Try this European mindfulness activity and bring more happiness into your life
Meditation is a powerful exercise to exert mindfulness and calm ourselves when feeling stressed or inebriated with the world, but have you tried the meditation from our friends on the European continent? A blend of eastern and western philosophies and practices, sophrology combines concentration, deep breathing, visualisation and gentle movements, called dynamic relaxation.
While not yet widely known in the UK, schools in France and Switzerland have been practising it for decades. Dominique Antiglio, sophrologist and founder of BeSophro (be-sophro.co.uk) is leading the spread of the movement to its UK launch. “Sophrology is part of breaking the taboo around mental health and wellbeing in society,” she tells us. “One of the principles of this complementary therapy is that we can decide how we are going to experience certain events even when we can’t change them. We are responsible for our experiences and how we respond to situations. This is the key difference between sophrology and mindfulness or meditation, and why it is so appealing to so many people.
“The first part of a session is spent consulting so I can understand what your strengths and possible difficulties are. You sit with your eyes closed and are guided by the therapist’s voice so you can relax and connect with your body’s sensations. You might notice that you feel tense, so we’ll use a few specific breathing and simple tension-relaxation movements to shift this state. You are then ready to dive into a deeper practice which may involve positive visualisation or standing with your eyes closed whilst engaging in some gentle movements so you learn to connect to your body in an empowering way. Daily practice is recommended to ensure the effects continue. Mornings are a good time as it helps you to have a positive mindset for the rest of your day.
“Sophrology sessions involve a 12-step method that allows you to uncover specific aspects of your resilience and this is something we tune deeper in to with each session.”
The aim is to become fully present, alive and participating in all areas of life, and the proven effects include a more restful sleep, improved concentration, fewer worries, increased self-confidence and a feeling of inner happiness.
Dominique’s book, The Life Changing Power of Sophrology, is on sale 19th April (be-sophro.co.uk).
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