Sophrology Exercises for Everyday Life

Here’s a reminder of some of the basic techniques we’ve practiced in the exercises we did, and a few extras. At the end of the list are a few suggestions for how you can use them and a list of further resources.

Body Scan

Starting with your head release tensions and become present to each part of your body, progressing to your neck, shoulders, arms and hands, back, chest, abdomen, hips, legs and feet.

Listen to the audio for this exercise here.

Tense and Release

Breathe in, hold your breath and gently tense all the muscles in your whole body. Feel the tension, then breathe out and let go.

Do this 3 times.

Pause to notice how your body feels after this exercise.

Neck Exercise

Start with a small nodding ‘yes’ movement. Gently let it get bigger and bigger. Start with a small side-to-side ‘no’ movement. Gently let the movement get bigger and bigger. Starting small, rotate your head as if drawing a snail with your nose, spiralling outwards. Repeat in the other direction.

Pause to notice how your body feels after this exercise.

Shoulder Pumping

Standing, arms by your sides, make a gentle fist with both hands. Breathing in, lift your shoulders to your ears. Holding your breath, pump your shoulders up and down. Breathe out and relax your shoulders and arms.

Repeat 3 times.

Pause to notice your sensations after this exercise.

Chest Exercise

Bring your fists gently together in front of your chest. Breathe in, opening your fists across your expanding chest. Breathe out and let your fists come together again.

Do this three times.

Take a moment to notice how you feel.

Side Stretch

Start standing. Shift your weight a little over to one foot. Breathing in, lift your arm on the same side up above your head. Holding your breath, gently stretch all the way up your side, from your foot to your hand. Breathing out, let go, drop your arm and centre your weight again. Do this 3 times on each side.

Pause to notice how you feel inside.

Counted Breathing

Start to count your inbreath and outbreath. Find a count that is comfortable and make it even in and out. Then try lengthening the exhale by two or more counts

Try a variation: Breathe in to a comfortable count, wait for the same count, breathe out for the same count, wait for the same count. Continue – in, hold, out, hold, as if breathing along the four sides of a square using an even count.

Pause to welcome and notice all your sensations after this exercise.

Sunshine Breathing

Standing or sitting, imagine you are outside somewhere in a sunny place.

Breathe the sunshine in, letting it fill your body. Then use your out-breath to spread the sun’s light, warmth, energy throughout your whole body. Keep breathing the sunshine in and letting it spread.

Try the exercise using any positive element.

Pause to notice your sensations.

Here are a few more suggestions that take just a moment, to do throughout your day


Take a few micro-breaks in the day of 30 seconds or 1 minute. Close your eyes, let your shoulders drop, breathe in for 5 seconds, and out for 5 seconds during this time.

Breathe, Relax, Smile

As many times as you can in the day, take a conscious breath down into your belly, relax your body, and smile.


Try breathing out slowly and keep breathing out until you have no more breath in your lungs, then breathe out a little more, just once. Then do this regularly during the day. Notice how you feel.

Listen In

As often as you can today, bring your attention into your body – ask yourself, how do I feel inside my body? Listen in, notice any sensations with no judgement, just curiosity.


Suggestions for exercises to use for particular situations

Use the suggestions below to select an exercise according to what you need. Experiment and notice what works for you.


If you need …. Try these….
Focus or clarity Tense and Release; Neck Exercise; Micro-break
Energy or resilience Shoulder Pumping; Sunshine Breathing
Calm or to quieten thoughts Body Scan; Neck Exercise; Counted Breathing
Stress release or more ease Tense and Release; Shoulder Pumping; Exhale
Confidence or courage Chest Exercise; Side Stretch; Counted Breathing
Emotion regulation or connection with others Tense and Release; Counted Breathing (Square); Listen In
Positivity or joy Chest Exercise; Sunshine Breathing; Breathe, Relax, Smile


Regular practice will deliver results

Several studies have shown that ten minutes of practice each day can bring lasting benefits. It’s like building physical strength and fitness – you don’t go to the gym once and enter a triathlon! Regular practice over time builds the capacity to experience balance and ‘quiet’ in daily life, and to shift your state of mind and body at will when you need it most. Developing a new habit requires getting out of old ruts which may be very deep and establishing a new track which can eventually be followed automatically. Here are a few tips for practising:

1. Anchor your practice to an existing routine

  • Behaviour tends to stick much more easily this way.

2. Involve a friend or colleague

  • Share your intentions and agree to check-in regularly on progress.
  • Do a daily exercise together as a team. Challenge another team to keep it up for 40 days!

3. Deliberately identify cues and rewards ahead of time

  • Use a daily trigger to start your practice.

4. Make a manageable plan for the week

  • Decide in advance which exercises you’ll day on each day of the week and keep them short.

5. Make sure you do the most important things earlier in the day

  • Self-regulation can feel like a muscle—after exercise it gets tired and doesn’t work as well.

6. Record your practice regularly and note what was positive about it

  • A sense of accomplishment can trigger our reward circuits to reinforce a habit. Try a habit tracking App.


Further Resources and Reading

Find audios of some of the exercises on YouTube: The Sophrology Academy

Follow on Facebook or Instagram for a short practice idea for the week, every week:

  • Facebook: @TheSophrologyAcademy
  • Instagram: @sophroacademy

Articles for further reading:

Trello. Harness the power of sophrology for better work-life harmony

Longevity. How the sophrology method brings success to your work, sport and life

McKinsey Quarterly: Want to be a better leader? Observe more, react less

If you would like to take sophrology further, either for yourself or your team, find out more about how we can support you here or email us at