Some of you may have heard about it but most of you probably have no idea what sophrology is. So, I decided to make an introduction and let you know about this amazing relaxation technique that I’ve practiced and taught since 2011.
A year before that I had my last contract—with a multinational company I was working for—ending and went through a burnout (I found out about it during my training to become a master practitioner of sophrology). I went through a lot of questioning about my life, my career, my future, my purpose in life and my values. What came up was that I need to be of service, to my community and the world, about which I am passionate.
Then, I figured that because I don’t have a significant degree in anything that I was learning and practicing up until that moment, I decided to find something I would love teaching and practicing, get a degree/certification and start building from there.
Soon after, I stumbled across a TV show talking about sophrology and how it can be an alternative and a complementary method for hyperactive children (instead of only medicating them all the time). I’m fervently opposed to any kind of unnecessary medication, especially for children, and as I believed that medicating these hyperactive children is definitely not the solution, this got my attention immediately. I decided that I needed to explore more.
I then found out that one of my acquaintances was already enrolled in a school preparing people to become sophrology practitioners, and after assuring me that it is a serious school, I got in touch and enrolled as soon as I could—and so my journey with sophrology started.
Ever since, this wonderful and useful practice never ceases to amaze and surprise me. It’s been seven years now and our relationship lasts and grows. I hope we will stay together ’til death do us part.
So, what is sophrology and why I cannot stop praising it?
Sophrology is a relaxation technique that explores, modifies and improves human consciousness through light sitting and standing exercises, energetic auto-massage and dynamic introspection. It can be done individually, as well as in a group.
Sophrology has five active levels: physical, emotional, intuitive, intellectual and transcendent. Let me explain the five levels separately:
- Physical/Corporal Level – During the first level, we make a lasting contact with our body, we become more aware of our body, and we learn to decipher more clearly the signals our body is sending us all the time. We also learn how to be in the present moment, focused and concentrated on what we are doing at the moment, to ground ourselves, manage our stress and relax. In other words, this level enables one to feel good in one’s body.
- Emotional Level – The second level, as its name suggests, enables us to work on our emotions in order to manage them better. After being well-anchored in the present moment (which takes ten to twenty sessions), we are now ready to project ourselves in the future, make plans, overcome obstacles (exams, competition, fear of airplanes or any other phobias we might have, giving birth, moving, separation, grief, etc.). As a result, we start feeling much better and more at ease with any of the emotions from the spectrum arising at any given moment.
- Intuitive Level – The third level enable us to work on our intuition, memory, and creativity. After mastering the first two levels and feeling calm, relaxed and psychologically strong and confident enough about our present and our future, only then can we look back into our past, knowing that we can now position ourselves at a healthy distance from past hurtful events, situations and people, examine them from a different perspective and see them for what they truly are: past events that no longer have power over us and our lives.
- Rational/Intellectual Level – At this level, we are able to make connections between present, future and past. Our intellect has been involved in the practice since the first session, so it has all of the elements to be able to help us identify and emphasize the relevant discoveries throughout our sophrology practice so far.
- Transcendental Level – The fifth and final level of the sophrology practice enables us to go beyond and surpass ourselves, by sensing, seeing, feeling, knowing that we have dormant potential within that we were not aware of until now. Since now we have the tranquillity of mind and body and spirit, the confidence, the courage and the energy to work with those dormant potentials within, we are able to use and utilize them to advance in our life, grow further and change our destiny.
Therefore, the sophrology spectrum is very large: from relaxation, through better management of your stress and emotions, to better facing life’s challenges: e.g., anxiety, depression, insomnia, divorce/separation, public speaking and any kind of public appearances, preparation for giving birth, etc.
It can be practiced at any age above five (by always respecting our limits, without judgment and by doing what’s good for us at the moment of the practice).
At the end of the session, a time for sharing is proposed, if the apprentices wish to participate.
It is also recommended that you keep a journal of your sessions, so that you can easily memorize the exercises that will enable you to become autonomous in your practice very soon, but also to keep track of your progress at the same time.
Autonomy is one of the goals of the sophrology practice. Harmonizing the mind, body and spirit is the final goal.
Sophrology will help you focus, improve your memory, improve your self-confidence, concentrate, better manage your stress levels, improve and make an ally of your intuition, have clearer and better vision of yourself, others, your life and your path and purpose, and overcome obstacles. It will bring you to the present moment and help you see the world from a better perspective, as we always look for the positive first in our sophrology practice.
Personally, it has helped me to be more calm, focused, organized, has increased my creativity, and has allowed me to stop procrastinating and become a lot less judgmental and critical toward myself and others, deal with burn-out and anxiety, as well as depression, take a healthy distance from past events, gain more self-confidence and become more assertive and courageous in setting clear and healthy boundaries with people, situations, even with myself.
As for my apprentices, it has even helped them deal with fibromyalgia, bipolar disorder and trauma.
Nowadays, doctors, psychologists, and even psychiatrists who know about it recommend sophrology for all of the problems I mentioned above, and many more.
I have made it my purpose, my goal and my mission to spread the word about this amazing technique. I trust it with all of my heart because it has and it is helping me every day, and because it helps other people as well. Also, because it truly is an alternative and an additional method to all kinds of medication, and many other healing modalities and therapies.
Sophrology is not a therapy, it is a relaxation technique. And, we do not work with clients, but apprentices.
It has been created in 1960 and developed in the 60’s and 70’s by a Columbian neuropsychiatrist, Dr. Alfonso Caycedo. He trained in Spain to become a doctor, and it is there that he developed sophrology, with the help of his close collaborators. Sophrology is nowadays mostly known in the francophone world (France, Belgium, Switzerland and Canada), also in Spain and Andorra, but it is steadily spreading around the world.
Feel free to explore more about this amazing relaxation technique and see if it resonates with you and if it is something you wish to continue practicing, why not explore it, maybe even teach it?
If you have questions, comments about it or experience with it, please feel free to let me know in the comments section. I will gladly respond to all of your comments.