense it at the nose. Alternatively, maybe you might feel it in your tummy or chest. Let your awareness rest for a few breaths wherever you sense it most strongly.

Imagine something or someone that brings a grin to your face next. Maybe it's your greatest friend, a pet, one of your children, a grandchild, or a stunning scene. Let your lips loosen up into a smile; you'll find that a smile releases a lot of tension in your face's muscles. Imagine that you are grinning from the bottom of your throat, across your chest, and into your abdomen. Spread the smile throughout your entire body. Imagine that area of your body relaxing into a grin if there's anything there that requires soothing.

Bring your attention back to the way your breath naturally occurs. Pay close attention to the out-breath, which is the portion of the breath linked to relaxation in particular. Feel yourself settling into a half-smile with each exhale. That soft smile you see on the Buddha's face is a half-smile. Breathe in, then half-smile out. Continue inhaling and grinning for several more breaths.

Imagine for a moment that the air you breathe originates from an immense ocean of love. You take love into yourself with every breath, and you release love back into the universe with every exhale. Breathe in love. Breathe out: love. Continue for several more breaths and then release it.