If you've ever taken a class with me, Grandmaster Wong, or any other Shaolin Wahnam instructor, you've doubtlessly heard this phrase hundreds of times. Smile from the heart...beautiful. Just thinking that phrase in my mind makes my Qi flow smoother, and I instantly relax. What is it about these four words that make them so powerful?
One of the prerequisites of genuine qigong practice is entering into a qigong state of mind. If you're wondering what this means, check out my other blog post I wrote that is specifically dedicated to that. When we enter a qigong state of mind, we are relaxed physically, mentally, and emotionally. From here, our energy starts to flow smoothly. If we've been training for some time it can start to flow very powerfully by simply entering this state. When we smile from the heart, it's the icing on the cake.
Smiling from the heart takes our relaxation to a deeper state and makes our practice much more effective. Apart from providing the benefit of opening up our chests, it instantly lightens our spirits. There's no shortage of research out there that shows how smiling makes your brain pump out the happy neurotransmitters- endorphins and their good friends serotonin and dopamine. Try it the next time you're stuck at your desk in the middle of a challenging day and you can't sneak away to practice. I guarantee it will lighten your mood.
If you suffer from depression and/or you find yourself wondering just how to do this, then take heart (pun intended)! Smiling from the heart isn't something that's done in any specific way, you just do it, however you are comfortable doing so. If it's hard at first, just do your best, and know that it's enough in that moment. Every time you do it, it gets easier. By the end of our 12-week qigong class, you'll see for yourself.