You might have been looking for a way to improve your mental wellbeing and heard someone rave about the benefits of sophrology. Maybe you know a friend of a friend who has tried it, or perhaps you are just interested in learning about additional methods to add to your practice. Whatever it is you’re looking for, Sophrology is a practical approach you can incorporate into your life.
What is Sophrology?
Sophrology is a method for improving health, well-being, and personal development. Sophrology uses techniques such as visualization, relaxation, deep breathing and simple movements called Dynamic Relaxation (relaxation through movement). The aim of sophrology exercises is to become fully present in all areas of life, comfortably and joyfully. While sophrology was first developed in the 1960s by neuro-psychiatrist Professor Alfonso Caycedo, it has received a recent surge in interest thanks to Dominique Antiglio, founder of the website BeSophro and author of the upcoming book The Life-Changing Power of Sophrology. This sudden reemergence prompted The Guardian to write about it, dubbing sophrology “the new mindfulness”.
Professor Alfonso Caycedo developed Sophrology after years of studying yoga and meditation, out of a desire to create a program that will enhance well-being as well as be used as a tool for stress management and personal development.
While it might seem like an undiscovered gem, Sophrology is actually very popular in several European countries, primarily France and Switzerland. It’s even being used as an integral part of the training in the Geneva police force.
The word Sophrology comes from Greek. Sos means balance, phren is the mind-body unit, and logos means study. The technique is about balancing the mind and body for optimal health and peace.
How does Sophrology work?
Sophrology can be practiced alone or in a group. A Sophrology session usually lasts about an hour. You would usually start by talking to your practitioner, describing your current physical, mental and emotional state. During the session, you will follow several basic exercises, tensing and relaxing your body. You might go through several relaxation techniques, body scans, visualizations and breathing exercises to relax your body. You will be guided to notice how your body feels when it is calm and relaxed. You’ll end the session with another dialogue, noting how you feel after doing the exercises.
Sophrology exercises are simple and easy to remember. This makes it easy to integrate them into your life outside of your sessions. That way, you can practice consistently and feel the effects of the changes you are making. Sophrology can be practiced standing up or sitting down.
Sophrology can be used as a short-term or long-term process. A complete program has 12 levels. These levels, or degrees, have their own tools, working up to aid you in your personal development if you want to go deeper. For example, level one focuses mainly on increasing body awareness and becoming more focused and confident. Level 2 works on increasing concentration, while higher levels move deeper into integrating the body and mind.
What are the benefits of Sophrology?
One of the main benefits of sophrology is that it is approachable by virtually anybody. Sophrology is easy to practice and does not require any specific skills. Since you do not need any specific tools, you can practice wherever you are in the world, whether at home or at work, alone or with other people. It’s accessible to everyone regardless of age, gender, language or culture. Even if you are suffering from health issues, Sophrology can be adapted to fit your physical needs.
Another great benefit of sophrology is that people start to feel results from the first session. Some benefits people have noticed in themselves after starting to practice sophrology are improved concentration and memory; improved sleep quality; increased happiness; improved physical and emotional health; better decision making and fewer worries.
Sophrology is being used to help prepare for key events such as interviews, childbirth and public speaking, to improve general self-confidence or team management, business and general everyday life. Once someone learns the techniques they can continue to use them alone in all areas of life. Sophrology is very versatile. It can be used to help you in various different areas of life.
Sophrologists have many tools to use and adapt to different situations. Many Sophrologists specialize in various fields such as birth preparation or public events.
Sophrology at New Life
We are pleased to host Claudia Colella, a qualified, English speaking Sophrologist, at New Life Foundation. Claudia will join our community for two months in March and April. She will offer individual sessions daily and a weekly group Sophrology session, as well as unique collaborative yoga-Sophrology workshops with our yoga teacher.
Residents, volunteers, and guests will have the added benefit of practicing Sophrology in addition to our regular schedule consisting of daily yoga and meditation, life coaching and support groups. As Sophrology is a technique that directly ties to mindfulness and incorporates meditation and relaxation techniques, it’s a natural fit for our mindful program.
As Claudia is an experienced Sophrology practitioner, she will be able to tailor a Sophrology program to fit your specific needs.
More about Claudia Colella
Claudia has studied art, psychology, and philosophy. With a lifelong interest in human mind and behavior and desire to work with people, she volunteered in hospitals helping terminally ill patients.
Claudia decided to study Sophrology after the insomnia she had suffered from for years almost instantly disappeared after she started practicing regularly. While she originally thought to train as a counselor, the combination of psychology, yoga, and meditation that sophrology offers drew her in. She found that the Sophrology techniques supported her enormously while caring for her father in the hospital during his battle with cancer until his death.
As a Sophrology practitioner, her focus is on sleep disorders, stress, and anxiety as well as bereavement.
Her aim is to provide clients with a set of tools they can use whenever they need.
You can find Claudia at www.livesophro.com and http://thesophrologynetwork.co.uk/members/claudiacolella/
as well as contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org