Sometimes a change of scenery is good for the soul..and if you combine the fresh air and nature with the practice of Sophrology, the effects can be deeply transformative.
Sophrology in nature can be a way to accelerate your shift in perception: for example, if you see things in a negative light, doing some Sophrology exercises outside could make you feel more positive and energised faster.
Why is it therapeutic to be in nature? As you bring awareness to your breath whilst walking or sitting somewhere, the quality of prana (vital energy) you are absorbing is much higher than if you stay in your office or walk near a busy road full of traffic. Consciously connecting with nature’s energies is healing. Imagine that through each in breath, this positive energy is invited in your body and mind and in each outbreath all the tensions and negative thoughts or worries dissipate.
As you walk, take a moment to connect with your body sensations. Do you notice any tensions? Are you shoulders still tensed from an experience you went through yesterday or a worry you have on your mind? Just notice these sensations. You could stop and practice one simple exercise of Level 1 of Sophrology so you can consciously let go of the tension.
Standing with eyes closed, shift your body weight to the right foot, inhale and bring your right arm above your head and stretch and tense the entire right side of your body. As you exhale, lower the right arm down your side and take a moment to notice the sensation in the right half side of your body. Shift the body weight back on both feet and notice the difference between your body right and left. Than do the same exercise, shifting your weight to your left side this time. Come back to the centre, notice your sensations again: has anything changed? Then, inhale and lift both arms up, tense your whole body and, as you exhale, bring the arms back down and take a moment to notice your sensations. Prepare yourself to open your eyes again.
At that point you may enjoy to sit down and engage with your senses: sight, touch, smell, hearing (sometimes taste, if there are some tasty berries to pick nearby!).
Pay attention to all your sensations: the smells, the sounds or silence, the air on your face, the sun on your skin, the sensations in your body, your breathing. It is about taking a few minutes to simply be in the moment â€“ no phone, no stress, just you and nature.
In Sophrology, awareness is a key component of the practice. Unlike a workout, where you exercise and then move on to the next activity in your schedule, during a Sophrology session you pause after each dynamic relaxation exercise to notice and take into account any changes in the body. The moment of pause is essential to let the body and mind relax and integrate the work that you have been doing. The pause acts as a reinforcement of the relaxation, allowing you to make progress towards your goals.
After this lovely little break, you are probably ready to carry on your walk. You may notice that you feel different and what you will get from this time in nature will also be different. This is subtle work, but the results can be significant. It’s about allowing yourself to just be and observe the world around you.
Don’t let the bad weather stop you. If you are warmly dressed, being outside when it’s raining is very energising too. It might challenge you a little more but you will also find a lot of beauty around you if you use non-judgement as you look at nature. Find ways to acknowledge things from a different perspective: for example, the rain might be a little annoyance to you, but it’s vital for plants and crops. Training our ability to see the world like it is the first time and suspending our judgement is one of the many aspects of the practice of Sophrology. This is about the way we go into the practice, connecting with our perceptions and sensation without judgement, allowing the essence to emerge from our consciousness. Walk and look all around you, as if it was for the very first time. Appreciating the beauty of nature and enjoying the present moment can give you a natural high, a sense of positivity and well-being. The key is to see the world like a child, with pure innocence and joy.