During the 1800s Western society moved into what has been called
“The Industrial Age”, an age of tremendous mechanical and electrical
strides that helped to automate many labor-intensive tasks.
Then, in the mid to late 1900s, we entered what was called “The
Information Age”, in which the development of computers, advanced
management practices, and decreased time to travel enhanced our
ability to store data, develop new products and solutions, and
achieve even more automation in industry and in our daily lives.
Now we are said to be in “The Knowledge Age”, in which we have
developed even more powerful tools for accumulating and accessing
information, analyzing and transforming data, and making it easier
for people to communicate, collaborate, and learn. We’re also
more connected physically because it’s become much easier and
cheaper to travel – not just across country, but all over the
As economic society has progressed, its emphasis has changed from
the purely physical and mechanical to the mental and informational.
Knowledge and knowledge workers are more important than ever.
We can draw a parallel to this progression when we look at
Within the western paradigm, breathing and energy practices over
the past century-plus have progressed from a purely physical
or mechanical emphasis to an approach which also incorporates
mental and psychological tools. In many cases, these mental and
psychological approaches have been borrowed from, or at a minimum
informed by, Eastern breathing and energy practices.
I often refer to the late 1800s through early 1900s as a kind of
“golden age” pf physical culture. Breathing exercises were one of
the cornerstones of programs typically recommended for enhancing
strength, health and vitality.
In these early days, the exercises were pretty much all
mechanical, and were designed to help people learn how to
breathe fully, open up their lungs, and develop the muscles
and connective tissues associated with breathing.
Breathing was also heavily emphasized in the performance of
exercises, ranging from walking to lifting weights.
These types of exercises can be invaluable, and are a great
foundation for an effective breathing and health practice. In
fact, I used mostly mechanical breathing and stretching exercises
to improve, then eventually rid myself of, a severe case of
However, once you have made progress in mechanical exercises and
methods, established your foundation, and experienced excellent
results – you invariably thirst for more.
In terms of progression, there are several different ways you
can go. One that I highly recommend – the “next level up”, so to
speak, in your breathing practice – is to begin to use your
Coupling breathing with specific types of visualization and
imaging can be extremely powerful, serving as the foundation for
incredible improvement in specific areas of your life.
It is also fun AND fascinating!
Fun because you are using a power you already possess – the
ability to daydream.
Fascinating, because the more you relax, let go and play around
with it, the better results you’ll get.
Here’s one of my favorite approaches: “Your Inner Smile”.
Inner Smile practice is an important approach in various types
of chi kung (qi gong) and meditation methods. It can actually
get pretty involved in some systems! I want to share a simple
“Inner Smile” technique you can start using right now.
First, take a minute or two to calm and steady your breathing.
Use box breathing (which we discussed a couple of tips ago),
or other form of counting, to help you extend your inhale
and exhale. Relax as you do this, don’t force anything. Let
your breathing relax your body.
Once you feel somewhat calm and relaxed, begin to breathe
specifically into your lower abdomen – your hara, or dan tien –
which is your physical center of gravity and also an important
Inhale into and out of this energy center, which is about
two inches below your navel and 1 to 2 inches under the surface.
Here’s a little trick: It often helps to imagine a golden energy
ball in that spot, twirling and radiating. If you concentrate
long enough, you will begin to feel warmth or other sensation
in that area.
Now, let’s get to the Smile. Once you’ve got that energy ball
twirling and spinning – at least in your mind’s eye – smile
into that spot.
That’s right, smile into it. Actually picture a smiley face
in your dan tien. I also recommend smiling for real – I’ve
found it’s very helpful to smile softly to yourself as you
smile into your body.
Let that smile radiate happiness, calm, contentment. Let it
radiate the feeling that you are OK – in fact, you are perfect
just the way you are. Let it radiate health and healing
throughout your body.
Your smile loves you unconditionally. Your smile gives you a
feeling of joy. Your smile gives you energy and confidence.
Feel your smile bathe your organs and every system in your
body in radiant healing energy.
I know this exercise seems a little out there. But trust me,
Try it out, and be sure to relax and have fun with it. Spend
3 to 5 minutes smiling into your dan tien. Put a little smile
on your face too. Then see how you feel.
I guarantee you will be in an elevated state.
Now, would you like to know more about this technique, plus
a way to amplify it? Like I said, it can get pretty
sophisticated….but I will share a couple of recommendations
that can really power this up for you.
See you in my next message. In the meantime, keep smilin’!
You Can Do It!
Karen Van Ness
“Transform Body Mind and Spirit with Dynamic Energy Exercise!”
P.S. Breathing is the direct and instantaneous way to tap into
the life force, the vital energy that flows through each of us.
Performed properly, deep breathing coupled with dynamic
exercises is a powerful method for accessing and flowing your
internal power: power for thinking, power for solving problems,
power for enhancing your health, and so much more.
Making a small investment of time each day, or every other day,
in dynamic energy exercises – like the ones I teach you in “The
Secret Power of Dynamic Energy Exercise Course, Volume II: The
Dynamic Energy Routine” – will instantly enhance your internal
energy and focus. To learn more, click here.
Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2014