A Talk with Dominique Antiglio, author of The Life-Changing Power of Sophrology

Dominique Antiglio is the author of The Life Changing Power of Sophrology: Breathe and Connect with the Calm and Happy You. She is a Sophrologist specializing in stress-management, self-development, and birth preparation. Born in Switzerland, Dominique started Sophrology at fifteen years old, learning early ways to positively connect with herself and embrace a new way of living. At twenty-five, she graduated from the renowned European School of Osteopathy in Kent obtaining her Bsc(Hons) Ost. She returned to her native hometown and ran a successful osteopathic clinic for a decade, as well as specializing in treating children and pregnant women in France and the US. At the same time, she continued her personal development journey with Sophrology and trained as a Sophrologist. Dominique gained her Masters in Caycedian Sophrology (2006), notably training with Professor Caycedo, the founder of the method. Passionate about the mind-body connection, she also explored the power of sound and obtained her Holistic Voice Diploma in 2013 in the UK.

In 2011, having witnessed so many positive changes through the power of Sophrology for herself and her clients, she moved to London and founded BeSophro, a leading Sophrology clinic in Mayfair with an online platform. Through BeSophro she supports and inspires a wide variety of clients, individually and in groups, and working with schools and in the corporate environment, enthusiastically promoting the benefits of Sophrology in the UK and beyond. Her work has notably been featured in the Guardian, the Telegraph and Psychologies magazine. In 2015, Dominique also became a mother.

What is Sophrology and why is it set to be the biggest wellbeing trend in the US yet?

Sophrology is a stress-management and self-development method based on a practice for body and mind. Sophrology uniquely blends the essence of Eastern practices like meditation and yoga with Western science like relaxation, psychology, neurology into a simple practice to build resilience, positivity and transform your daily experiences.

Sophrology combines relaxation, breathing, gentle movement and visualization to help you connect with yourself and find the strength you never knew you had. Today’s world can be extremely challenging due to working long hours, feeling under pressure, trying to keep work-life balance, or to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It is easy to become stressed, struggle with anxiety, encounter sleep problems or lose confidence.

The practice of Sophrology has been widely used in Continental Europe for more than 50 years, having helped millions of people to regain balance and achieve their personal goals. I think the US is ready to discover this unique evolution of long-respected practices and take its well-being to the next level.

What can Americans learn from the Swiss, French and more recently, the Brits?

That self-development and transforming your daily life doesn’t need to be complicated or time consuming. Practicing just 10 minutes a day will transform the way you connect with yourself and the way you see the world. The Swiss have included Sophrology in the National Health Insurance and it has proven to be very useful in reducing the amount of drug people take for example. Learning Sophrology is a way to take responsibility in your journey and find positive ways to deal with life challenges.

Mindfulness, meditation, yoga – what’s the next step in the evolution of health and well being?

Everybody now agrees that mindfulness, meditation, and yoga are extremely beneficial to our health and well being. Nevertheless, some people still struggle with finding time to implement these practices, or find yoga physically too demanding or simply can’t calm their minds during meditation. Some are also looking for help with specific issues around confidence, sleep, anxiety or stress. With Sophrology, you can access the resources of consciousness anywhere through simple practical exercises. The practice doesn’t need to be long and the unique combination of relaxation, breathing, movement and visualization will help even the most stressed mind to connect, increase well being or self- development.

How can Sophrology help to reduce stress, anxiety and life burn-out?

When we are highly stressed it affects both body and mind. We enter that fight or flight state which is useful for an emergency situation but not when we sit in traffic or when we are at work. With Sophrology we learn to recognize that state and through the practice people are learning to use their mind body connection to restore balance. The combination of relaxation, breathing, movement, and visualization allows people to recuperate and build new strength. The practice is performed into a state of relaxation where we shift into a alpha brain wave state, a state that has been proven to be restorative. As people calm and ground and mind-body awareness grows through the practice, people naturally start to make more positive choices about how they want to live their lives, set new boundaries, and find more purpose in their journey. The practice supports them in feeling more in control and cultivate their version of happiness.

How can Sophrology enhance self-performance, personally and professionally?

Sophrology is widely acknowledged as a tool that can help to enhance physical performance by priming the mind mentally. Exams, sports competitions, presentation or surgeries, we can prepare the mind and body to stay calm and centered in these situations so negative stress doesn’t take over. That way, we are as free as possible to perform. We use a combination of body awareness exercises and visualization to help prepare every aspect and train our resilience for any situations.

Why is mental health still such a taboo subject and what can we do to change it?

I think there is a fear around mental health, people don’t see that like physical health and taking care of our bodies by eating well and moving, there are simple ways to look after mental health like taking the time to restore our energy, cultivate social interaction and learning a method like Sophrology to remain in tune with how we feel. That feeling under the weather or being in tune with our emotions is not a sign of weakness, it is just a sign that something is happening within our psyche that needs to be recognized and processed in order to reach the next level of awareness.

Technology has dramatically improved our lives, but what has it done to our mental health?

Technology is a strength when we are in control of it and not the other way around. When we use screens just before sleep as a way to “switch” off from our days or when we give more importance to social media than live interactions than we are not helping ourselves. The risk is to become disconnected from our true self and our true potential.

How did a Columbian neuro-psychiatrist come to develop Sophrology?

Sophrology was created 60 years ago in Spain by psychiatrist and neurologist, Professor Alfonso Caycedo. Very little had been studied around consciousness itself and he wanted to understand how we can positively influence consciousness with gentler methods than the ones used at the time. He travelled to India, Tibet, and Japan to observe how yogis and meditation masters tapped into consciousness with their practices. When he came back to Spain after a few years, he came up with the first 4 Levels of Sophrology uniquely blending the essence of Eastern practice with Western science (psychology, neuro-science, hypnosis, and phenomenology). From that time, the method rapidly grew in the medical world notably for birth preparation and rapidly spread to the sport, corporate, and school environments.

What are the easiest tips and tricks for incorporating Sophrology into your daily life?

The practice of Sophrology shouldn’t be another pressure in your life, so start with a few minutes of practice and see where it takes you. As you read my book and practice my guided audio exercises, you will discover what you works best for you. Do it standing, sitting, with movement or breathing to help you start to connect. Just follow works for you and you will soon become a pro!

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