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+ Stress reduced

Feedback from Joanne (not real name) who attended my classes along with her husband. Her husband could not come after the first class. She was referred to me by Rani Gandham MD (Pediatrics) for her husband’s sleep problem. He was recovering from major neck surgery. Her responses to my questions is here.

(A) How is your husband doing?

He is doing much better.

(B) What were the problems you had before doing the classes and the stress level at that time?

  • Stressed out thinking about health of husband (his suffering from pains after surgery) was 8 out of 10.
  • My work related stress was 5 out of 10.

(C) The practices that you learned from the classes which worked for you.

  • Realizing from your counseling that in spite of my great love for him and desire to ease his suffering, I can’t share his pains. He alone has to bear them. This thinking eased my stress remarkably.
  • Breathing reduced my overall stress (1).
  • Listening to my networking friend was a recurring source of stress for me. As suggested, I stopped picking up her calls, allowing her to leave a message. This helped.
  • I also practiced the ‘Tongue tip positioning’ suggested at the two times that created lot of stress for me: when listening to my hyper friend and also listening to  the attorneys arguing for their clients as part of my office work. This practice has made a huge difference (2).

(D) Where did you practice?

  • At home
  • At work

(E) The benefits or improvements you felt

I am much calmer.

(1) ‘Focusing on breathing’
(2) Tongue tip positioning (Releasing tension in the jaws) 

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+ I struck gold in ‘Counting breaths’

This post is a testimonial from Naveen (name changed), a Software Engineer from India around 30 years age. He searched on- line for such techniques, found this website  and e-mailed me in Oct 2014 “I have been trying to practice ‘focusing on breathing’. I want to improve my practice and gain better results. I am looking for more guidelines and motivation from you. “

We exchanged e-mails for 9 months. He raised numerous doubts about the practical aspects of ‘focusing on breathing’ (1). His problems were compounded by intense self doubts. He did a service to others by persistently seeking clarity on minute aspects of the practice. I will post his questions and my answers as FAQ’s.

He was one of my unique clients. He extensively studied these webpages, sought my support and made wonderful use of both. His gradually got over his most pressing problems. I made cosmetic changes and added footnotes to his testimonial.  His success story may inspire young people looking for simple and no-hassle techniques, to lead a stress-free life.

” I thank Suryanarayana Chennapragada (C S) for sharing plethora of knowledge on the internet for the benefit of every human being. I still remember the day I struck gold in the form of “Counting breaths” presented in such a simple manner (2).

I practiced these modes and techniques (1) 

  • Segment mode (1)
  • Counting mode (1)
  • Feeling mode (1)
  • ‘Waking up postures on the bed’ (Sometimes) (8)
  • ‘Yoga stretching movements – Standing (9)

My practice times (10)

  • Bedtime
  • Driving/ traveling
  • On returning home from work
  • Bored
  • Tired

Articles
Every time I read his articles, I unearth something new (3). Here are a few of his thoughts that got stuck in my mind.

  • Thoughts are like clouds (4).
  • Humans are designed to think negatively. Negative thoughts can’t harm us in any manner. We don’t have to be afraid of them or hate them. When they bother you, distract your mind by ‘focusing on breathing’ (5).
  • Feel the coolness inside the nose during the in-breath and count during the out-breath (1) !! This has become my slogan.
  • Have patience. Tirelessly focus on the breath.
  • Pat yourself for even small successes (5).

The benefits I gained 

  • I find improvement in Anxiety, Confidence, Disturbing Thoughts/Feelings, Focus.
  • I realize lot of things happening in my body like not breathing well and getting indications to go and take rest. 🙂
  • Have more patience in dealing with people.
  • Am able to differentiate between useful and useless thoughts. I had negative thoughts very  often. I still get them but I change my focus to the breath and they get reduced. 60 % improved.
  • Sleep: My sleep was not good. It has improved in hours and quality by 80 %. 🙂  (6)
  • I was not feeling fresh. Now  I feel fresh after focusing on breath. 70 % improved.
  • I have a tool to calm my mind and relax my body.
  • Improved my focus on the task in hand.

Interesting aspects of ‘C S’

Though he is in a different part of the world, he never missed responding to my numerous questions, fears and doubts. I never met him personally but have an unbreakable bond with him. He has a special place in my life. Though I do not communicate with him for days, he is always at the back of my mind. Amazing!! Great service to humanity !!! God bless him.”

(1) Focusing on breathing
(2) Counting mode
(3) My articles 30+
(4) Thoughts are like – Viewing thoughts in 9 different ways
(5) ‘Who is controlling your mind? Not you’ – my long booklet of 23 pages. My research on ‘counting breaths’ started with distributing copies of this booklet to about 100 people in the paper factory (ITC PSPD (7)) where I worked. They practiced from my booklet or a small handout without attending any classes. Their remarkable reports motivated me to keep on propagating this technique. Hopefully it will live beyond my life time.
(6) Success stories of relief from sleep problems and insomnia.
(7) ITC PSPD
(8) Waking up postures on the bed
(9) Yoga stretching movements – Standing
(10) Daytime practice

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Seminar for children 8-15 years

An introductory seminar for 12 children Gr 3-10 and 7 parents was done at a home in Schenectady  on December 12, 2015. They belong to Albany Sai Center whose members meet periodically to do bhajans and listen to spiritual teachings of Sri Satya Sai Baba (2). A folder containing my key handouts  and sample testimonials was given to each parent and a handout tailored for children to each child in a sheet protector (1). We agreed to meet again for 2 follow up sessions to help the children make this practice a part of their daily routine.   

Summary of their Feedback
Children – 12

Scanned images of the feedback forms

When I practiced (during the seminar) I felt

  • Good – Gr 3
  • Calm, Peaceful and Relaxing – Gr 4
  • Quiet, Calm – Gr 4
  • Quiet & Peaceful – Gr 5
  • Calm, Peaceful – Gr 5
  • Calm, Relaxed, Refreshed, Unstressed – Gr 7
  • Calm, Relaxed, My mind was in a different state – Gr 8
  • Calm – Gr 9
  • Relaxed and Calm – Gr 10

I liked the breathing practices 

  • A lot – 9
  • They are OK – 3

I liked these modes

  • Folding mode – 7
  • Staring mode – 7
  • Tip mode – 6
  • 911 mode – 6
  • Counting mode – 4

I will practice when 

  • I feel …
    • Impatient – Gr 4
    • When I want to do them – Gr 4
    • Very tense or impatient – Gr 5
    • Bored, Tired – Gr 5
    • Angry, Sad, Mean – Gr 6
    • Sad, Depressed, Upset, Distressed, Angry, Overly excited -Gr 7
    • Stressed, Bored, When I can’t fall asleep, I wake up – Gr 8
    • Mad, Angry, Frustrated – Gr 9
    • Tired, Stressed, Bored, Impatient – Gr 10
  • I need to …
    • Focus myself – Gr 4
    • Focus and concentrate myself – Gr 5
    • Take a test, Sleep – Gr 6
    • Wait for a long time, I am trying to sleep – Gr 7
    • Focus on my breathing without getting distracted – Gr 8
    • Calm down – Gr 9
    • Return to a stable state of mind – Gr 10
  • Comments if any
    • I liked it because I was refreshed
    • This is really cool
    • Good
Parents – 7

Scanned images of the feedback forms

When I practiced (During the seminar) I felt

  • Calm and Relaxed
  • Relaxed
  • Calm, Very peaceful
  • Relaxed and felt peaceful
  • Calm, Relaxed

I liked the breathing practices 

  • A lot – 6
  • They are OK – 1

I liked these modes

  • Folding mode – 6
  • Staring mode – 3
  • Tip mode – 2
  • 911 mode – 2
  • Counting mode – 1

I will practice when 

  • I feel …
    • Stressed on every day basis
    • Distracted
    • Stressed
    • I want to practice everyday
  • I need to …
    • Relax and concentrate
    • Focus and concentrate on something
    • Practice every day
    • Every day
  • Comments if any
    • Very beneficial. Thanks for sharing the techniques.
    • I like the breathing class because we need so many things do with focus.
    • Excellent.
    • It was a very good exercise for beginners, especially breathing.
    • A great session.
    • Very good. Thank you.
    • I had taken your class earlier. It was useful. I will continue the practice.

(1) Documents for download
(2) The seminar was initiated by Sudha Datla immediately after seeing my handouts at my daughter’s office (Padma Sripada MD). Mahesh Nallamothu the coordinator for the group excellently coordinated the program. I am grateful to both of them and the parents for the opportunity given to me.

Related pages
Seminars and Classes

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+ Recurring Headaches totally relieved

Feedback from Krishna (name changed), a young married client who is doing my classes by skype and in person. His headaches were relieved within 2 weeks.

He came to my daughter’s office for his chronic headaches and received prescription for nasal spray for pain relief (1). I was checking him out the reception and could clearly see his anxiety, stress and lost look. I felt ‘Focusing on breathing’ may help him, gave him my key handouts and asked him to try the technique at night to fall asleep (2). He quickly scanned through the handouts and signed up for my classes (3). This is an interim report on his relief from headaches. He is continuing the classes to resolve stressful family relationships.

Before practicing this technique
He was getting headaches daily, lasting a couple of hours. Using the nasal spray prescribed by the doctor gave him relief.

What did he practice?
He practiced the ‘Folding 911 mode’, ‘911 mode’ ‘Counting mode’ and ‘Tip mode’. He practiced at bedtime, on waking up, at work, biking to office and back and whenever he felt stressed.

Improvement noticed
Whenever he got a headache, he practiced the ‘Folding 911 mode’ and it was totally relieved. He was very happy that he could control them without using the nasal spray. In a few weeks, the headaches totally stopped.

(1) Padma Sripada MD
(2) Documents
(3) Seminars and Classes

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+ Overwhelming anxiety relieved

Feedback from Pamela (name changed) a client aged around 40 years who attended 4 of my classes over 6 weeks. She is an active professional who was suddenly overwhelmed with acute anxiety when she received news of a serious health problem for one of their family friends. She looked as if she was in a different world losing all her initiative, causing lot of concern for her family. She came to my classes on the suggestion of her doctor Padma Sripada MD (1).

Interesting details of her practice and benefits are at (2).

“I am very grateful to the countingbreaths.com website and the excellent counseling sessions with C S. I was under a lot of stress from an overload of business work, some personal issues and was experiencing anxiety and feeling overwhelmed when I first started working with him. I did not have the work-life balance I so treasure.

C S is very gifted as a counselor and a coach. Right from the very start, I felt an immediate sense of trust being built. He helps you to see and really understand things more clearly and deeply. It was especially comforting to work with someone who really understands anxiety and takes the time to help you understand symptoms and how not to fear them. I learned how to understand the symptoms better. He showed me different breathing techniques – which are now a part of my daily life (2). He taught me to take 30 minutes out of my busy life every day and give those 30 minutes just to myself. I still have a lot of work but it is better paced now because I also make a conscious effort to pace it better.

I would recommend the website and C S very highly. He walks with you, empowers you and helps you to help yourself thrive.

Thank you again C S. I really valued the time I spent with you to overcome my anxiety issue.”

(1) Padma Sripada MD
(2) What did she practice?: Tip mode, Counting mode, Feeling mode, Staring mode at the red lights when driving, Waking up postures.

When?: Bedtime, Waking up, Driving, Walking, Waiting, Exercising, Working

What were the significant changes she noticed?:

Anxiety
Before – Didn’t feel like doing anything, Keep on thinking what will happen.
Now – Bad thoughts are gone. Feeling very happy.

Tiredness
Before – Felt tired and didn’t want to play with the kids.
Now – Happily playing with the kids every evening.

Confidence
Before – Less confidence in starting any work.
Now – Became confident.

Stamina
Before – Felt very tired.
Now – Feel active from the start of the day.

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Seminar – Columbia Internal Medicine

The seminar was the first of 3 classes for which two young people registered: a Software Engineer to relieve his anxiety and headaches and his sister-in-law for insomnia. They were supplied with a set of my handouts and sample testimonials (1). Their feedback summary –

  • I will use this technique for my
    • Anxiety, Headache
    • Sleeping problem
  • My take home points
    • Very helpful to relax and stay calm. These techniques (Finger modes, counting or 911) can be practiced anywhere. I can choose any of these techniques according to the situation.
    • Concentrate on your breathing anywhere, any place.
  • Evaluation of the seminar
    • Very satisfied – 2
  • Comments
    • Very nice teaching, Good for a better life.
    • Thank you very much for helping me as otherwise I was losing my control from myself.
  • I recommend this technique to
    • My friends
    • My husband

(1) Documents for download – All handouts

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+ Falling asleep and relieving stress

Mail from a young lady suffering from chronic gastritis and skin allergies for a long time.

“The counting breaths technique is the one that I am benefiting the most from when I have to fall asleep after a long day (1). It is a great way for me to relieve my stress also.”

(1) Counting mode

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+ Now I am able to stand up for myself

Report from Sam in his thirties with a masters degree (name changed). He reported that, he found this website and videos in his on-line search. Listening to my voice in the videos was very calming for him. He  had been playing my videos at bedtime to fall asleep.

After a few classes, he reported these developments.

  • He stopped his long standing habit of biting nails. He felt it was due to his improved awareness, self control and reduction of severe anxiety.
  • He found that his long standing fear of public speaking was gone. Before practicing this technique, he had great anxiety anticipating his thesis presentation to his class. But recently, he even volunteered to speak to his class and spoke for one hour without any problem!

On my request, he sent this recent testimonial.

“CS is an amazing teacher, mentor, and friend. His techniques have helped me grow so much in the last year and a half.

I began going to CS at a stressful time in my life, at a point when I knew I needed a change. My confidence was low, and I was stressed out from work and in social settings.

His techniques immediately had an impact on my life. I started setting attainable goals and was able to reach them.

Now I am counting my breaths at night before bed, and at random times throughout my day. It helps me calm my mind.

The books CS proposes I read are helping me become a better person, especially with my relationships with others. Before going to CS, I was having a tough time communicating with my parents and people in my professional life. Now I have the knowledge to protect my inner self and stand up for what I believe, and the relationships are improving.

I will use these techniques for the rest of my life, as it is helping me in being happy. I recommend going to CS if you are having a stressful time dealing with anything in your life, you will not regret it!”

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+ Calmed my Mom having Alzheimer’s

Report by Zina (not her real name) about how the ‘Tip mode’ calmed her 84 year old mom suffering from Alzheimer’s (1) (2). This is the first report of this kind (4). 

“I have just started using your ‘focusing on breathing’ relaxation technique very recently myself. But one day, I decided to do it together with my mother who is 84 years old, suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. She lives alone in an apartment in the Bronx.

I call her every day, just to stay ‘hello’ or ‘how are you’. Sometimes I get her at her worst when she is at her very agitated ‘sundown’ state.

One day, I decided to guide her through ‘tip mode’ of counting breaths technique over the phone. We did it together for just about five minutes and that calmed her down very much.

Later on, she even asked me to write the instructions down for her in our native language and mail it to her because she would not be able to remember how to count breaths by herself. Great technique! Thank you very much.”

(1) Zina is a patient of my daughter Padma Sripada MD (3). When Zina came to see her last time for her headaches, Padma suggested she may try ‘focusing on breathing’. Apparently Zina felt the practice may prove helpful to her Mom, could guide her on phone and saw a surprising result.
(2) Tip Mode
(3) Padma Sripada MD
(4) Scanned image of her e-mail

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Seminar – East Greenbush Library

I offered the 13th seminar at East Greenbush Community Library (1) on April 8, 2015 from 7 to 8.30 pm. Attended by 13 adults (10 female and 3 male) and 1 teenager. A folder containing my key handouts  and sample testimonials was given to each participant (2), (3). It was nice to see a good number showing up within 6 months of my last seminar in Oct 2014. Apparently many people are looking for such self help techniques for stress management. One woman who attended my seminar at the Cstleton Library came to this seminar again along with her teenage daughter and mom. 

Scanned images of the Feedback forms

Summary of the Feedback

I will practice this technique for my (concern) 

  • Sleep, Stress
  • Anxiety and sleep problems
  • Sleep
  • Sleeping issues
  • Sleeping & In Waiting rooms
  • Stress reduction and help sleeping
  • Stress
  • Stress, Anxiety
  • Stress/ Anxiety/ Anger
  • Focus and memory issues
  • Peaceful mind
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Anxiety

My ‘Take home’ points

  • Take time to focus on breathing – Daily
  • Need to make it a habit
  • This technique can be with me always
  • Can be done anytime, anywhere for anything
  • Using all the different ‘finger counting’ with breathing
  • Focus on the present, not past or future, make time to relax/ de-stress daily
  • The base – do this @ night & in the morning
  • I will try to practice on a daily basis to calm
  • When I am upset/ angry focus on breathing
  • One one, one; two, two, two helps prevent my thoughts from being overwhelming
  • Focus only on the breathing $ don’t worry about the count/ finger placement
  • Breathe – Now
  • The past is dead! Live in the present
  • Counting exhales, Counting fingers, Focusing
  • To focus on breathing

Evaluation of the seminar 

  • Very satisfied – 14

Comments

  • Excellent
  • This technique is very useful during stressful situations and at the end of a busy day.
  • I hope this helps with my relationship wit my mother and the relationship between my parents
  • Simple but effective
  • Excellent, Clear, Practical
  • Thank You
  • Great handouts, Effective presentation, Practice very helpful

I recommend this seminar to (name the group)

  • High school seniors preparing for college
  • Teenage high school seniors
  • All age groups
  • Teachers’ association
  • To all others

I wish to join a support group for meditation practitioners

  • Yes – 2
  • Maybe – 1

(1) East Greenbush Community Library
(2) Documents for download – All handouts
(3) Sample testimonials – 16

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Related pages
Public Seminars

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