Archive for » September, 2013 «

@ Mindfulness at Robert C. Parker School

Here is a wonderful blog by Meg Taylor Head of Robert C. Parker School (1) on how the school is introducing mindfulness in various modes. Focusing on breathing (2) is a popular mode in the elementary grades, now being extended to the middle school.

” Learning to channel attention to productive tasks, to sustain motivation when work becomes demanding, and to handle the frustrations of sharing, learning, and communicating with peers are skills that depend on the ability to understand and manage emotions.

As one part of our effort to help children build emotional resiliency and self control, we use mindfulness techniques with them every day. Our faculty has worked with C S Rao (3), a grandparent in our school, to learn a form of breathing (2) that allows us to quickly relax and tune out distractions. He calls it ‘Counting Breaths’ (2) and it has the effect of feeding oxygen to the brain, calming emotions, clearing a busy mind, and giving a sense of peace and focus.

Teachers have adapted CS’s ideas for classroom practice. In Pre K 3, a chime is rung and children breathe smoothly and quietly, as the chime sound diminishes.

In Pre K 4, students use the image of falling leaves while they breathe.

In K-1, Liliana has adopted the language “going into your silence” as children sit quietly in both mind and body and breath slowly.

Grade 2-3’s practice taking five slow clearing breaths as do the 4-5’s. (4)

This year middle school teachers are going to teach the students CS’s method of using the fingers to count breaths. As CS says, the technique can be used anytime – when you can’t sleep at night, or if you are feeling anxious (5). And it works! I use it in the middle of the night when my mind is racing (6).

The effect with children is very positive. They have a strategy to calm themselves that they can use anywhere. It is a great tool for successfully negotiating frustrations, stress and anxiety and gaining attentiveness and focus. Having the ability to be mindful gives children confidence that they can handle difficult things (7). That is a gift for any individual.

You can read more in this complex and fascinating article “Why Teaching Mindfulness Benefits Students’ Learning”, in Mind/Shift (8).”

(1) Perspectives on Parker Blogspot
(2) How Can I Focus On Breathing?
(3) Suryanarayana Chennapragada
(4) Breathing breaks in the classroom – Report by Lynn Schuster
(5) Daytime practice
(6) How to Enjoy Quality Sleep and Conquer Insomnia?
(7) Benefits for Mind, Body and Relationships
(8) “Why Teaching Mindfulness Benefits Students’ Learning”  Post in Mind/Shift

Related pages
Training children

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@ Getting off the Hypertension Medication

Feedback from a client, a patient of my daughter Padma Sripada MD (3) who attended 4 of my classes. Before attending the classes he was under severe stress due to his fiancee’s verbally abusive behavior. Practicing the breathing technique (1) and adopting my suggestions for effectively dealing with his fiancee (2), helped him take a decision to break off the toxic relationship. Apparently the relief from breaking off the stressful relationship combined with the relief from overall anxiety by practicing the technique resulted in significantly lowering his long standing high BP (high blood pressure/Hypertension) (4).  His recent mail reads –

“I met with Dr Padma Sripada this morning.  My BP was 140/90 – not too bad since I have not been taking my BP medication for the last 6 weeks. Also I have been eating out for the last 2 weeks due to my kitchen being remodeled. She has lowered my dose and said that once my stress is over and if it is OK,  I can stop taking the BP medication altogether.”

(1) How can I focus on breathing?
(2) Relationship related articles
(3) Padma Sripada MD
(4) He was under medication for high BP for more than 6 years. The BP readings over the last 6 months were – 135/98, 175/124, 172/109 and 163/111.

Related pages
His previous feedback
Relief from Hypertension – Success stories

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@ Anger, Anxiety and Disturbed thoughts relieved

Feedback from a young man who attended 2 of my classes after practicing the technique (1) on his own, using my handouts (2) for about 9 months. 

He reported improvement on a host of mental, physical and relationship issues. Also a dramatic reduction in the following concerns that he experienced before practicing the techniques. His previous reports are at (3).

  • Anger: Relieved by 80%
  • Anxiety and Stress: Relieved by 70%
  • Disturbing thoughts and feelings: Relieved by 95%

Before: “Something very bad happen every day.”

Now: “So much less. Most situations, I can handle and working on the ones I have problems with.” 

For the first time in many years, he is now thinking of a career plan for which he had no inclination due to his depression, anxiety and stress.

(1) How can I focus on breathing?
Waking up routine
(2) Documents for download
(3) Insomnia and stress relieved
Cutting down mental health medicines

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@ Insomnia and stress relieved

I was periodically meeting an young person in a store. He was obese. I gave him my handouts (2) and suggested to try the technique (1) at night, to enjoy good sleep (4).  Whenever I met him on business, I inquired about his practice and spoke a few encouraging words. I also loaned him two books on eating healthy (6). He practiced the ‘focusing on breathing’ technique (1) by himself for about 9 months. He told me that he had severe insomnia and depression for many years and was on medication. He shared the following feedback when he came to my first class. His previous report on cutting down his mental health medicines is at (5). 

Insomnia

Before: He had insomnia almost all his life. Sometimes he could not sleep for two days in a row.

Now: He has been using the segment mode (3) and enjoying sound sleep.  His insomnia is completely resolved.

 Stress at work

Before: He works in a packing and shipping store. Being the person responsible for handling customer complaints about damaged parcels, he had to face the angry outbursts of some customers, sometimes even threatening physical gestures. Such situations were unnerving and extremely  stressful to him.

Now: He is able to keep his cool in such situations. The claims due to damaged parcels upset the owner of the store as she had to bear the losses. She used to take out her frustration on the employees. One day all the employees were almost walking out of the store. This guy was the one who kept his cool and persuaded the other employees to stay back, explaining that the owner was behaving like that due to her own stress and she did not mean to hurt their feelings. He is surprised at this dramatic change in his own attitude and attributes it to his practicing this calming technique.

(1) How can I focus on breathing?
(2) Documents for download
(3) Segment mode
(4) Hows to enjoy quality sleep and conquer insomnia?
(5) His previous feedback on cutting down mental health medicines
(6) Two books:  “Eat more, Weigh less” by Dean Ornish M.D and “Mindless eating” by Brain Wansink Ph.D. He liked these books and started using the ideas from them, like cutting down his meat consumption. He also started practicing Yoga at home using a DVD. He lost about 20 lbs. as  a result.

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