Those of you who follow the blog know I try to meditate just for three minutes every day to keep my mum sanity in check. So when I recently heard about Sophrology – touted as the next step in meditation – I was intrigued to say the least. Sophrology is already gaining a lot of attention in the US and is huge in Europe and it’s about to make waves right here in the UK. Today I have Sophrologist expert Dominique Antiglio and founder of BeSophro – a company that is spearheading Sophrology in the UK – to shine a light on exactly what sophrology is and how it could potentially help us in this stressed out mumlife!
Can you explain exactly what sophrology is?
Sophrology is a well-being Practice that blends Eastern philosophies and Western science to tap into your resilient self. It uses breathing, relaxation, body awareness, meditation and visualisation techniques designed to help you connect with your resilience and improve your mental and physical health.
It allows you enjoy the present and move forward in a positive way. Sophrology involves a physical element with gentle body movements and exercises to allow for a true mind-body connection that lets us tap into the wisdom of our bodies. When we agree to listen, consciousness reveals itself through the body and mind.
And what are its benefits? What sort of things can it help with?
Sophrology is helpful for those who feel the need to relax, recharge, re-centre, and who want the best out of life for themselves and those around them. It can also help to improve the quality of your sleep, increase energy levels and focus, help you let go of anxieties, and to learn to enjoy the present moment. It is a great tool to you prepare for events i.e. presentations and interviews, where you are nervous or lack confidence too.
Whether you struggle with your emotions, stress, sleep, an overactive mind or a toxic relationship, it will help you reach a state of balance so you can positively use your energy for what truly matters to you. Sophrology helps you become more mindful of your needs, your limits, your strengths and capabilities so you can create more happiness in your life.
I believe it’s something every person should have to help them connect with their “superpower” and cope with life’s pressures. We all seem to have a lot of pressure from all aspects of life – the pressure to “have it all” and succeed in everything we do.
I’ve heard that sophrology is the new mindfulness is that true?
One of the principles in Sophrology states that we can decide how we are going to experience certain events even when we can’t change them. We are therefore responsible for our experience and how we respond to situations. The ability to take control of how we handle these situations and feel about outcomes is the key differentiator to mindfulness or meditation.
You can think of Sophrology therefore, as an evolution of meditation and mindfulness where you learn to tap into your resilience and strength to deal with life’s challenges and create more balance and happiness.
It is more dynamic than meditation and mindfulness. Life is busy, so a lot of people find it hard to sit still and meditate. Sophrology’s simple step-by-step approach adapts to different needs and abilities so that everyone can access a meditative state and enjoy the many other benefits the practice brings.
Can you share an example with us now of a sophrology exercise anyone can do?
Sophrology is a holistic practice, so we usually spend the first part of the session consulting so I can understand your strengths and possible difficulties. Once we have agreed on the aim of the session, I will tailor a simple Sophrology practice for you and guide you through it.
The practice gives you the ability to connect with your inner world and resources. You sit comfortably sit on a chair, with eyes closed and I guide you with my voice through a simple body scan so you can relax and connect with your body sensations. You might notice that you feel tense or are thinking too much, so we use a few specific breathing and simple tension-relaxation movements to shift the tensed state.
You are then ready to dive into a deeper practice which may involve positive visualisation (if we are preparing for an event) or standing with eyes closed whilst engaging in some gentle movements so you learn to connect to their body in a new and empowering way.
My Sophrology sessions involve a 12-step method that allows you to uncover specific aspects of your resilience and this something we tune deeper into with each session. Each client goes home with a recorded practice so they can do it 10 minutes a day and come back with more insight the following week.
What are your top tips for those looking to practice sophrology?
- If you practice Sophrology in the morning, it will help to put you in the best positive mindset for the rest of your day.
- To enhance your practice, create a private space at home or in the office with a comfy chair. You may wish to personalise your space with a photo of a loved one or have an item of sentimental value nearby to enhance the connection of the space to your inner world. You could also light a scented candle to create a sense of calm and tranquillity in your space.
- If you only have a sofa and a noisy family around you, don’t let it stop you! Secure the space so everybody is safe, plug in your headphones and start a guided practice.
- If the only 10 minutes you can find are during your commute to work, then start there and over time, it will help you find 10 minutes somewhere else in your day.
- Personally, I have a comfy chair in my light, airy and minimalist office where I love to sit and start my Sophrology meditation practice mid-morning. I usually have a cup of herbal tea nearby to drink when I finish too.
- I also practice in between meetings, and even on the Tube and in taxis – if I feel tense, just five minutes of simple breathing and relaxation techniques is enough to relax me instantly.
And where else can people go to find out more about it?
My website www.be-sophro.co.uk is a great resource for those who are new to Sophrology. We offer in-person (single and group) sessions, and Skype sessions for international or remote clients. We are launching a 21-Day online course soon so anyone will be able to practice Sophrology at home. Alternatively, my book The Life-Changing Power of Sophrology is out now via www.be-sophro.co.uk – it’s an accessible way to learn about Sophrology and includes an audio element so you can be guided through the practice if you are new to it.
Have you heard about Sophrology? Does it sound like something that you might like to try? Do leave a comment below.
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