As wellness meetings gain in popularity, it’s difficult to remember a time when yoga, meditation or massage breaks weren’t part of the schedule.
But let’s face it, not all attendees have the patience or attention span to properly benefit from the sit-still-and-focus approach of the Buddhist-based practice of mindfulness. Enter sophrology, a practice that combines yoga, Tibetan Buddhism, Japanese Zen, hypnosis, psychology and neurology with a more dynamic approach to stress relief. In several countries throughout Europe, this mindfulness alternative has become so mainstream that the French rugby team and wellbeing-guru Ariana Huffington swear by the practice, reported The Guardian. Sophrology even dates back to the early 1960s, before Jon Kabat-Zinn reinvented Buddhist meditation for the modern world in the early 1970s. Sophrology’s 12 levels give the person practicing something physical to react to, dubbed “dynamic relaxation,” as opposed to just being still, as in traditional Buddhist-based meditation. Dominique Antiglio, author of “The Life-Changing Power of Sophrology,” shared with The Guardian that the first level of sophrology pertains to releasing tension and “listening” to changes occurring in the body. One way to do this is by putting your fingertips on a specific part of your body (such as the forehead), then inhaling, tensing the area and releasing the tension through exhalation. The levels only expand upon simple mind-and-body awareness to more advanced self-discovery exercises. Of course, The Guardian isn’t the only mainstream media outlet discussing the new wellness fad. NBC News also recently interviewed, Niamh Lyons, founder of American Sophrology, about the practice. For more information, meeting planners can check out Antiglio’s book that was released earlier this spring, or even watch this YouTube video with 11 sophrology exercises to get you started.
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