It’s More Dynamic
Marrying meditation, breathing and relaxation exercises with gentle movement and visualisation, sophrology is a more physical and dynamic form of meditation. A more accessible form of mindfulness, it also has no spiritual connection (unlike traditional meditation), making it adaptable for everyone. “Where meditation is about silence and stillness, sophrology incorporates physical movements, visualisation and is guided,” Dominique explains. She says that knowing you’re going to be taken through certain steps in a session can be easier than traditional mindfulness, and gives you something to focus on.
There’s Nothing New Here
Sophrology may seem like the latest wellness trend, but the concept was coined in the 1960s by Alfonso Caycedo, a Colombian neuropsychiatrist. He was studying medicine in Spain after the Civil War, searching for a way to treat traumatised war victims with minimal drug use. He spent decades studying yoga, Buddhist meditation, Japanese Zen and hypnosis, ultimately bringing all four modalities together to create sophrology as it’s known today.
The Focus Isn’t Just On The Present
A sophrology session is similar to guided meditation, but Dominique says it’s about being more conscious and aware of the physical body. Where traditional meditation encourages you to focus on the present, sophrology also encourages you to transform your relationship with the future and the past, all in all making it a more active way to engage with the present.
You’ll Need An Open Mind
Forget chanting and incense – a sophrology session is a little more active. An example exercise involves closing your eyes, breathing in, and holding your breath for a few seconds, while tensing all the muscles in your body. Then, as you exhale, release all the muscles and let go, allowing the body and mind to slow down. Other exercises involve belly breaths and visualisation exercises. The idea is not to supress your feelings but consciously let them go and redirect them, using physical movement and the breath.
Positivity Is Encouraged
“You can think of sophrology as an evolution of meditation where you learn to tap into your resilience to deal with life’s challenges, ultimately creating balance and happiness,” explains Dominique. “Sophrology engages both the mind and body so you can better manage stress, anxiety, sleep, productivity and mental performance. Regular practice teaches you to become more mindful of your needs, strengths, limits and capabilities so you can better manage life’s challenges and find room to create more happiness.”
It’s Already Popular In Europe
Sophrology may be new to the UK’s wellness world, but the practice is already used on the continent to boost mood, happiness, confidence and performance. It’s offered to children in Swiss and French schools, features in the Geneva police force’s training programme, and has a celebrity following – including wellness authority Arianna Huffington and the French rugby team. French President Emmanuel Macron recently suggested sophrology sessions should be part of the country’s healthcare system and sessions are frequently covered by Swiss health insurance companies, too.
You’ll Notice A Sharper Mind
More goal-oriented than other types of mindfulness, sophrology’s unique approach is designed to bring you into the alpha brainwave state. In this state, the body achieves complete relaxation yet the mind is clear and fully alert – it’s precisely this state that conditions the mind to become calmer, sharper and more resilient. “Sophrology is a great performance tool to help people prepare for important situations such as presentations and interviews, where people are nervous or lack confidence,” Dominique explains. It’s for this reason that the practice is also popular with professional athletes.
Use It To Tackle Burn-Out
“People who suffer with anxiety, sleeplessness and stress are the three main types of clients I see,” Dominique says, who also claims just one session of sophrology can help you feel calmer, more in control and able to let go. “The more you practice, the more results you get, but just ten minutes a day is all you need.”
It’s Easy To Get Started
“In an ideal world, a guided session is the best place to start, so you can master the technique and then practice on your own,” Dominique says. “As this isn’t feasible at the moment, we’re running free sessions on our Instagram account @BeSophroLondon throughout April and May – these will range from managing mental wellbeing to calming fear and boosting productivity. If you want to delve a little deeper, try an online course or webinar – we run a free 45-minute webinar and also offer a longer, 15-day course.” Dominique’s book, The Life-Changing Power of Sophrology, is a great introductory tome designed for those who want to look into the background of the practice and dig into the rationale behind the techniques.
For more information visit Be-Sophro.com.
*Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programmes.