The word sophrology stems from the Greek  Sos Phren Logos:-

SOS meaning Harmony
PHREN meaning Consciousness
LOGOS A study of

Developed in Spain in 1960 by Prof Alfonso Caycedo and only recently being adopted in the UK, there is lots of research currently being undertaken. Prof Alfonso Caycedo has practised and studied Yoga, Tibetan Buddhist meditation , hypnosis and Japanese Zen and ultimately allowed him to create sophrology and as Prof Caycedo calls it ‘learning to live’. It is also known as ‘moving meditation’ and ‘dynamic relaxation’.

For the past 50 years sophrology has been predominant in France and Switzerland being to taught to school children, taught in hospitals, to the police amongst others. The application of Sophrology is very broad and can be applied to daily lives, sport, work, relationships, childbirth and other areas.

Sophrology is a self development technique that uses physical and mental exercises to try and achieve an alert mind and relaxed body. It is a combination of meditation breathing and relaxation techniques that encompass gentle movement as well as visualisation. There are no complicated postures, does not require huge amounts of time and no equipment to purchase.

Exercises are made up of simple techniques such as breathing, body scans, visualisations and simple movements.Regular practice of these techniques will allow you to be present in the moment and enable you enjoy and fulfill all aspects of you life as well as promoting good health and well-being. Regular practice will also lead to a more restful sleep, inner happiness and contentment with less worries, improved focus and concentration. It allows us to nourish the good parts of our being allowing them to become healthier and eradicates the parts of our being that less healthier.

A Simple Example

Close your eyes
Breathe in
Hold for a few seconds whilst tensing the muscles in your body
As you exhale release all your muscles and completey let go
This allows the body and mind to slow down

A Typical Sophrology Exercise?

A sophrologist will talk you through a series of basic simple exercises that starts with focusing on each part of the body, tensing and then releasing and ultimately energizing.

Next the sophrologist will guide you to focus on a specific subject, for example, you may be invited to notice how your body experiences calmness. Practice will allow you to reproduce the same physical feelings of this calmness on a regular basis and apply it in your daily life and routines.

If there is a pending event that you are worried about, the sophrologist can gear the exercise to focus on that theme. Common themes include public speaking, examinations, issues in relationships plus many more.

The ultimate goal is to improve oneself generally but also to strengthen areas of our life where we may feel we are more vulnerable.

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Here are four lifestyle changes that could help you become more successful in the new year:

1. Build an inspirational daily routine

Tony Robbins who is a best-selling author and international speaker, has helped many clients including Serena Williams and Hugh Jackman to feel more focused in their careers.

One method he uses is called ‘priming’ . This method involves conditioning yourself to react to events in a specific way.

“If you’re going to get the results that you deserve and that you want, you want to prime yourself for success, You need a daily practice, a daily practice that’s going to put you in the best state possible regularly.”

To help prime yourself for feeling strong, Robbins recommends the follwing two step process:

First of all, set aside 10 minutes each morning for reflection and mindful breathing, a process that helps him and will also help you stay focused and motivated every day.

Spend the first 3 minutes thinking about 3 things that you are grateful for. Spend the next 3 minutes feeling at peace and thinking about the people you care about. Finally, spend 3 minutes envisioning three things you want to accomplish.

Next, listen to an inspiring audiobook or podcast while you commute to work, do household tasks or exercise.

“Prime yourself for courage,” he said, “rather than hoping you show up that way, based on the triggers of your environment.”


2. Start carrying a book

Instead of picking up your mobile phone when you are bored and checking social media status and posts, open a book or download an app whereby you learn about something new or inspirational.

Charlie Munger who is the vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway says young people should spend less time on their phones and more time buried in books.

“In my whole life, I have known no wise people who didn’t read all the time — none, zero,” says Munger, according to David Clark, author of “The Tao of Charlie Munger.” Scientific research also supports Charlie Munger’s advice to read more. Several studies have found that people who read regularly show higher levels of empathy and emotional intelligence and are more likely to stay mentally sharp.


3. Regularly exercise for 20 minutes a day

One of the best ways to feel more relaxed and regain lost focus is to partake in regular exercise.

Just 20 minutes a day of exercise which is less than the time you probably spend watching an episode of your favorite TV show has been proved to boost a person’s physical and mental health.

People that exercise vigorously for 150 minutes each week or approximately 20 minutes each day have better sleep than those who don’t.


4. Create and maintain a sleep routine

According to Dr. Philip Gehrman (assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine), if you have difficulty in falling asleep, it may be because you don’t have a proper sleep routine.

“Most people need a good hour of winding down down time before they’re just physically and mentally ready to go bed,” Gehrman said.

Do not eat immediately before bed because it can cause acid reflux and make you feel uncomfortable, he says. Give your body time to digest the food, also while having a glass of wine before bed may seem to make you tired, alcohol can cause disrupted sleep.

Instead, set up a relaxation routine such as Yoga, meditation, reading or progressive muscle relaxation are all techniques experts recommend.

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SpiritualityMeditation is easy to perform and practice and will ultimately give you a feeling of calmness and relaxation. The following meditation technique is easy to perform and can be very effective and takes only several minutes to learn. It will help you relax and reduce the stresses of everyday life.

Although there are many differing definitions of the term ‘meditation’, most dictionaries adopt he following translation:-

Continuous and profound contemplation or musing on a subject or series of subjects of a deep or abstruse nature.

With regular practice of Meditation, we can develop inner strength which leads to a happier and more fulfilled life. Part of meditation process involves discounting our wandering thoughts, when we do this, we can then calm and focus the mind whilst controlling the breath and sensory awareness.

The following technique allows us to control our life force, turn off other senses and allow the mind to become quiet. Regular practice of this technique will allow a constant sense of peace and realization that only comes from true meditation. The technique is a prayer and a meditation mantra, a mantra being a spiritually charged word or series of words.

Soham soham…(I am He, He am I…)

‘Soham’ is an ancient mystical term that should be experienced and not understood as it is so difficult to try and explain or understand. Some Yogis see it as a form of meditation whereas others see it as a concept.

To practice the soham meditation technique:-

  • Sit up straight with your spine in a line so that you do not slouch.
  • Ensure you are comfortable, sit on a chair or on the floor with a soft mat or meditation cushion,
  • Allow your mind to become silent and your emotions to be still whilst keeping your body relaxed.
  • As you do this meditation, focus on the inhalation and the air entering your nose and traveling down into your lungs. Recite the term ‘So‘.
  • As you exhale, imagine the air traveling out of your lungs, up to your nose and out of your body. Recite the term ‘Ham‘.

Continue with this meditation for as long as you feel comfortable, but no less than 5 minutes and no longer than 20 minutes until the meditation feels natural to go longer.

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Chakras are energy centres located in the body from the very base of the spine to the crown of the head. The word ‘Chakra’ aschakra with most meditation terminology is derived from the ancient language of ‘Sanskrit’ and can be translated as ‘wheel’ or ‘turning’. Thus, chakras are seen as ‘wheels of energy’.

In terms of western Meditative practice, there are typically seven chakras that we are concerned with. Each of the seven chakras has a corresponding color and certain characteristics that deal with aspects such as physical, psychological/emotional and spiritual state.

If we are well and in good health, our chakras are said to be balanced. If one of your chakras becomes blocked or unbalanced, this will manifest itself in the form of illness. One common method to unblock the affected chakra is to visualise the color of the chakra. There are also essential oils associated with each chakra that will promote the re-balancing process.


 Root Chakra (Muladhara)

The Root chakra signifies our foundations and of feelings of security and of being grounded. The Root chakra provides energy to the other chakras, thus if this chakra is blocked, then the other chakras will be blocked to some extent also.

Location: Base of the spine

Color: Red

Focuses on: Survival and stability and covering the necessity of basic needs such as food and money.

Seed syllable: Lam

Balanced chakra: Well-grounded and focused

Unbalanced chakra: Feelings of insecurity and frustration


Use rosemary or cedar wood essential oils.

Any Yoga asana that opens your lower spine will prove beneficial. The bridge pose is another good yoga pose to try. Sitting in the butterfly pose, take hold of the outside of your feet with both hands and begin to rock backwards and forwards allowing your hips to raise and then drop, and thus stimulating the perineum.


Sacral Chakra (Svadhisthana)

The Sacral Chakra is concerned with the ability to be creative, sexuality and acceptance of change.

Location: Just below navel

Color: Orange

Focuses on: Association to others with regard to emotional needs, sexuality, pleasure and creativity.

Seed syllable: Vam

Balanced chakra: Empathy for other people, balanced with a good sense of humour

Unbalanced chakra: Shy with feelings of guilt


Use sandalwood or orange blossom essential oils.

Moving your body or exercises that involve whole body movement and allow a greater flow of energy will help open the sacral chakra. The Cow Face yoga pose or the Fire Log pose will also aid the opening of this chakra.


Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura)

Location: Abdomen

Color: Yellow

Focuses on: Personal attributes such as confidence and self-esteem. Also concerned with decision making.

Seed syllable: Ram

Balanced chakra: Happy and confident, respectful

Unbalanced chakra: Suppressed emotions, signs of depression and low confidence


User amber or lemongrass essential oils.

To rebalance the Solar Plexus chakra, any Yoga pose that develops your core strength will be very beneficial and holding that pose for several minutes will provide greater rebalancing. Try the Chair pose, the Plank, the Four Limbed Staff pose or Warrior 1.


Heart Chakra (Anahata)

Location: Centre of the chest

Color: Green

Focuses on: Love, joy and compassion.

Seed syllable: Yam

Balanced chakra: Empathetic, wanting to help others

Unbalanced chakra: Unloving, upset, mean


Use basil, peppermint or fennel essential oils.

Rebalancing of the Heart chakra can be done by visualising the color green, wearing green clothing and/or eating green leafy vegetables; eating, sleeping and thinking green is a sure fire way to eliminate heart blockages.

It is important to get rid of any negativity you are holding and forgiving anyone that has shown you negativity.

Camel pose and eagle pose are good Yoga poses to open up the Heart chakra.


Throat Chakra (Vishuddha)

Location: Throat

Color: Blue

Focuses on: The ability to communicate, self-expression.

Seed syllable: Ham

Balanced chakra: Good communication skills and creative flare

Unbalanced chakra: Suppression of feelings, uncommunicative


Use blue camomile or lavender essential oils.

To rebalance the Throat chakra, it is important to release any feelings of guilt. This may be quite a journey of self-discovery and lead you to deeper, unchartered areas of your life, which have been suppressed.

Singing, poetry recital and consuming good quality foods that lubricate the throat are also beneficial.


Brow/3rd Eye Chakra (Ajna)

Location: Third eye

Color: Purple

Focuses on: The ability to make decisions and intuition. Also concerned with wisdom and vison.

Seed syllable: OM

Balanced chakra: Indecisive, lack of thought and vision

Unbalanced chakra: Preoccupied mind, lack of clarity and confusion and undisciplined. May experience headaches and sinus issues.


Use camphor or eucalyptus essential oils.

To re-balance the Ajna chakra, we can incorporate the use of crystals into our practice .For the Ajna chakra, the use of blue gemstones such as sodalite or lapis lazuli can be very beneficial. If using visualisation techniques then try to visualise the an indigo light or a indigo flame. Meditation with brainwave audio created specifically for the Ajna chakra will also help in the re-balancing.


Crown Chakra (Sahasrara)

Location: Crown of the head

Color: Indigo

Focuses on: Sacredness and complete bliss. Connection with the divine.

Seed syllable: Om

Balanced chakra: High level of spirituality and intelligence, open minded and peaceful

Unbalanced chakra: Lower levels of concentration, depression


Use jasmine, juniper or lavender essential oils.

Rebalancing of the Crown chakra can be done by simple meditation techniques. The most beneficial yoga pose to rebalance this chakra is the Half Lotus.


Chakra Meditation Exercise

Choose the chakra on which you want to focus on and surround yourself with objects or wear clothing of the color specific to that chakra.

Whilst in a comfortable seated meditation position, begin by chanting the seed syllable associated with the chosen chakra; whist chanting, focus your attention on the energy center.

Visualise the color linked to the chakra being drawn into the specific area of the body and then radiating out of the body;

Incorporating this meditative practice into your yoga practice can be very dynamic from a physical, psychological and spiritual perspective.



The above article outlines a non-exhaustive list of methods to realign the body’s Chakra system. Before starting any method of exercise, it is important to seek the advice of a qualified physician.

When working with the body’s different energy centers, guidance should also be sought from a Realised Guru. Different practitioners will have different experiences and it is important to understand what these experiences mean and what effect they are having on the body.

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Each and every day, we are faced with stressful situations leading to heightened levels of anxiety, loss of focus and control leading to an inability to function ‘normally’. One way to overcome anxiety is with pranayama techniques also referred to as breathing exercises. Pranayama can be translated as ‘prana’ meaning life force and ‘yama’ meaning control.

Regular and consistent pranayama practice can teach us to become consciously aware of our breath ultimately helping us to connect mind and body.

alternate nostril breathing

On a personal level, I use pranayama just before a meditation to help me prepare my mind and body for the forthcoming meditation session. Aside from this, pranayama is an excellent way to promote relaxation, quickly reduce stress levels and to calm a racing mind.

Below are 3 types of pranayama that can be used to quickly reduce anxiety levels and bring back that sense of normality.

  • Alternate nostril breathing
  • Abdominal breathing
  • Ujjayi (Victorious Breath)

It is important to maintain good posture during the breathing session; poor posture will lead to ineffective technique. You can perform these breathing exercises sitting on a chair, sitting straight but keeping your shoulders relaxed or sat cross legged, I find that sitting on a meditation cushion helps maintain good posture.

Alternate Nostril Breathing 

Take your index finger and middle finger of your right and fold them down towards the palm of your palm.  Perform the following steps:-

  1. Using the right thumb, close the right nostril and inhale through the left nostril
  2. Hold for a second
  3. Close the left nostril with your ring finger and exhale through the right nostril
  4. Pause for a second
  5. Keeping the left nostril closed, inhale through the right nostril
  6. Pause for a second
  7. Close the right nostril and exhale through the left nostril

Repeat these steps, alternating nostrils after each inhalation. Try and work up two minutes.

Abdominal breathing

This exercise is all about breathing air into your abdomen. The best position for this exercise is lying flat on your back; alternatively, you can perform this sitting on a chair. Place your hands on your abdomen, creating a sense of connectivity. Keeping your mouth closed, inhale through your nose, being aware of the air passing through your nostrils, down your oesophagus, into your lungs and the abdomen feeling it rise.

Begin exhaling through your nose allowing the abdomen to fall. Repeat this and settle into a steady rhythmic breathing cycle. Extend the technique by adding a short pause between inhalation and exhalation. Continue for as long as required.

abdominal breathing

Ujjayi (Victorious Breath)

Ujjayi breath is generally used in Yoga practice and allows for a deeper stretch but also heats the body for the inside out.

Sit up nice and straight and hold either your right or left palm approximately 2 inches away from your mouth. Inhale through your nose, and exhale through your mouth making an audible ‘haaa’ sound in the back of your throat and feel your breath on your palm.

Inhale again through your nose but keeping your mouth closed, exhaling through your nose, making the same ‘haaa’ sound in your throat. Continue for as long as required.

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