Why sophrol­ogy is the new mind­ful­ness

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We have wel­comed mind­ful­ness so whole­heart­edly into our col­lec­tive con­scious­ness that there are now more than 1,300 mind­ful apps. How­ever, mod­ern life dic­tates that when some­thing reaches sat­u­ra­tion point, it must be re­placed by some­thing new. So pause Headspace and al­low us to in­tro­duce “sophrol­ogy”.

In Switzer­land and France, sophrol­ogy is widely of­fered to stu­dents as a way to ac­quire life and stress-man­age­ment skills. Celebrity fans in­clude Ari­anna Huff­in­g­ton and French ten­nis player Stéphane Robert. The French rugby team re­port­edly used sophrol­ogy while train­ing for the last World Cup.

The tech­nique uses men­tal and phys­i­cal ex­er­cises to achieve an alert mind in a re­laxed body. It com­bines med­i­ta­tion and re­lax­ation tech­niques with gen­tle move­ment and vi­su­al­i­sa­tion. Like mind­ful­ness, it doesn’t re­quire com­plex pos­tures, lots of time or ex­pen­sive kit. Do­minique Antiglio is the founder of Be­sophro, which teaches the prac­tice. She is re­leas­ing a book, The Lifechang­ing Power of Sophrol­ogy, in April. “If you’re feel­ing stressed, anx­ious, have dif­fi­culty sleep­ing or are burnt out, just one ses­sion of sophrol­ogy can help you feel calmer, more in con­trol, re­laxed and more able to let go,” she says. Sophrol­ogy was de­vel­oped in Spain

in 1960 by neu­ropsy­chi­a­trist

Prof Al­fonso Caycedo. He spent decades ex­plor­ing yoga, Ti­betan Bud­dhist med­i­ta­tion, hyp­no­sis and Ja­panese Zen. Now, the trend is rapidly mi­grat­ing to Britain. A re­cent study by Kent Busi­ness School found sophrol­ogy had a pos­i­tive im­pact on em­ploy­ees’ phys­i­cal and men­tal health, and more re­search is un­der way.

With so many of us liv­ing such fraz­zled lives, the global well­ness in­dus­try is now worth £2.6tn. Sophrol­ogy looks likely to be the next buzz­word an­swer to all our prob­lems – un­til an­other so­lu­tion comes along.

Emma Ledger

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