If you think meditation and mindfulness sound good but struggle to engage every time you try them, you might find you react more positively to sophrology. This practice involves a dynamic form of meditation that can be a better fit for people who struggle to clear their mind while sitting still.
For more information we spoke to Dominique Antiglio, a sophrologist at BeSophro clinic. BeSophro is hosting free sophrology sessions on its Instagram account throughout April, so if you like what you read below you can try it for yourself. The schedule is as follows:
- 21st April, 8pm: Instant Calm
- 23rd April, 8.15pm: Positivity in Chaos
- 26th April, 8pm: Embrace The Future
- 28th April, 8pm: Grounding Here And Now
- 30th April, 8.15pm: From Solitude To Gratitude
What is sophrology?
Sophrology is a type of dynamic meditation that is designed to help you focus on the present. It is different from other meditative practices because it engages both the mind and body, which allows you to enter into a state of full relaxation more quickly and easily.
It is a great performance tool that connects you with your motivation to perform and helps you prepare for important events, whether it’s a work presentation or a race.
It involves a combination of breathwork techniques, relaxation, gentle body movements, meditation and visualisation techniques 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. This peak state conditions the mind and body to become less stressed, calmer, sharper and more focused and resilient.
How can it benefit people in their everyday lives?
Sophrology is really beneficial as an everyday support tool to help those who are constantly on the go, and are prone to taking on the stresses and pressures that surround their busy lives. Practised daily, it can be an incredibly helpful method to support mental health, especially during times of high stress and fear.
The routine of life and work can be overwhelming and tiring, so the deep relaxation element of sophrology will help your body and mind to de-stress and recuperate, which is really important in preventing burn-out. With regular practice, sophrology helps you to become more mindful of your needs, limits, strengths and capabilities, so you can create more happiness in daily life.
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Top sports stars such as tennis player Yannick Noah and golfer Sergio García have attributed some of their success to sophrology. Why do athletes use it?
Athletes place great focus on keeping their nerves and anticipatory anxiety – a fear or deep worry about something imminent like an important match or race – in check, as they know this can make or break their performance.
This is why they implement management systems like practising sophrology. The mental and emotional preparation is a standard part of athletes’ routines and they stick to it as rigorously as they stick to their physical fitness programmes, training schedules, nutrition plans and recovery processes. In this way, they become more resilient and can activate what they’ve learned as and when situations arise.
Do you need to practise it every day, or just around pressure situations?
It’s beneficial to practise it every day – that’s how good habits form. Practice takes just ten minutes and is designed to fit into your daily routine. The techniques can also be practised as and when you need it during those important situations.
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Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.