The power of Sophrology lies with the unique way the technique connects the body and mind to effect balance and change. It affects the way we feel about situations, emotions, action and results. Sophrology is a meditative practice that helps us change our outlook with regard to events, how we experience them, and how we can manage them.
Sophrology teaches you first to accept reality, live in the moment with no regrets and resentment for past issues, and no anxiety for the future. Through breathing exercises, relaxation, greater body awareness and the use of visualisation, you are guided and assisted to relax, focus and connect with your inner resilience, which in turn improves your mental and physical health.
How does this link with sport?
If you clear your mind of doubts of achievement, you will naturally empower your thinking. You become honed and focused on succeeding – so much so that you literally transform your vital energy and actual state of being into a powerhouse of intense resolve. You develop what might be called a ‘dynamic state of relaxation, determination and assuredness’.
Overcoming stress and anxiety are key to improving sporting performance – with regard to time, endurance and positive mental perception. With emotions brought under control, the mind moves into stronger intention and vision of the moment. Success is envisioned, constituted and confirmed in the mind. All extraneous emotional noise, past and future, are dissolved, and only the focus of the moment motivates the athlete forward.
Sophrology and Autogenic Training
Dr Abrezol adapted Autogenic training to be used in conjunction with Sophrology within the sports training arena to increase physical performance to exceptional levels. He began by teaching Sophrology exercises to the Swiss ski team competing in the Olympics. Following their huge success in gaining gold medals, he began to take his technique across Europe.
- Autogenics is the ability of the mind to physiologically change how the body is responding to external influences. In fact you can use autogenics to help overcome various psychological or physiological issues.
- The autogenic component of Sophrology as practiced during the dynamic relaxation exercises is a valuable technique for controlling performance anxiety. An athlete can learn how to create feelings of heaviness or lightness, or even differences in temperature in different parts of the body, thereby experiencing a state of enhanced physical relaxation, body health, mental calm and pure focus.
- Regular practice of dynamic relaxation techniques helps to slow the heart rate and , increase oxygen intake, while simultaneously calming and focusing the mind. All of which leads to improved skill and performance.
- When an athlete knows they can break the anxiety cycle and use the energy of their anxiety in a more positive way, they are able to adjust their energy levels to reach an increased level of performance.
Key points of sports improvement
Keeping calm under pressure:
This is vital – and can make all the difference between winning or losing.
The power of the mind is the real power in sport:
The mind is probably the most powerful muscle in the body when it comes to professional sport! A tuned and intensely focused mind is the asset you want in any competition.
Pain relief and recovery after injury:
Sophrology is so effective in strengthening the mind, that the recovery process after an injury can be increased when the technique is practiced. The mind goes deep into the cellular level so that pain is no longer experienced; as the body and mind relax and connect, cells are able to repair and renew. In fact, success has been so duly noted that Sophrology is now recommended by French doctors both prior to, and post-surgery.