Relaxation is both an art and a science. The art of relaxation is like a craft that you hone over time, armed with the knowledge of how the mind and bodywork. It makes you feel good and re-energised, so what’s not to like? There’s a little stumbling block, though: it seems that us humans are not very good at relaxing (of course there are exceptions!) and this is mostly to do with the fact that working days are getting longer. We often take work home and keep replying to emails in the evening and weekends. Then we are glued to our phone screens to check our social media, or stay up late to catch up on “unmissable” TV series. We are also very good at worrying about the future or reminiscing about the past, all mental activities that create unnecessary stress, keep our minds busy and often keep us awake at night.
A natural state of being is a state of balance, with the right amount of sleep at night, regular breaks during the day and enough time to move our bodies. Interestingly, all relaxation will take a bit of effort at first as for many people it implies making some lifestyle changes. Relaxation is not the same as being lazy, as it involves shifting the way we think to a more positive and empowering one. Let’s say that the art of relaxation is the art of doing nothing with intention and purpose.
Sophrology – How To Relax Your Mind & Body
If you are looking for an effective way to create balance in your life without having to spend hours meditating every day, you really can’t go wrong with Sophrology.
Sophrology is a unique blend of Eastern philosophies and practices like Zen Buddhism and Western approaches such as psychotherapy. It provides you with a toolset you can deploy when you feel stressed or tired to tap into a sense of calm. Using dynamic relaxation exercises, you engage both mind and body while being anchored in the present moment.
Talking about the dynamic element of Sophrology, one way to connect with the energy that is all around us is to walk in nature: it can be as little as a 30-minute walk at lunchtime in your local park if you don’t have much spare time. You can use some Sophrology exercises to build a connection with your body and its inner wisdom, synchronising your breathing with your walking speed. Walking meditation is an ancient practice that still has many useful applications in today’s hectic pace of life. It allows us to have a sense of wonder for the environment around us: the trees, the flowers, the wildlife, and the ever-changing sky. Sophrology teaches us to look at things as if it was the first time, with the same unbridled joy as a child’s.
The Power of Breathing
Studies have confirmed that deep breathing can have a beneficial effect, notably in reducing blood pressure. Hypertension is related to many degenerative diseases so being able to normalise blood pressure can add years to your life.
You can learn some simple Sophrology breathing exercises to help you de-stress and relax, and it only takes a few minutes a day to practise them. The breathing exercises use tummy breath because it is the best type of breathing: you allow your tummy to expand when you breathe in and deflate when you breathe out. Take each breath consciously and slowly, focusing on the inner workings of your body.