Smile if You Wanna

You’ve been in class before…

…someone telling you to lunge deep into the forward knee, and to extend your arms in equal opposition…

…you feel the sweet dripping down your face, accumulating in your armpits and ass-crack…

…you’re desperately holding in a fart that’s trying to burst forth…

…then the teacher tells you to lunge a little deeper

…now, they tell you to smile

Nothing elicits a growl from my subconscious like a directive to “smile”.

And, now that I think about it, 1 of the 3 times I’ve been yelled at by a student in class was the result of me telling her to smile.

I’m not sure anyone likes to be told to smile, but sometimes we all need to hear it.

Not sure if you’re the same?

Fact is – sometimes I need a little reminder.

Another fact is, if you force a smile for as little as :16 seconds your body starts to send a distinct and powerful signal to your psyche telling it that it’s happy.

The body tells the psyche it’s happy.

Interesting shit, huh?

Some social psychologists proved this concept with a very simple set of experiments…

Asking study participants to hold a pencil in between their teeth without letting their lips touch, they surreptitiously forced them to smile.

Cheek swabs before and after found a distinct difference in their body chemistry initiated with as little as :16 seconds of forcing the equivalent of a ‘shit-eating grin’.

The only trick being – you gotta actually do it.

Knocking your mind out of an entrenched loop of stress, depression, anger or sadness can be difficult to do, especially because the first step is to be mindful of the current pattern that’s taken root.

Catch the loop, and insert a ‘tool’ to disrupt the loop. 

In this instance, the tool being a big ‘ol shit eating grin purposefully spread across your face, especially when you don’t want to be smiling.

Simple, not easy.

Try it when you encounter set-backs, hiccups, and dip-shits. 

Don’t worry if you look a little like a lunatic while you’re standing in line this holiday season, or waiting for results in a Dr.’s office – just do it…

Who knows – you might even inspire someone else to crack a sliver of a grin.

Once you master this tool, feel free to layer it on with others – holding your hands up high for 2 minutes, forcing a smile and Hoffing the whole time that you do can be a very powerful, multi-tool practice not just when you’re running late for a high-stress situation.

Good luck, Yogis!



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Justin “Jud” Kaliszewski is the best-selling yoga teacher and renowned creator of Outlaw Yoga. Author. Artist. Adventurer. Take his class NOW at and Find his writing and art at and his presence all over the internet – for an outlaw, he’s shockingly easy to get ahold of.