smileasana200 Everyone loves to smile, laugh and feel happy—but do we make the choice to do it often enough? That’s right it can be a choice. Too often we think that something outside of us needs to trigger the smile, the laugher or the joy. Maybe it’s possible to inspire our self to do it from the inside.

Are you sitting right now? If not put yourself in a seated upright position. Begin to deepen your breath and feel yourself drop inside. Just like any yoga asana (pose) attention to alignment and to the subtlety of energy flow is important.

Bring your awareness to your mouth and jaw and notice if you are holding unnecessary tension there by gritting your teeth or pressing your tongue against the roof of the mouth or the back of the teeth. Let the jaw hinge open and allow the tongue to float back toward its root while your lips lightly touch. This will keep the back of the throat open so that there is a clear avenue between the heart and the mouth.

Then as you are pressing your sitting bones downward (feel your base) allow the corners of the mouth to lift slightly upward. This is not a big action—think of a “Buddha” smile.

How does it feel to do this? Have you noticed subtle changes from this simple action? It’s as if there are strings that connect the mouth to the heart; so as we lift the corners of the mouth the strings open the doors of our heart and our beautiful heart energy can flow freely inside of us and out into the world.

This is a choice we can make for ourselves at any moment of our day. Like any muscle the more we use it the stronger and more toned it gets. Imagine without any effort moving through your life with a little, sweet smile on your lips and your heart open to the beauty of your life.

Stacey Bell is a yoga instructor, Alexander teacher and Craniosacral therapist in the Greenwich, CT area.  Her love of movement and stillness inform her teaching, her practice and her life!  In addition, Stacey is practicing the yoga of motherhood with daughter Chloe Skye Elder.