Holistic Health Series: Exploring Sophrology With Dominique Antiglio

Holistic Health Series: Exploring Sophrology With Dominique Antiglio

People around the globe are feeling more stressed-out than ever, which is where the holistic wellness community is meeting the growing demand for alternative wellness practices to managing lifestyle stress and burnout. Sophrology isn’t new, though: a mindfulness practice from the sixties, this meditation-like practice was developed from yoga to aid relaxation and enhance self-awareness and mental clarity. Compare Retreats speaks with sophrologist and founder of BeSophro Dominique Antiglio on how she discovered the practice and how to use sophrology in your daily wellness habit. 

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Dominique Antiglio | Image courtesy of BeSophro

For complete newbies: what is Sophrology and what does it have to do with wellness? Sophrology is a self-development and stress management method based on a meditative practise that combines breathwork, relaxation, visualisation and body awareness exercises through gentle movement, designed to help you achieve calm. Wellness is about feeling well in the body and mind and maintaining good health. The practice and benefits of Sophrology help you to achieve this. Sophrology provides you with a simple and effective tool to help you live a balanced life and address issues around sleep, anxiety, stress, tiredness and tension that are so common in modern life. Practised regularly, Sophrology supports people who want to expand their awareness in all aspects of life, to allow us to connect with who we truly are and feel at ease in the world.

When and why did you start using Sophrology? I was lucky to encounter Sophrology at 15 years old. I grew up in Switzerland where Sophrology was already well known at the time. I was suffering from intense tiredness, fainting episodes and recurrent infections. Health tests found nothing significant and the medication I was prescribed was not helping, so my GP sent me to see a Sophrologist. In just five sessions my life was totally transformed: I had more energy, no fainting episodes, and my infection cleared. 

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What kind of training did you undergo? After my osteopathic Degree, later in life, I decided to train as a Sophrologist. I was lucky to be trained notably by the founder of Sophrology – Professor Alfonso Caycedo in Spain.

What has been the most surprising thing you’ve discovered about Sophrology? Sophrology made me aware of the infinite resources we have within us and that with the right tools and a bit of practice, they can become available to us to help us get through tough situations.

What are the most common uses for Sophrology? What other wellness practices does it complement or enhance? Sophrology is most commonly used for stress management, alleviating sleep issues, anxiety, tensions, fears, or preparing for important situations such as interviews or exams. As Sophrology is about building your mental and physical awareness, it can complement any other practice like yoga or meditations, allowing you to deepen your practice.

What’s the biggest change or improvement you’ve seen in your life in your own experience of Sophrology? It transformed my health when I was 15, and taught me to feel safer in life and trust what I feel. That first experience opened a new window in my head and brought awareness around how I felt at the time. I was emotionally stressed and my body was trying to tell me so. Sophrology taught me to listen to my body.

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For someone looking to practice Sophrology for the first time, what should they know? One of the best places to start is my book, The Life-Changing Power of Sophrology, which provides everything you need to know about the practice. It even comes with guided audio sessions so you can practice at home. If you are in London, we have three clinics so you can come and have a one-to-one session which is tailored to you, or you can join one of our classes. Or for those not in London who want to specifically overcome their stress, BeSophro has recently launched Relax, Reset and Overcome Stress: an online course to help you manage your stress effectively.

How can Sophrology be incorporated into your regular wellness habits? Sophrology can be incorporated into your daily routine with as little as 10 minutes of practice each day, and you can use specific techniques on the spot when you need it—for example, when you are feeling overwhelmed and need instant relief, there are techniques you can perform right there and then.

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A sophrology session | Image courtesy of BeSophro

What is the biggest misconception about Sophrology? That Sophrology has only just been developed. Sophrology was created in the 1960s, before mindfulness was introduced as a popular technique in the United States. Sophrology was first used only in medical environments to help people deal with mental health issues but quickly became very popular in Continental Europe for improving performance and wellbeing. In Switzerland, the cost of Sophrology is reimbursed by Swiss health insurance companies and there are more than 700 Sophrology books in the French language, the first in English being The Life-Changing Power of Sophrology.

How does Sophrology differ from regular meditation or mindfulness? With Sophrology, there is a strong emphasis on body awareness. There are 12 levels of exploration of consciousness, each level helping you to unlock a specific area of awareness. Sophrology is also different in that it can be used to help address specific issues, like sleep, stress, confidence, or help you prepare your mind and body for upcoming events, such as interviews. It’s an ideal self-improvement practice.

Which resources would you recommend for anyone looking to get into it Sophrology? My site, be-sophro.com, is full of helpful resources if you want to learn more and see what it can do for you, or feel free to reach out to me personally at @besophrolondon on Instagram.

Rebecca Cairns

Editor & CCO

Hong Kong-based writer and editor Rebecca Cairns helped develop Compare Retreats from concept to creation as founding editor and has formerly written on travel and wellness with Hong Kong Tatler and The Culture Trip. Her editorial work has taken her all around the world and she is a qualified NASM personal trainer and an avid runner. When she's not travelling, she's planning her next trip, taking hikes to the beach or scribbling away in boutique coffee shops. You can follow her travels on Instagram @jetsetcreate.

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