Sophrology techniques to sharpen your mental attention

Try these two simple sophrology methods to sharpen your mental attention and relax before training or a race.

Are you looking for a way to sharpen your mental focus, relax your body and improve your running performance? Sophrology could be the answer, says Claire Chamberlain.

According to Dominique Antiglio, author of The Life-Changing Power of Sophrology, ‘sophrology is a wellbeing and self-development guided practice – an evolution of meditation and mindfulness – that blends Eastern philosophies and Western science to tap into your resilience and strength, so you can deal with life’s challenges more effectively.’

Try out these two techniques before your next run or training session.

The Pump

This technique will help to release any undue stress, tightness or tension before a run or race, so that you can improve your physical performance. 

  1. Standing tall, let your arms fall straight alongside your body and start to clench your fists.
  2. Now, exhale through your mouth, then inhale through your nose and hold the breath. As you hold the breath, move both your shoulders up and down until you need to exhale again.
  3. As you exhale vigorously, relax your arms and hands completely, and notice the sensations, especially in the shoulders, arms and hands. Notice, too, how your whole body now instantly feels much less tense.
  4. Repeat until you notice your attention is fully on your body in the present moment, and you are ready to take on the run or race that awaits you.

The Tratac

Sharpen your attention with this focusing technique, which is helpful for competitive sessions or races. It engages both your brain and body and increases your ability to focus on a single task. Research shows that a simple ‘tracking the object’ exercise causes increased interaction between the right and left hemispheres of the brain, to sharpen focus and boost performance. Repeat three times, or until you feel focused, engaged and ready to perform. 

  1. Hold one arm straight out in front of you and focus your gaze on your thumbnail.
  2. Inhale through your nose and hold your breath while very slowly drawing your thumb towards the space between your eyebrows – your eyes will naturally cross.
  3. Then close your eyes and exhale through the mouth, while moving your hand away. Repeat.

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