There are over 1,300 mindfulness apps on offer today. It’s safe to say that mindfulness is a big deal, and highly recommended when it comes to reducing stress in our hectic modern lives.
What’s less well-known though is sophrology. We may not have heard much about it in the UK but in France and Switzerland it’s widely offered to students at schools and universities as a method of gaining life and stress-management skills.
Sophrology is a combination of light yoga and meditation which uses mental and physical exercises to try and achieve an alert mind but a relaxed body. Sophrology was developed in Spain in 1960 by the neuropsychiatrist Prof Alfonso Caycedo. He spent decades exploring yoga, Tibetan Buddhist meditation practise, hypnotism, and Japanese Zen principles, combined what he saw as the best bits, and named his resulting philosophy ‘Sophrology’ or “learning to live”.
An example of a simple Sophrology exercise is to close your eyes, breathe in, and hold your breath for a few seconds while tensing all of the muscles in your body. When you slowly exhale, release all the muscles and let the tension flow out of them. This will let your body and your mind slow down.
A few reasons it’s so popular is that it doesn’t require lots of time spent on it each day, it doesn’t need you to be super athletic, and it doesn’t require loads of expensive and bulky gym equipment to do it.
Maybe one to try if you’re a fan of mindfulness.