What the F is sophrology?
The wellbeing practice is getting a big hype right now, so we spoke to an expert to ask: what’s sophrology all about?
Odds are you’ll have heard of it, being interested in the health and wellbeing side of things; maybe over a matcha latte or moon water, your friend will have mentioned it and you’ll have nodded along, not knowing exactly what it meant.
So, we’ve asked the questions for you…
WHAT IS SOPHROLOGY?
‘Sophrology is an evolution of meditation and mindfulness, that blends Eastern philosophies and Western science to tap into your resilience and strength to deal with life’s challenges, to create more balance and happiness,’ says Dominique Antiglio, sophrologist and founder of BeSophro.
‘It uses a combination of breathing, relaxation, gentle body movement, meditation and visualisation techniques to allow for a true mind-body connection to help enhance and improve both mental and physical health’.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
Helping to ‘relax, recharge and re-centre’, explains Antiglio, sophrology is for those ‘who want the best out of life’. It can aid sleep, boost energy levels and focus, and help relieve stress. Ultimately, teaching you how to enjoy the present moment.
It can be particularly beneficial before events, like presentations and interviews, to help with nervousness or lapses in confidence. Or, generally, if you’re feeling overwhelmed with stress or pressure.
‘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’, says Antiglio. ‘With regular practice, sophrology helps you become more mindful of your needs, limits, strengths and capabilities, so you can create more happiness in your life’.
HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN AROUND FOR?
Sophrology was developed by Colombian doctor Professor Alfonso Caycedo, a neurologist and Professor of Psychiatry in the 1960s. Since then, it’s been practiced in Switzerland and France; especially by athletes, including professional tennis players and rugby teams, using it to enhance their mental and physical performance.
WHAT HAS CAUSED THE SUDDEN SOPHROLOGY BOOM?
‘Mindfulness and meditation becoming more mainstream has really paved the way for sophrology,’ says Antiglio. ’It is seen as a natural evolution as it brings in a new level of conscious living not previously tapped into.’
Some of the interest is from people who struggle to meditate. While sitting still and focusing for long periods of time, especially at the end of a long and busy day, can be a challenge, sophrology has similar effects.
It’s also a multi-tasker, which is appealing in today’s non-stop society. Antiglio says: ‘It helps to overcome current challenges and deal with them more positively, while being an effective preventive and self-enhancement tool.’
HOW CAN PEOPLE PRACTICE SOPHROLOGY?
‘Sophrology is very easy to incorporate into daily life’, says Antiglio. ‘I practice it in between meetings, on the tube and in taxis. If I feel tense, just five minutes of simple breathing and relaxation techniques is enough to relax me’.
If you have a specific issue to address, a one-on-one session with a sophrologist would be ideal, whereas if you’re interested in generally improving your mental health and wellbeing, a group session is advisable.
Alternatively, practising alone and incorporating just 10 minutes daily will uncover profound changes.