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+ Feedback from Elementary School Children

I conducted 3 after school classes on ‘Focusing on breathing’ at Robert C. Parker School for 2 boys and 1 girl  in March/April 2014 (1) (2). The way the classes were done is explained at (3).The feedback form the children and parents is presented below.

Parent’s feedback
  • “I think breathing practice is beneficial for my daughter  in managing her impulses. She seems to enjoy the breathing practice in your class. When I prompt her to practice, though, she sometimes insists that she does not want or need to do it.  I am working on coaxing her to do the breathing practice with me. I would like to make it a regular practice for both of us. I think it would be good to do in the mornings and evenings, and then hopefully the practice will help her managing through the day as well”. My response to this mom is at (4).
  • “My son tends to do his breathing while he’s trying to fall asleep. I’ve observed him utilizing it over the past week, during an anxiety provoking situation.   The mode he tends to use is deep breathing while counting in his head.”
 Children’s feedback 

What times did they practice?: Most common were bedtime and morning. But some practiced at breakfast and evening also.

What modes did they practice?: Collectively – Folding mode, Tip mode, Segment mode and Counting mode.

Why did they practice?: Each of them gave different reasons.

  • Felt tired in the morning, practiced and felt awake
  • I got up before my mom and she didn’t wake me up as she was doing before
  • When I got home from school,  I was mad and I did the breathing.
  • Middle of the day – helped me not watch TV
  • When I had a headache I did the breathing and my headache go away.
  • When I was mad with my friend

How did the breathing help?

  • Helped me get to sleep, wake up and eat breakfast
  • When my dog got crazy, I did the breathing and my dog calmed down! (watching me doing the breathing)
  • Helped me go to sleep
  • It calmed me down when I was mad
  • When I was hyper, I would do the breathing and it calms me down

I like the breathing because

  • It is fun and relaxing
  • It is good for me. My mom wants me to teach her. I will teach her when I learn all.

(1) How Can I Focus On Breathing?
(2) Robert C. Parker School
(3) How were the classes done?: In the first class, they were shown and practiced the ‘Folding mode’, ‘Tip mode’ and ‘Counting mode’. In the second class, we reviewed the previous modes and they were shown’ ‘Staring mode’ and ‘911’ mode’. In the third class, they were suggested how they could use the techniques at bedtime, on waking up and any other times they needed. In every class, they filled out a feedback form with the questions (a) When did I practice? (b) What mode did I practice? (c) Why did I practice? (d) How did the breathing help?
(4) My response to the girl’s mom: (a) It is better for her long term success not to coax her. Let the practice grow organically over some months, so that it becomes a part of her coping skills to help her all her life. (b) Our role is to encourage her own practice without making her feel like she is doing a chore. She is basically right that she would practice when she needed it. The exceptional situations where we should proactively suggest to practice are at bedtime which most children love to do anyway, when we see them upset, hyperactive, angry etc. (c) When she is in a good mood and you feel it is the right time, you can try practicing along with her, allowing her to practice her favorite mode and you can practice your own choice mode.

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@ Relief from Depression, Addictions, Anger and Disturbing thoughts

Feedback from a client whom I was meeting periodically on business. He initially practiced the technique from my handouts on his own. He was thanking me for the help he was getting from the  technique. On seeing the remarkable improvements he reported like resolving insomnia and even getting off one of the three medications for depression, I persuaded him to attend my classes. His report –

“I have been using the finger segment technique (1) for about six months and now taking classes (2) to expand upon that foundation.

  • As a result I went from 3 anti depressants to 2.
  • I have found my desire to self medicate with alcohol and tobacco lessen. It is not to say that I don’t slip up. But I have gone from several drinks a day, to may be a few per week. Smoking is all but eliminated with the exception of the occasional pipe tobacco but cigarettes  are done. I can’t stand the taste anymore. (3)
  • The biggest change is that I no longer get angry as easily as before. When I do get angry, I don’t hang on to that anger. (4)
  • My disturbing thoughts and feelings are all but gone. It feels as though a great weight has been lifted off my shoulders. (5)
  • Now I am working on my weight problem (6) and making life changes to live happier and healthier.
(4) Reducing or eliminating Anger – Success stories
(5) He had recurring thoughts of hurting others or himself, from his teen age causing him lot of distress.
(6) His original weight was 300 Lbs for a height of 5’7″, which is a BMI of 46.  He is making great changes in diet and exercise habits and started caring for his health like going to a doctor for an annual physical and getting blood work done for the first time on my prompting. When he was in deep depression, he had no inclination for improving his health or having goal for his life, even though he was under 3 medications. Now he has started sort of a new chapter in his life.

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* Feedback from Grade 3-5 Students

The school counselor of a local school searched on-line for Yoga classes to help the students reduce stress before and during the state tests. She found my website and requested me to train the students in grade 3 to 5 in the ‘Focusing on breathing’ technique (1) as an optional after school activity. I conducted two classes on April 17 and 24, 2013 for 9 students.

In the first class I demonstrated different modes of the technique and we all practiced each of the modes on one hand. In the  second class I asked for their verbal feedback on how they practiced the technique after the first class. I asked each of them to demonstrate any one mode and corrected the wrong demos. Several of them said they liked the ‘Staring mode’ (3) or the  ‘911 mode’ (4).

At the end of the first class, I collected feedback from them in a simple form with 3 open ended questions. The scanned images of the completed feedback forms are presented at (2). A summary of their responses is presented below.

When I practiced the breathing in today’s class, I felt … 

  • Calm and relaxed – 3 responses
  • Calm/ Really calm – 3
  • Good and happy
  • Relaxed
  • Relaxed, Calm, Focused

I want to try this technique when I …

  • Go to sleep – 2
  • Am mad – 2
  • Mad or tired
  • Stressed with school
  • Mad at my sister or stressed
  • Mad, angry and stressed
  • Am taking a  test

I think this practice will help me for ….

  • NYS test/ Tomorrow before the state tests – 2
  • Calming down, Stop being stressed, angry and mad
  • After being bullied
  • Getting up in the morning
  • When my sister is mad at me
  • Settling down
  • Falling asleep and calming down
  • A lot of things

The principal also participated in the class and gave the following feedback in the same form –
During the class she felt relaxed, calm, focused and stress free. She wanted to try this technique when she needed to refocus, before running a race and after a stressful day. She felt that this practice will help her in refocusing and training.

Feedback from the school counselor after the first class: “I heard great things about your class from the principal and the students.  You will be here again next week for the conclusion. Thank you for the wonderful opportunity to provide a stress free learning opportunity for our students!”

Honorarium: Before doing the classes the counselor inquired about my charges. I said I loved teaching the simple technique to children and if the school was happy with the classes, they could offer me whatever they like. I am thankful to the PTA (Parent Teacher Association) of the school for the generous compensation they offered me. My plan is to follow up this group of students till they adopt the technique as their own, practicing it whenever they needed to  calm themselves or maintain their focus.

(1) How to be Calm and Focused? – Handout for children
(2) Scanned images of the feedback forms
(3) Staring mode
(4) 911 mode

Related page
Training children

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* Many problems resolved, my face glows

Feedback from an African American client Christine (not her real name) who attended four of my classes over 5 weeks. She reported multiple problems when she came in. She absorbed the techniques and practiced them with all her heart. On my advice, she read most of my articles on Relationships (1). She came out of most problems in a surprisingly short time of 5 weeks. Details –

“I was really stressed out on my job at a medical office, due to my boss. I had to always to prove myself and be constantly on the go. I could never stop to even think where I was and what I was working on.I learned in the classes how take breaths and relax more effectively in my daily life. The breathing techniques I have been using are the ‘Tip mode’ and the ‘Segment mode’ (2), in the morning and night. I also do a lot of breathing  during the day (3).
Due to these practices, my body balance has changed and my mind has become so relaxed that nothing and no one stresses me. I am so calm even when dealing with others at work. My skin complexion has changed. I now have a bright glow in my face.

I thank ‘C S’ (Suryanarayana Chennapragada) for helping me achieve total peace of mind.”

I had a personal interview with her to inquire about the several problems that she had but did not mention in her above feedback. She let me know their status as described below.

Stressful interactions with boss

Before: Her boss was very intimidating and being mean in his daily interactions with her as well as other employees. She used to take his words seriously to her heart and tried to respond to them in all earnestness. As nothing she said or did made any difference to his behavior she was getting angry and frustrated. She used to clench her jaws and grind her teeth.
Now: After practicing the breathing at bedtime and during her interactions with her boss, she stopped taking his mean style seriously. She listens to him and tells herself that he is the one who has the problem, not she. His verbally abusive behavior  has nothing to do with her.

Jaw tension and Grinding of teeth

Now: Reduced by 95%

Migraine pains

Before: Almost every day, lasting for 2 hours.
Now: Once in a while.

Shoulders puffed up

Before: Whenever she heard his mean words, which was every day.
Now: None, in spite of his behavior  being same.

Hears everything in sleep

Before: In her sleep she used to hear all sounds around her. She used to wake up twice in the night.
Now: She sleeps undisturbed,till the alarm goes off. She does not hear any sounds. Recently her husband commented with a surprise that she was able to fall asleep even when the the TV was on. 

Hours of sleep

Before: She used to sleep at 10 and wake up at 3 am and was not able to get sleep for at least 30 minutes, due to her racing mind.
Now: She sleeps undisturbed all through the night, till the alarm goes off at 6 am.

How she felt on waking up 

Before: Felt exhausted
Now: Feels great.

Back pain and Neck pain

Now: She has them only slightly. To avoid neck pain she stopped holding the phone between her cheek and shoulder. Her chronic stress was straining her muscles in her jaws, neck, shoulders and back.

(1) My articles on ‘Relationships’
(2) How can I focus on breathing?
(3) Daytime practice
(4) Releasing tension in the jaws

Related pages
Face looks bright and healthy – Success stories

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* I am now able to manage stress

Feedback from a man in New Jersey who is under extreme stress, due to his wife’s mental illness (1).

Before knowing ‘Focusing on breathing’
My wife refused to see reason due to her bi-polar problem though she has been under medication. I did not know of any way to convince her. I used to get excited and angry at her, aggravating stress for both of us. It was unbearable.  Under such situations, I was going to the gym and workout, for at least 2 hours. Even then, I was not getting relief from the stress. I used to wonder if I had to work out whole day.

I do not run to the gym or go crazy. I respond to her unreasonable behavior without losing my cool. I am able to argue with her calmly and patiently, trying to convince her. This is defusing the situation for both of us. My life has become bearable, thanks to the breathing technique.

I am now introducing this technique to my wife at bedtime, as she does not have good sleep. She is not able to practice the technique on her own. When she needs to sleep, I sit by her side  and help her practice the ‘Tip mode’ (2). I hold her fingers and give verbal prompts, at each step of the practice. She accepts this help and is now able to sleep peacefully, thanks to this technique.

(1) His previous feedback “This meditation has saved my life”
(2) How can I focus on breathing?

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