A chance to try Sophrology

A chance to try Sophrology

If you want to experience a short, simple introductory Sophrology session or you are looking for a straightforward practice to slow your mind and increase your focus and concentration then try this video.

Normally, a full mind-body session, whether it’s individual or in a group, will include a practice of approx. 30 mins. Individual sessions are always tailored to individual needs and goals, but this short video provides a small taster and introduces some of the basic principles of Sophrology.

My experience of Sophrology

My experience of Sophrology

Looking after your own wellbeing can be a bit of a minefield.  If you open yourself up to all the advice out there and try to follow the regimes and tips that promise to change your life, I’m pretty sure you’d end up falling over from the stress of doing it all.  I guess the most important thing is that we cherry pick what is right for us. How do you do that though? How do you know what you really need?

For me this is what Sophrology has given me: a way to listen to my mind and body and the dialogue between the two.  I always knew that if I exercised I felt more positive.  I always knew that if I did yoga then my busy mind would calm down but I never really stopped to think too much about it.  For that reason I would exercise for a while and then stop because I got too busy.  I would go to the odd yoga class and it felt great but I never built up a regular practice because I didn’t really make the link to what it meant for me.

Through Sophrology practice I have learnt to not only better understand the link between my mental state and what I experience in my body  (and vice versa), but I have also learnt simple techniques to use my breath and body to directly impact my state of mind.  This isn’t just calming it down when it’s running at a hundred miles an hour it’s also giving it a kick start when it needs one. 

When I first started practicing Sophrology I liked the dynamic nature of the practice.  I liked that there was no sitting for long periods watching my thoughts coming and going.  I had tried that with Mindfulness and my experience was that I would be completely distracted and the rush of thoughts I experienced, if anything, completely overwhelmed me rather than relaxed me.  So to be guided to move and breathe in different ways and to combine the movements and breathing and to do all this standing and sitting, rather than laying down (when invariably I would be asleep within 3 mins) really suited me.  My experience from early sessions was that I would come away feeling somehow lighter, I had more space in my mind and felt I had more energy.  This was enough to make me curious to do more.

When I think now about what I get from regularly doing Sophrology however, it has moved on from my early experience.  I should add that when I say regular practice, I’m not talking about an hour or so every day.  Some days I only do 5 mins, some days it will be a simple breathing exercise when I think of it, other days I may do 20 mins or so but it’s rarely longer than that. Sophrology has, from the beginning, given me the awareness and tools to physically release tension from my body.  Now though, I can recognise the link between what’s going on in my body with my emotions and thoughts.  For example: being tired from juggling too much usually comes with tension in my jaw and neck.  Fear of something that’s coming up comes with a ball of anxiety in my solar plexus Sadness linked to something that’s happened, usually comes with a heavy feeling in my legs.  I can, and regularly do, calm my mind from racing away with itself just by using my breath.  I can bring my focus to the present but more than that I can remember with my mind and body positive situations from the past that can change how I feel about something that’s worrying me now.  I can reframe something that feels problematic to be objective and realistic.  Furthermore, I have a deeper and altogether new sense of myself and how I live my life.  I am able to link with the meaning that I’ve chosen for my life in a way that I feel it, not just think about it. 

In practical terms, I can focus on a piece of work for longer than I ever could; I can actively calm my mind when I need to; I can clear my mind when I start to feel overwhelmed.  I can get back to sleep when I wake at 4am and my mind is racing. I can calm the fear that bubbles up in me when I anticipate something that I’m worried about; I can keep perspective more easily and when things feel tough and I can connect with why I’m doing something and find my resilience. 

This is my experience.  If I asked others who practice regularly to describe their experience, it will be different.  That’s why I love Sophrology, it’s not one size fits all.  Your current experience and your goals will drive your practice.  Sophrology doesn’t replace other exercises and activities but it does allow you to tune into yourself in a straightforward and meaningful way to truly hear what you need.

What is Sophrology?

What is Sophrology?

What is it?

Sophrology is a guided practice, using a combination of breathing, relaxation, gentle body movement, meditation and visualisation techniques.  Sophrology is practiced in a state of dynamic relaxation, which means that the body is totally calm yet the mind is fully alert. It is designed to connect your awareness of your mind and body, resulting in a sense of calm and balance.

Why would I do it?

Sophrology can allow you to more easily access your resilience, confidence, focus, positivity, balance and energy.  It can aid sleep and help relieve stress. Shown to be particularly beneficial before events, like exams, presentations and interviews, to help with nervousness or lapses in confidence, it also works more generally, if you’re feeling overwhelmed with stress or pressure. 

What happens in a Sophrology session?

You will be guided through an induction, designed to move you to a state of dynamic relaxation. You will then be guided through a simple practice, which will include a combination of techniques from breathing, movements, short meditations and visualisations (you can expect some but not all of these techniques to be included in any one session).

You will finally be invited to talk about what you experienced during the practice.

A little history of Sophrology

Widely followed in France, Sophrology was created by Professor Alfonso Caycedo, a psychiatrist and neurologist. It is a unique blend of Eastern philosophies combined with practices developed by Western Science.  It was initially used only in the medical world, but is now used in education to help students manage exam stress; in maternity to positively prepare for birth; amongst sports people to prepare for big events; in hospital and generally as support for dealing with anxieties, pain and insomnia. It is also used in the corporate world for stress-management and for the prevention of (and recovery from) burn out.