Stressed, anxious and saturated with multiple solicitations, more and more people from Aude are trying to “slow down and reconnect with themselves”. Relaxation institutes, mindfulness meditation centers, sophrology practice, yoga, qi gong: so many ways to achieve this. But what can all these techniques bring – concretely – to those who practice them? We asked the question to wellness professionals.
“Zen, let’s be zen…” These words of Zazie have never been so topical. In a world where everything is going fast. Too fast even. Where we are solicited from all sides, with great blows of emails and notifications of all kinds, it is not easy to find the off button. And to really relax. For real. This “pause” button, more and more Audois have sought it from meditation, sophrology, yoga or even qi gong. Because the time when these practices were perceived as a domain reserved for the cool babes consuming vegan and gluten-free is over. Bygone to the point that it is not uncommon while strolling through the streets of Carcassonne, Narbonne, Limoux, to come across relaxation institutes, mindfulness meditation centers. What do these techniques imported from Asia bring concretely? Is this a simple fad or are we witnessing the awakening of the West in terms of well-being? Response elements.
He left his job as a trader in London to become a sophrologist in Carcassonne
“Today, I earn ten times less money but I am in good health.” Gone are the days when Stephen Davis took the 5:12 a.m. train to his office in the City, the financial heart of London. At the end of the 1990s, after ten years of juggling investments, the trader at the time suffered a burnout. The term does not yet exist but it has all the symptoms. “At 6:30 a.m., I was in front of my six screens. I had four telephones just for me. At noon, I ate in front of my post. In the evening, when I went out, I went to drink with customers at the pub until at midnight. And if I missed the last train, I sometimes slept on the floor on the carpet of my office […] I had ulcers, back pain, sleep problems. I was stressed all the time. I drank heavily and smoked three packs of cigarettes a day. One day, I fell into depression”, remembers the Englishman who became Carcassonnais more than 20 years ago. Stephen then left his job paid nearly 180,000 € per year. And comes to settle in the south of France. It still doesn’t work. He then left for India. Then in China, “self-discovery” in various schools of meditation.
All these protocols around the body and the mind have given meaning to my life. Unlike us in the West, Asians do not separate body and mind, everything is linked
“Qigong, kundalini yoga, meditation… All these protocols around the body and the mind have given meaning to my life. Unlike us in the West, Asians do not separate body and mind, everything is linked. Even if I see that this is less and less the case, at home, we are like cut in two. On his return to France, he trained in sophrology and opened his practice in Carcassonne. He provides sessions of sophrology, secular meditation and MBSR, a stress reduction program based on mindfulness. Every week, he also intervenes at the psychiatric clinic of Miremont in Badens with hospitalized people.
In 15-20 years, these practices will be normalized as sport has been
At the forefront of democratizing wellness, the instructor explains why he believes the world is increasingly turning to these practices: “This popularization is certain. For me, it’s because we talk about it more and more in the media. In particular thanks to the psychiatrist Christophe André, one of the stars of well-being in France. This doctor put a spotlight on meditation, which not so long ago was considered a kind of cult. In the 70s and 80s, when people took up jogging, parks, we made fun of them. Today, almost everyone does a little sport and knows the benefits. For me, in 15-20 years, these practices will be normalized as sport has been”he believes.
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But what are the benefits? How can sitting cross-legged, closing your eyes and doing nothing do us any good? “People who come to see me suffer from stress, anxiety, panic attacks, ruminations…Meditation is not about not thinking or clearing your head. Meditation helps us come back in the present moment, to find emotional stability. By identifying the moments of stress that go through us, by observing them, by trying to understand what is happening in our body at these precise moments. I know lots of people who knew these techniques from afar, found them a little strange and who now meditate every day. I can say with conviction that it feels good. That it helps. Of course, it does not replace medicine, but it is complementary.”
“Slow Down and Reclaim”
Still in Carcassonne. Studio Zen – created in 2009 – is always full. Led by Martine Plas-Raynaud and Philippe Raynaud, this center with 70 members offers three types of yoga: kundalini, yin and hatha. But also pilates, fitness and MBSR classes. “The idea of this center is to offer different entry points to our subscribers so that they can find their balance. All this, by offering them tools to help them free their minds. Tools to calm down, to give space in them and no longer suffer their daily life”, explains Philippe Raynaud. According to him, this boom in well-being is the consequence of today’s society, where everything is going at a thousand miles an hour: “Our members are people who want to slow down and who have decided to learn to listen to their feelings. In this ultra-stressful world, it is necessary to learn to act but not react to the hassles of everyday life. To stabilize at inside, to reconquer oneself”.
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Aude: yoga, meditation, sophrology… the boom in well-being practices to reconnect with oneself
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