We can’t control the obstacles that arise in our everyday lives no matter how hard we try. Between family and job, our schedules frequently get overburdened to the point that we feel unable to keep up, or we experience unforeseen health difficulties that disrupt our well-prepared plans. Even the simplest activities, such as organizing a trip to the store or sending that long-overdue email, can feel onerous in all we have to accomplish.
No matter how big or minor, these problems can make us feel nervous, agitated, or even sad. But, no matter how overpowering our emotions are, there is a method to regulate them. We may learn to breathe better, think more positively, and let go of the easy, adaptive guided sophrology exercises.
You’ll learn a lot in these chapters.
- how to positively balance your body and mind in order to reduce tension in the present;
- how to silence your nagging inner critic; and
- how to change your relationship for the better in the future
Chapter 1 – Sophrology is a dynamic combination of Western medicine and Eastern meditation practices.
Going to the doctor does not always solve the problem. You may have had the tests done and taken the medication, but you still don’t feel well.
That’s an indication it’s time to explore alternatives to traditional medicine. What am I referring to? Sophrology, for example, is a therapeutic method that focuses on restoring the balance between mind and body in order to achieve total health and happiness.
The term “sophrology” refers to a state of equilibrium. It comes from the Greek philosopher Plato’s phrase sophrosyne, which meant “balance and harmony” between the body, intellect, and soul.
Alfonso Caycedo, a Spanish doctor born in 1932, founded the field of sophrology. Caycedo saw the limits of Western medical therapy while studying medicine in Madrid; he was particularly disturbed by the electroshock treatment that mentally ill people were exposed to at the hospital where he worked. He wondered why patients’ awareness had to be disrupted to heal, given this procedure frequently resulted in comas.
Clearly, Western medicine had limitations in treating sickness, particularly mental illness. As a result, he began looking for ways to get around it.
Caycedo began traveling in India and Japan in 1965, where he spent years researching Eastern medical methods.
He collaborated with yogis and doctors in India to better understand the role of breathwork and bodywork in consciousness transformation. To learn about Tibetan Buddhism, he journeyed to Dharamshala. He learned Zen meditation concepts in Japan.
When he returned to Spain, he focused on fusing the techniques he had studied with his Western medical knowledge, mixing yoga, Buddhist meditation, and Zen meditation with neurology, psychology, and psychiatry. Sophrology was the end consequence.
Caycedo refined the technique with his patients from the 1960s through the 1980s. He arranged the practice into the 12 Levels of Sophrology, a set of explicit stages intended at helping you find, master, and alter your consciousness, by developing guided exercises that included breathing methods, meditation, and visualization. These 12 Levels require at least a couple of years to master, yet even the fundamentals of sophrology – the Foundation and Levels – may be learned in a matter of weeks.
Most importantly, sophrology is intended to fit into any lifestyle, fitness level, or schedule, so anybody can do it – no yoga mat required.
Chapter 2 – The Foundation Practice of Sophrology is the first step in reestablishing your mind and body connection.
When building a structure, you don’t start with the framework, higher stories, or even doors and windows. Construction, like many other endeavors, begins with the foundation. Sophrology is no exception.
You must first study the Foundation Practice before progressing through the 12 Levels of sophrology. This technique grounds you in your senses, brings your mind and body together and guides you into a relaxed-alert state that reinvigorates your awareness — the essential force that connects your mind and body.
The Body Scan, Clearing Breath, and Tuning into Your Vital Power are the three activities that make up the Foundation Practice. Tuning into Your Vital Power allows you to delve into your consciousness, while the Clearing Breath helps you relieve physical tensions. The Body Scan, on the other hand, is the initial step toward integrating mind and body.
You begin the workout by sitting in a chair in a relaxed position. Take a moment to notice how heavy and hefty your body is on the chair. Meanwhile, maintain a steady inhalation and exhalation. Now, in your mind’s eye, scan over each of your body systems. There are five bodily systems in sophrology, the first of which is the head and face. The shoulders, neck, and arms are all affected. The third system is the chest, followed by the upper belly, lower tummy, pelvis, and legs.
The Bodily Scan involves moving gently through each body system, focusing on your senses, and recognizing any tensions that have built up in your body. Continue to take deep breaths in and out. Use the power of your breath to calm each bodily system while you sit.
This practice is fantastic for linking your mind and body. The Body Scan makes you more aware of your body and urges it to relax by concentrating your thoughts on your physical feelings. This condition allows you to be more present with your perceptions and experiences, which aids in changing your awareness.
It appears to be too fantastic to be true. Just give it a go. Take note of how you feel in your body and mind before and after the workout. You’ll probably notice that your body is more relaxed and your mind is more awake once you’ve completed.
You’ve successfully reached the relaxed-alert state. You’ve reached the supraliminal condition, to use a fancy sophrological term. Doesn’t it make you feel good?
Chapter 3 – Sophrology’s Level 1 Practice helps you to achieve healthy mental and physical equilibrium.
Our bodies are where we reside. Every minute of every day, we utilize them. Yet, how frequently do we actually pay attention to them?
We’re more prone to get imprisoned in our anxious thoughts due to family commitments, hectic job schedules, and the fast-paced nature of life in general. We often overlook the fact that our anxious brains are a part of our physical bodies.
That’s where the Level 1 Practice of Sophrology comes in. Sophrology is divided into 12 levels. The Discovery Cycle consists of the first four levels, the Mastery Cycle of the next four, and the Transformative Cycle of the last four. Working our way through these stages helps us to better understand, master, and alter ourselves.
However, we don’t need to complete all 12 levels to get the benefits of sophrology; the Level 1 Practice is sufficient. This exercise balances our bodies and thoughts via gentle movement and breathing practices. It enables us to become our own “on-the-go” healers by assisting us in releasing the tensions that keep us from moving forward.
Consider the Head Rotation Level 1 workout. It focuses on the primary bodily system – the head and face – and entails standing comfortably in one spot while breathing in and out with our head aligned to face straight ahead. After then, we gently shift our heads to the right, then to the left, while we inhale deeply. We swivel our heads back to face each other when we need to breathe.
We spend some time observing feelings in our primary body system while we face forward. We can get a little dizzy as a result of holding our breath. Perhaps we are more at ease. Alternatively, we may become aware of tensions in our heads that we were previously unaware of. We repeat the maneuver multiple times once we’ve recorded these sensations. On the exhale, we return to face forward.
When performed on a regular basis, the Head Rotation exercise provides a number of advantages. We are grounded in our body by the gentle head motions and deep breathing. The motions and breathing also help to promote brain oxygenation. They also cleanse and focus our thoughts in the process. The activity unites our brains and body in this way, while also favorably balancing them.
What’s more, guess what? Exercises on Level 1 require no more than 15 minutes, such as the Head Rotation. However, repetition and habit help us to refocus, re-energize, and increase our mood and concentration.
Chapter 4 – Sophrology’s super tools assist us in letting go of negativity.
That voice exists in all of our brains. You’re familiar with the voice that tells us there’s no use in attempting since we’ll fail. That we aren’t up to par. Others may be able to do it better.
That negative voice will restrict our desire and erode our confidence if we allow it to get the best of us. Rather than enabling us to stretch our wings and soar, it will stop us in our tracks. The negative voice can be overwhelming at times. It has the potential to be so powerful that it prevents us from connecting with our natural positive abilities.
Thankfully, sophrology provides us the superpowers to control that voice. Consider the Supertool Practice as a rapid toolbox to help us face the problems of daily life, such as unpleasant emotions, ideas, or situations. These easy-to-use tools provide us with the resilience, confidence, and calm we need when we’re on the road. Breathing, motion, awareness, and purpose are all combined in these exercises. They cause transformations that allow us to impact change as a result of this.
One super tool we may use when that nasty inner voice interrupts our day, for example, is The Bag. What is the mechanism behind it? First and foremost, seek a peaceful and secluded location. Start thinking about how you’re going to turn your negative ideas, beliefs, and emotions into something positive as you stand in place.
Then close your eyes and envision a bag hanging on the wall directly in front of you. Take some time to visualize this bag in great detail. Place anything that troubles you, whether bad ideas, feelings, or regrets, inside it after you’ve done so. Exhale as you place each object within, then identify the bad item you’ve just deposited in your mind.
Then there’s the enjoyable part. Take a karate stance and smack the bag with a few excellent – or inexperienced – karate moves. It makes no difference whether you have no prior experience with martial arts. The goal is to act out the bag being destroyed. Finally, reach down and pick up the “dust” from the shattered bag, then blow it out into the world, requesting help.
If you think the above is ridiculous, think about how you felt before and after the activity. You’ll feel lighter, more cheerful, and more empowered after blowing that dust into the universe. This is why The Bag is referred to as a fantastic tool.
Chapter 5 – Sophrology’s super tools can assist you in getting a better night’s sleep.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could get by on only four hours of sleep every night? Consider how much you could do. Few people, on the other hand, can function on so little sleep. The majority of individuals have the opposite issue: they desire more sleep but can’t get it.
If you’ve ever had insomnia, you know how debilitating it can be. Sleep deprivation is harmful to your health. Exhaustion and a lack of vitality, as well as muscular discomfort and sadness, are all side effects of sleep deprivation. Insomnia can also lead to compensatory habits like overeating or smoking, both of which are harmful to your health.
The good news is that getting a better night’s sleep does not require the use of sleeping drugs. That’s because sophrology gives you superpowers when it comes to coping with sleeplessness.
The Sleep Gatekeeper is one such supertool. This workout, contrary to popular belief, must be completed throughout the day. Why? Because you are preparing your thoughts hours ahead of time for the night’s sleep ahead.
Choosing a specific word to serve as the “gatekeeper” of your sleep is an important part of the practice. This word – which may be anything that means anything to you – will keep the concerns and anxieties out of your precious sleeping space. Take a few minutes during the day to sit down. Then, as you inhale, recall your gatekeeper word and envision gently inhaling it into your body.
Imagine a good and relaxing bedtime after you’ve breathed in the word. Imagine yourself falling asleep quickly and easily. As you visualize your nighttime, take a few deep breaths and summon up your gatekeeper word to imbue it with the power to guard your sleep domain. Then, when you lie in bed at night, call up that gatekeeper word and let it guide you into a peaceful and restful slumber.
Isn’t it easy enough? It is, however, there is a stipulation. The Sleep Gatekeeper exercise’s effectiveness is mostly due to repetition. That is to say, practicing the workout once a month won’t be enough. You should try to say it every day since it’s only through repetition that your gatekeeper word, as well as the visualization that goes with it, will have the potential to change your sleeping habits.
Now take a deep breath, close your eyes, and say your gatekeeper’s word. Is it possible that you’re already drifting off?
Chapter 6 – Sophrology empowers you rather than limiting you by your history.
Do you ever find yourself ruminating on your past and revisiting all of the mistakes you’ve made? It’s simple to recall occasions when you weren’t pleased, didn’t meet a goal or said or did something inappropriate.
However, such ruminating can be hazardous. Dwelling on past errors keeps you trapped in the unpleasant events of your former life and restricts your future possibilities. This might lead to the delusion that you’re bound to keep repeating the same cycle.
That’s why it’s so crucial to remember times in your life when you were successful, happy, and confident — taking the time to remember pleasant times in the past can help you be happier in the future. Recalling occasions when you felt empowered and content sends a message to your subconscious that you are capable of doing so again.
Of course, it’s easier said than done. Guided sophrology activities like the Empowering Past Visualization exercise, on the other hand, are a terrific place to start. This exercise is based on Level 3 practice, yet it’s easy, quick, and incredibly effective, like many other sophrology exercises.
The workout begins with you sitting straight on a chair. Use the Foundation Practice before starting the activity. This makes your mind and body more open to new experiences and sensations.
After that, consciously look through your past for a moment – a very particular moment – when you felt completely empowered and confident. Maybe it was the day you got a raise at work. Perhaps it was a period when you excelled in front of an audience. Once you’ve pinpointed the exact time, attempt to recall every detail. What were you wearing at the time? What position were you in when you sat or stood? Who were you speaking with? Most importantly, remember how you felt at the time.
Concentrate your thoughts on prior feelings of confidence, achievement, and empowerment. Allow those emotions to pervade your body. Relax into your chair once you’ve finished and exhaled slowly. After you’ve completed the workout, pay attention to how you feel. Probably quite thrilled.
Why not utilize your history to buoy you up rather than pull you down, since, as they say, the past is never truly gone?
Chapter 7 – Sophrology uses the power of vision to help us modify our outlook on the future.
“Wishing doesn’t make it so,” as the phrase goes. So, what if it does? What if, by using the power of our imaginations, we might change our connection with the future to make it more energizing and inspiring?
While the future holds many opportunities for positive change, we are frequently terrified of it. For one reason, we can’t be certain that our current decisions will result in satisfaction or success. And our apprehension that the future may bring us terrible things – more stress or obstacles – might cause us to take the safe route rather than take a chance and think courageously.
However, we can only build greater and better prospects for our future lives if we have an open mind to good change. This necessitates the bravery to anticipate the future in a way that differs from what we know or what we could expect.
Sophrology enables us to access this limitless potential. It modifies our attitude to the future through visualization exercises and tools, allowing us to see it as an opportunity rather than a risk.
For example, the Level 2 Future Visualization exercise allows you to put this power of potential into reality by taking you to the near future. You must first think of anything you wish to change before starting the activity. It may be as simple as locating a suitable location. It might also be something more significant, such as a professional shift.
Then, while seated in a chair, fast-forward to anywhere between six months and two years in the future. Allow yourself to enter a scenario with yourself in it once you’ve arrived. The transformation that you desire has occurred at this moment.
You’re in a fantastic mood. Visualize all of the specifics as you breathe – who you’re with and what you’re saying or doing. Spend some time immersed in this scene until it begins to feel genuine.
Inhale the uplifting sensation of the visualization at the end of the exercise and let it flow throughout your body. Your mind is also guided in this way to prepare for the good shift.
This powerful visualization exercise is one of several in the sophrology toolkit that can help you improve your life for the better. There’s no stopping you now that you have the Foundation Practice, the 12 Levels Practices, and the super tools of sophrology at your disposal.
The Life-Changing Power of Sophrology: A practical guide to reducing stress and living up to your full potential by Dominique Antiglio Book Review
Master the fundamental concepts of sophrology, a therapeutic practice that blends parts of Western medicine with Eastern meditation practices, to become your own “on-the-go” healer. Sophrology helps you get the better of life rather than letting life get the better of you since its tools and exercises are easy, fast, and adaptable to all types of lives and schedules.
Regain control of your breathing.
Spend a few minutes today working on your breathing. Place one hand on your tummy and the other on your chest in a comfortable seat. Then breathe normally – don’t force it, just do what comes naturally to you. Is there any movement in your chest? If this is the case, concentrate on breathing and exhaling from your stomach rather than your chest. Imagine your belly like a balloon that inflates and deflates as you feel the movement with your hand. This type of tummy breathing is a terrific technique to relieve tension quickly.