Is Sophrology The New Mindfulness?

Sophrology

Mindfulness is a term that has been thrown around for the past few years. While some are well-equipped to meditate for ten minutes a day in a bid to be more present, others struggle to employ rigorous self control after a long day at the office and a yoga class feels more like 60 minutes of torture rather than much needed relaxation. For the latter there is a new approach making waves in the UK and it’s called Sophrology.

While Sophrology might be relatively new to the UK, it has been around for years and is popular across the continent. For some, the mix of visualisation, positive thinking and breathing techniques might still feel a bit too similar to mindfulness practices, but if you’re au fait with a yoga class but haven’t quite mastered the art of meditating this could be worth looking into.

What is Sophrology?

The word Sophrology means the science of consciousness in harmony. Essentially it’s still about connecting with yourself, but it takes a more practical approach with gentle stretches and movement (both sitting and standing), as well as breathing and visualisation techniques. If you nail the philosophy you should find managing your stress levels easier, see an improvement in your sleep patterns and generally feel more confident and self-assured.

How does it differ from traditional mindfulness?

While both methods encourage you to be more in-tune with yourself, Sophrology goes one step further to ensure that your body keeps up with your mind and is just as well maintained. It’s for this reason that people employ the Sophrology method before an important meeting or competition. In Switzerland, senior students are offered sessions in the lead up to their exams to keep anxiety, stress and nerves at bay.

What should you expect from a Sophrology session?

‘Sophrology can be practised in groups or in an individual session with a Sophrologist. After a brief discussion with the clients about what they want to achieve during the session, the Sophrologist will use his or her voice to guide them through a sequence of simple exercises including relaxation, breathing, visualisation and gentle movement,’ explains Dominique Antiglio, author and founder of BeSophro.

Where to start…

First and foremost, you have to work out which issue you want to tackle, be it overcoming nerves for an up-coming work event or generally just lowering your stress levels. There are Sophrology sessions available, but if you’d rather start at-home BeSophro offers online classes and if you can wait until September, Antiglio will be releasing her book to guide you through her 12-step method.

What Keeps Me Sane

WhatKeepsMeSane

Life is hectic in the Izzillo household, as I’m sure it is in any household where there are two active children under four and both Mummy and Daddy work full time. My parents and mother-in-law live abroad so we don’t have quick and easy access to reliable (and free!) baby sitters. I don’t remember the last time my husband and I went on a date, and life can sometimes feel like a never- ending treadmill of kids-work-kids-sleep. It’s no surprise that I realised one day that I’d lost sight of what made me me, and had lost myself in trying to take care of everyone else.

So I stopped, took stock, and made a decision to take some time for me. Here are some of the things that make me happy and sane.

Pottery:

Once a week, I spend a whole evening at pottery class – moulding, shaping, pinching, turning, coiling, and glazing bits of clay into (in my mind) works of art. Well, I’m not quitting my day job, and my creations are basic at best, but oh how I love it! The satisfaction of making – of creating – something from scratch! Taking a lump of clay and watching it take shape into another form in my hands – an ice-cream bowl, a spoon rest, a make-up brush holder, a beer tankard – the possibilities are endless!

It’s incredibly relaxing: try worrying about the kids or work, or making a to-do list in your mind when you’re trying to get the shape of the mug handle exactly right. It just can’t happen. Pottery clears my mind and calms my soul like nothing else can. It grounds me and puts me back in touch with me. Read More…