What do many athletes and stressed-out school-kids across Europe have in common? They're all proponents of sophrology—the mind-body practice that is essentially a smorgasbord of mindfulness meditation, breath work, visualization, and body awareness techniques.
A couple of years back, after an unexpected and gut-wrenching break-up, I was all over the place – so I threw myself into my yoga practice in the hope of regaining some equilibrium. One day I saw a flyer on the noticeboard at the yoga studio. “Reduce stress and manage emotions,” it said. “Detach and refocus. Instil calm.” Oh yes please, I thought. But what was it? Mindfulness? Meditation? Buddhist chanting? No. Sophrology.
Do you feel tired all of the time? Maybe you’re stressed, anxious, or find it hard to concentrate. Sophrology might help. This relatively modern relaxation technique is popular in mainland Europe; so much so it’s recommended and covered by health insurance companies across France and Switzerland. It's only a matter of time before it lands on our shores.
Just when you think you’re putting the “well” in “wellness,” another trend comes along to put your game to shame. Though it’s all the buzz in American wellness circles, sophrology is nothing new — it’s been popular in European countries, like France and Switzerland, for decades.
The house is mess, social media is no longer relaxing and your BFF just asked you to plan her baby shower. In other words? You’re stressed AF. But if you’ve tried mindfulness meditation, yoga and breathwork to no avail, then maybe sophrology could help. We tapped certified sophrologist Niamh Lyons to find out more about this buzzy self-development technique..