Perhaps you’re feeling a little chaotic in your mind — or worrying about everything and losing sight of what is important and what isn’t. Hands up then, everyone! It is a very likely state for a lot of us as we can often feel that a lot of demands are put on us. This morning I found myself trying to feed my child and worrying about all the things that I wanted to fit into my schedule that day.
Without being careful, having too much to do becomes the norm. But most important is how we feel about it all. Some people achieve a massive amount of work and go through difficult experiences while staying naturally centered, but for others the slightest change in their plans or excess of demands on them makes them highly anxious.
It is our inner state that determines our daily experience of life, how we respond to the life we live, and therefore how stressed we really are. And that is one thing that we can have control over.
Imagine if you could get on with your daily tasks without worry, in a calm state, taking one thing after the other and trusting the present moment? Imagine feeling that everything that is happening has its right place in your day rather than fighting it?
When we are calm and clearheaded, we lose less time on things that don’t matter and we are less likely to get drawn into actions we don’t want to do or don’t need to do. It allows us to connect with a sense of clarity.
Through this practice, we invite in calm and clarity, and we aim to feel more in control of ourselves and more grounded and connected to our inner self. Quite simply, our brains and our bodies are struggling to cope, and we just need to stop and listen to them, to listen to ourselves!
“Being,” not “doing” all the time, is a huge part of Sophrology. We want to take time out, to stop, and to be present in our true self — THINK LESS, BE MORE.
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Sophro....What? What Is Sophrology
Decades ahead of the recent popularity of mindfulness, Sophrology — or “dynamic relaxation” — has been shown to be an effective tool in dealing with stress and associated issues, allowing us to nurture and develop our inner resilience, confidence, and clarity. It opens our minds to new perspectives and helps us face life challenges in a positive way. Its unique blend of Eastern philosophy and practices with Western science makes it a highly contemporary way to tap into our own inner “superpowers” — using simple tools that draw on relaxation, meditation, breathing, visualization, and body awareness exercises.
The joy of Sophrology is that everything you would like to reach is already within you. And the great news is that finding balance and calm doesn’t require 20 years of studying ancient manuscripts or living only on avocado juice. Nor do you need to sign over the next three months of your life. In the midst of life’s chaos, what if with just closing your eyes for just a few minutes a day and following some simple guided exercises, you could connect with this sense of balance and open a world of new possibilities in your everyday life?
Calm and happiness mean something different to everyone, and Sophrology will give you the tools to find it, by yourself and for yourself.
Inner Resource: Clarity
For me, clarity is to do with perceptions. When we are calm and grounded, we are more likely to feel clear about ourselves or the world around us, to know what our priorities are, to discern and understand what is happening, and to remain centered and in tune with our needs, desires, and inner resources. It is also very useful in setting our goals and being clear about our wishes and intentions for our future.
It is difficult to have clarity in such a busy world, but without learning to listen to ourselves and find our own balance, we will struggle to cope with what life throws at us. At the heart of Level 1 and Level 2 Sophrology is the linking of mind and body, using the connection to cut through the noise of everything and everyone around us to allow us to relearn how to truly listen to what our body and mind are telling us, and to give us the power to say “Stop.” To “be” rather than to “do.”
And clarity is also about looking to the future. Perhaps we’ve forgotten all about our life goals or given up on having a purpose in life? Perhaps we are too busy thinking of all the things that we need to do for others, without taking any time or space for ourselves? Whatever our problems or stresses might be, we need clarity in order to find our focus, and to answer the important questions that guide us to understand our best way to live.
The “Tension Relax” Exercise
Try the following exercise to connect to your body:
Stand with your arms at your sides and breathe deeply a couple of times. Now, inhale and raise your arms up in front of you with your hands as fists. Now tense your entire body and hold the position for a couple of seconds. Then exhale and release the tension as you bring the arms back down to your sides. Take a moment to notice the sensation in your body. How do you feel different? Note any tension still in your body and acknowledge it. Tell it, “I’ve seen you.” Repeat.
This is a simple move to connect with the body and to let go of tension here and now. Practice it a couple of times each day to start to teach yourself to “listen” to your body.
A Superhero Shield With Special Powers
Imagine that, like a superhero, you have a shield with special powers. With that shield, you can protect yourself from the noise and negativity around you and find instant calm. The Bubble is a shield that you visualize around you, keeping you safe inside and filled with security and confidence when it feels as if everything might overwhelm you. In creating this bubble around yourself, you construct a space that protects and shelters you from all the noise and stress of the world as we perceive it.
So, it’s a bubble that filters the stuff that you don’t want to reach you. For example, if your boss or a colleague at work is annoying or difficult, you can imagine that person far away outside the bubble. If you’re finding it difficult to shut off the noise from your family or your worries about money, you find that space and nobody and no worry can filter through.
It’s a way to put all the things that cause you stress outside, while you have your vital space within and around you that no one can invade, that is always yours. It allows you to own your power again and take a step back from your daily life and problems. It doesn’t block you from connecting to the outside and receiving love and positivity; it is more a filter from stressors. It’s also a space that gives you a time of non-reaction or to think before you react to something.
To start, the most important thing you can do to make your practice effective is to have a clear intention first. Take a few moments to breathe easily and prepare yourself by acknowledging that you’re going to do something that will transform your present state, whether a chaotic mind or agitated feelings in the chest.
Let yourself be guided into the practice without preconceived ideas about what you are going to feel or find in it. Once you have reached the sophroliminal state -- a deep state of relaxation -- you will build your bubble. Let it come to you, and trust your consciousness in showing you the way. You will spend time feeling the calmness and clarity of being within your bubble, before you finish the exercise.
The Supertool: The Bubble
1. In the Pharaoh posture, breathing calmly and easily, visualize your own bubble. Think about how it looks, whether it is large or small, close to your body or very big around you, transparent or colored. Take the time to visualize how it would look, and let it create itself on your inner screen, feeling it around you. Everyone’s will be different — let your body and mind lead you to create your own bubble: its size, its color, its feel.
2. Now, keep imagining the bubble all around you and tune in to the presence of calmness in your systems. All your stressors are outside and separate from you, and can’t come close to you while you have the bubble. Experience how it feels to be in that bubble, feeling calm and secure, and having the space you need.
3. Take a few moments to look at the bubble all around you. In your mind, look up and down, left and right, and feel the air around you and how peaceful and light it is.
4. Enjoy the feeling of being within your bubble for a while, before you return from the visualization.
5. At the end, back in the Sitting Relaxed posture, pause and inhale all the positives of the exercise, remembering how it felt within your body. Take the time you need to return to the presence of your body, feel your feet on the floor, and become fully present before opening your eyes.
During any Sophrology exercise, especially the supertools, you may be confronted with tensions. Your bubble might be difficult to create initially, or you may find yourself dwelling on the stresses and tensions that invade you. Just acknowledge and let go by using a Tension Relax and carry on focusing on the visualization. Remember that you do not need to achieve anything in this practice. Repeat as many times as necessary.
The Bubble “On the Go”
Remember, once you have performed this full practice a few times, you will be able to form your bubble easily in your mind when you visualize it, and the feelings and sensations it creates will become familiar. That means that if you’re out and about and feel a rising sense of panic at everything happening around you or all the demands being placed upon you, you can take a few moments to breathe deeply and recall your bubble, and you will naturally connect with that sense of calm and security within yourself and your own space. Instant peace!
Copyright ©2018 by Dominique Antiglio.
All Rights Reserved. Excerpted with permission.
Publisher: New World Library. newworldlibrary.com
The Life-Changing Power of Sophrology: Breathe and Connect with the Calm and Happy You
by Dominique Antiglio.
In a world that can sometimes feel overwhelming, this comprehensive guide to the practice of Sophrology will help you cultivate resilience, confidence, and serenity in your daily life. Sophrology is a dynamic relaxation, stress-management, and personal-development system already popular in Europe, growing worldwide, and used successfully by people from all walks of life. The method combines Western science and Eastern wisdom, in ten- to fifteen-minute practices, using relaxation, breathing, body awareness, and visualization.
Click here for more info and/or to order this paperback book. Also available in Kindle format
About the Author
Dominique Antiglio is a globally sought-after Sophrologist specializing in stress management, self-development, and birth preparation. After studying with Professor Alfonso Caycedo, the inventor of Sophrology, she founded BeSophro, a London-based clinic and consultancy with an online platform to help people find a better life through the practice of Sophrology. Visit her website at https://be-sophro.com/