Stronger, faster, happier: to achieve success in any performance, motivation and strong mental and physical preparation are key. Discover how Sophrology can support cyclists not only in winning but also in being happy individuals their daily life. Dominique has written this article as an expert Sophrologist for the Heels on Wheels event taking place in Mallorca in April 2015. It is a very special event combining a challenging cycling ride and a relaxing luxury atmosphere, a women-only event. Dominique is notably supporting the athletes with Sophrology to be ready for the race. See article below.
Fancy becoming a winning machine? Who wouldn’t? Whether it’s cycling or life in general, having a winning attitude helps. To achieve success in any performance, motivation and a strong mental and physical preparation are key. Knowing how to recuperate too plays an important part. What if we could achieve all of these while also performing better in other areas of life by learning to be more balanced and happier?
How Sophrology can improve performance
Sophrology is a self-development method to bring more harmony in mind and body while raising self-awareness.
Founded by neuropsychiatrist Alfonso Caycedo in 1960, Sophrology was initially used medically to support a more natural approach to imbalances of the mind.
Raymond Abrezol, a well-respected doctor in Switzerland, helped develop it for the application in high level sports, notably supporting the Swiss national ski team and many other Olympic athletes and world champions.
I have had the chance to meet and work with Raymond Abrezol and learned applied Sophrology with him. I have also travelled with him to India a few times. His passion for Sophrology and his belief in human potential was infectious.
Sophrology in sports allows an athlete/competitor to improve self-control through building a positive and effective mind/body connection. The result? More concentration, more motivation, more stamina, confidence, better movement and coordination. You could say that Sophrology is the kind of preparation that allows you to programme yourself to achieve better athletic performances.
But Sophrology is not just about becoming a winning machine: it goes beyond that to create a better individual all around. In fact, the psychological and spiritual aspects of an individual develop alongside the improvement in physical performance through the regular practice of Sophrology.
The aim of Sophrology in sports performance
The aim of Sophrology in sporting competitions goes beyond preparing for the sporting event itself, but it is also a toolkit of techniques and theories to learn to “overcome yourself”, to go beyond what you think is possible.
We all have physiological limits, whether we accept it or not, but by learning to adapt to life’s challenges and different situations in sports, a sport person can remain calm and balanced to perform at their best. It is about developing more and more self-awareness, understanding our mind, body and emotions to be able to live life to the full.
The aim of Sophrology is also to better prepare the body to prevent injuries and make the most of recuperation between competitions. Injury prevention becomes an integral part of a career in a sport person – more so than simply winning at competitions and potentially hurting the body through overwork.
Sophrology uses dynamic relaxation, body awareness, conscious movements, visualisation and concentration to prepare for a sporting event; it goes beyond relaxation to increase the overall quality of life.
How you can use Sophrology to prepare for a sporting event
You can use many Sophrology exercises before an important event to help you concentrate and make the most of you physical resources: for example, you can do some specific breathing exercises to prepare the body for an intense effort, to warm up, to remain centered during a competition, to go through a difficult phase where the body is struggling during effort etc…
To be efficient on the day of the competition and to recuperate faster, a regular Sophrology practice can be of great help, as long as you are consistent. Sophrology exercises need to be repeated every day allowing the competitor to be fully in tune on the day of the sporting competition.
Learning to let go of any unnecessary tension linked with fear, anticipation, anxiety (including worries of potential injuries) is like re-programming the body positively. That, in turn, allows the body to use all its resources in the best way from concentration, to oxygenation and confidence, all the way to being able to better manage emotions and learning to live in the moment (ie, not worrying about past or future).
Additional benefits of using Sophrology in sports include being more attentive to the team and the coach without loosing your own focus and responding to all situations in the right way. In a nutshell, by practising Sophrology regularly, you learn to be in the flow, feel more motivated, you start thinking more positively while letting go of the negative thoughts.
Most of the work is done through breathing and concentration: in preparation for an event and during an event, particularly during effort, to keep a relaxed and totally focused mind.
As Raymond Abrezol used to tell me, as a Sophrologist you want to help clients to be winners and help them perform at their best, but, most importantly, the Sophrology practice will remind them they are also human, and when the competition is over, they are balanced individuals, having found what they value in life, that the can also be fully confident outside of the sporting world. This will only make them better athletes and Sophrology allows that as it offers to expand and balance consciousness through the journey they experience through the body.
For more information on how Sophrology can help you, please contact Dominique Antiglio.
Dominique is the founder of BeSophro and one of the UK’s leading Sophrologists, having gained her masters in Caycedian Sophrology with Professor Caycedo, the founder of Sophrology. She has extensive training in osteopathy, cranio-sacral osteopathy, pregnancy specialisation and holistic voice therapy. In addition, Dominique has more than 14 years of experience as a therapist, witnessing lots of positive change in people’s lives. Dominique employs a unique balance of science and empathetic therapy with her clients making good use of the mind/body links. Significantly, she teaches methods of stress management and self-development that can be practised at home, or anywhere, enabling clients to continue their personal journeys after their therapy sessions have finished.