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Yoga and Meditation – Nov 14 Class

The sixth monthly class at Venture Inward was done on Nov 14, 2016 from 6.30 to 8.00 pm (1). Three women and two men attended. Four were new comers and 1 continuer. Summary of feedback  is shown below.

Scanned images of the feedback forms

Newcomers

I came to know about this seminar from 

A friend
A flier in the doctor’s office
Venture Inward newsletter  – 2

I will practice this technique for my (concern)

Anxiety and to focus
Anxiety
Anxiety and Insomnia

My ‘Take home’ points

Counting the breaths using the fingers
Breathe
Tongue behind the teeth technique
Breathe and relax

Seminar evaluation

Very satisfied – 4

Comments

Very helpful
Looking forward to attending another session

I recommend this seminar to (specify the group with contact details if possible)

Receive Annual Updates?

Yes – 3

Enroll  for ‘Follow up classes’ on this technique?

Yes – 3

Join a ‘Support group for Meditation’?       

Yes – 1

Continuers
Meditation on breathing

When did I practice? 

Falling asleep: A few times -2
During the day: When I feel I have too much to do

How did it help me? 

Made me feel relaxed

Gentle Yoga

I practiced

Frequently

Future classes

I want to continue: Yes

(1) ‘Venture Inward’ Call #477-6566 to register.

Related pages: Public Seminars

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Yoga and Meditation – Oct 10 Class

The fifth monthly class at Venture Inward was done on Oct 10, 2016 from 6.30 to 8.00 pm (1). Four women attended, 2 new comers and 2 continuers. Summary of feedback  is shown below.

Scanned images of the feedback forms from 2 “Newcomers”

Scanned images of the feedback forms from 2 “Continuers”

Newcomers

I will practice this technique for my (concern) 

Overall health – Diabetes, Breast Cancer

My ‘Take home’ points

No rules – breathe

Seminar evaluation

Very satisfied – 2

Comments

Would like a mono guided meditation

I recommend this seminar to (specify the group with contact details if possible)

Receive Annual Updates?

Yes – 2

Enroll  for ‘Follow up classes’ on this technique?

Yes – 2

Join a ‘Support group for Meditation’?       

Yes – 1

 

Continuers
Meditation on breathing

When did I practice? 

Falling asleep: A few times -2

When sleep was disturbed: –

Waking up in the am: –

During the day: Driving & At work -1

How did it help me? 

Helped me relax – 1

Gentle Yoga

I practiced

A few times – 2

Future classes

I want to continue: Yes – 1

(1) ‘Venture Inward’ Call #477-6566 to register.

Related pages: Public Seminars

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@ Seminar at the Bethlehem Central Middle School

I offered the first seminar at this school library on May 15, 2013. It was organized by the Bethlehem Healthy Kids Committee. Anna McMahon, a member of this committee and great supporter of this technique was instrumental in setting this up. Seven women, two men and two girls attended. I distributed select handouts from my website to the adults and children. (1) 

 Adults – Feedback

Scanned images of the feedback forms

I came to know about this seminar from

  • Anna McMahon – 2 responses
  • Healthy Kids Committee – 2
  • Husband/ Healthy Kids Committee
  • Posters at the school
  • Times Union – Bethlehem Blog
  • Healthy Kids Committee Face book post

The seminar was …

  • Very useful –  8
  • Useful – 1

I will use this technique to relieve my (concern)

  • Sleep, Stress
  • Sleep and Relaxation
  • Sleep, Stress
  • Stress at work and Insomnia
  • Stress reduction
  • Stress, Anger and Relaxation
  • Headaches, Anxiety, Stress I have with my family
  • Anxiety, Panic
  • Self and Wife

Comments/ Suggestions (if any)

  • I want to practice this and feel better.
  • Wonderful. Very excited to start working on this and looking at your website!
  • Great Presentation.
  • Very practical and user friendly. I look forward to practicing it.
  • I am really looking forward to trying this with stress and sleep.
  • Very helpful. I feel very relaxed after practicing this technique.
  • I had been feeling tense all day, but now I am feeling more relaxed.
  • Helpful. I have used other counting breaths methods but this simplifies the process so the focus is not so much on counting that you forget to breathe and just enough focus on counting and breathing to keep your mind from wandering.
  • Very practical. Great tips and modifications.
 Children – Feedback

Scanned images of the feedback forms

I am in ….

  • Grade 5
  • Grade 4
When I practiced the breathing I felt …
  • Happy, at peace and slightly sleepy
  • Calm and sleepy
I want to try this technique when I….
  • Can’t go to sleep
  • Am stressed at school
I think this practice will help me for ….
  • Sleeping and keeping my cool
  • Going to sleep

(1) Documents for download

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Parent page: Past seminars

@ Silencing loud thoughts – from Alfred

See (1) to know about Alfred.

  • Breathe as if breath was a wheel turning slowly. No end or beginning – the transition between breathing in and breathing out, infinite and smooth.
  • Meditation is not work. It is not like stacking fire wood where there is a beginning middle and end. It is a gift you allow yourself. Like eating a bowl of ice cream when you eat it slowly savoring each taste.
  • The goal of meditation is not to stop thinking. Thinking is like breathing and is always there. You can think differently however. You can silence loud thoughts that demand your attention. Redirect your thoughts towards physical sensations. Think of the sound of a woodland stream and imagine you are the water. Try to feel all parts of your body at once. Let these quiet thoughts put you into a calm and tranquil place.

(1) Alfred

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* Seminar for ‘Glaucoma Practice of New York’

The introductory seminar was held on 8/15/12 for Dr. Sai Gandham and his staff at  the Lions Eye Institute in Slingerland NY. Dr. Gandham’s mother also participated. There were 6 participants. The feedback received from five participants  is posted below. The scanned images of their feedback forms are at (1).

Summary of  their feedback

The seminar was …

  • Very useful – 5

I will use this technique to relieve my (concern)

  • Sleep (to relax and enable sleep)
  • Stress and to calm my wandering mind at night
  • Stress, Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep, Work, Waiting periods

Comments about the seminar

  • Very  relaxing and educational
  • I liked learning how to breathe correctly and different methods of , Very relaxing.
  • Enjoyed learning the technique, will use it to reduce stress & enhance relaxation.
  • Very helpful and informative, definitely will ease my anxiety & trouble breathing while anxious, very peaceful.
  • Very useful, should have started in childhood. The seminar was  very  organized, effective and made very simple. We are impressed with the presentation skills.

(1) Scanned images of the feedback forms.

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* Breathing breaks in the class room

This is a report from Lynn Schuster, a dedicated and innovative class teacher for grades 2/3 in Robert C. Parker School, Wynantskill, New York State (1). On my request, she shared with me how she developed the basic  technique of ‘focusing on breathing’ (2) to suit the needs of her students and herself in the class room. It is a wonderful model that has brought out the immense potential of this simple technique!

“I was introduced to ‘Counting Breaths’ along with my 2nd-3rd grade students four years ago. I watched my students, and felt myself, relax tremendously within a matter of moments as C.S (Suryanarayana Chennapragada) taught us the technique. The practice is now an essential part of the daily life in my classroom. We begin our ‘Morning Meeting’ each day, by “going into our silence.” Students are asked to “unplug” from their friends and to give themselves the opportunity to breathe quietly. We sustain this silence for at least three minutes. This year, I conclude this silence with what I’m now calling our five magical breaths. I count and students follow as we breathe deeply, a minimum of five times, together.

Even children who find quieting down extremely challenging can achieve silence through the peer influence that comes with group practice. I sometimes have to be patient and wait until we’ve all quieted down. In the afternoon when focus can be difficult, I usually have to add in soothing words of encouragement and very deliberately lead them through our counting out a minimum of five deep breaths. I will roam the room, praise individuals and the class. Everyone comes around.

This year, I’ve consciously incorporated breathing breaks throughout our day—at every transition and before starting anything new. This translates into a minimum of 5-6 breathing breaks a day. This year, I also committed to pausing what we are doing when I see even one student getting antsy or moody. In the past, I would have plowed through my agenda and put up with interruptions or a less-than-focused atmosphere. It has been proven to me through my commitment to taking breathing breaks that these breaks do only take a couple minutes. BUT their impact is profound and can carry through big chunks of time. Breathing together brings almost every child immediately into a relaxed mindset. I feel impatience and stress wash away too. We become a community again, working together.

I must thank YOU for teaching me to pause, breathe and help my students relax. I used to think the fun and laughs we had–and the connection/trust I strive to create with each student–would ensure focus when the time required it. But from your guidance and teaching, I saw that I needed to do something more. You’ve changed the way I live in the class and made me pay closer attention to what’s really happening in front of me.”

+++

I am grateful to Lynn for developing this great class room model of the technique. She helped me realize the dream I have been nurturing since the year 2002, ever since I realized the great potential of this technique in helping children calm themselves and focus.  I am  also grateful to Meg Taylor, Head of the school who let me, an uncertified and unlicensed person, experiment with this technique, unknown in the educational field and for creating an environment that lets such innovations flourish. I am happy they both let me publish their names.

I dream of more teachers drawing inspiration from this model and developing their own versions. They will be helping their students develop self awareness, the ability to calm themselves whenever they become aware of their anxiety or stress and act with self control. I feel these skills are more fundamental than reading, writing and counting and will be of immense help to them throughout their life.  Parents can also use this model at home to reinforce the class room experience. I feel when these children grow up, they will become better moms and dads with this additional technique in their parenting tool kit.

When I was working in a paper mill in India, I used this technique when I conducted small group meetings.  We all breathed together for a couple of minutes in the counting mode. It helped us focus better and be good listeners.

(1) Robert C. Parker School
(2) How can I focus on breathing?

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Relevant pages
Endorsement by Meg Taylor – Head of sdchool

Parent page: Training children in ‘Focusing on breathing’

* I practiced just before surgery

This the feedback from a woman who attended two of my classes (2) since Jan 11, 2012.

She had undergone tracheostomy. Some time back, due to injury to her throat, she could not breathe through the nose or mouth. A trach tube was inserted into a hole made in her throat to enable her breathe. Recently, her doctor advised that her throat was healed and she did not need the tube. But she was not willing to do it because when she took it off once, she was unable to breathe through the nose or mouth and was choking. Her doctor said that it was only her anxiety that was preventing her from taking off the tube and breathing through the nose. She was referred to me by Teri Hutson-Mulligan, a diabetes educator at Albany Medical Center.

Because of the tube in her throat, she couldn’t speak. In person, she communicates with a white board and dry erase marker or paper and pen. We interact occasionally by e-mail as she is not able to attend the classes being dependent on state transportation. I do the classes free for her, as she is disabled and on Medicaid.

She reported in the first class that she was unable to sleep for 2 to 3 hours every night and helplessly watched TV. Her sister died 5 years ago. The thought she was responsible for her sister’s death was haunting her, though she knew that this was not true. Her first report by e-mail is presented below.

“I am practicing the technique. I specifically remember using the ‘Tip mode’ (1) just before I went into surgery, to help me relax. The next thing I remember – I was waking up and the surgery was over. I have also used the technique at bed time. My sleep habits are a lot better. I sleep almost through the entire night.”

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(1) How can I focus on breathing?
(2) Seminars and classes

Relevant pages
Relieving anxiety – Success stories

* My anxiety decreased by 50%

“I have been practicing the ‘Focusing on breathing’ method for almost two years. I was introduced to the methods by CS my office manager. Even after doing the breathing for about an year, I was still experiencing high levels of anxiety. Anxiety has been something I have dealt with for many years but never really addressed it because I would drown it out by obsessing over other things. It got to the point where the people I worked with and hung around could tell when my anxiety was at it’s peak. Thankfully by this point, I could feel my levels increasing too. I needed to do something about it.

I sought help from CS once again. His word of advice was…..”just breathe”. So after him telling and showing me other times that I could use the breathing, I tried it out on my own.  I first did my breathing at bed time to go to sleep. And also when I wake up, I breath for at least a half hour in the bed, turning on all sides, as advised by him. To decrease my anxiety, I have also started exercising six days a week, after my breathing in the morning. I work out for an hour, depending on the day. I noticed that even after breathing in the morning and working out, it seemed that my anxiety had increased. So C S explained to me to try to breath for another half an hour after my workout. So here I am a few months into increasing my breathing and I can say my anxiety has decreased at least by 50%. Not only can I feel the difference but I have my friends and peers telling my of the difference they see. I was told that my anxiety levels with my children decreased. When I didnt practice the breathing, I  would go from 1 to 10 in a matter of a few seconds. Now, I go from 1 to 3. I can definitely feel my stress level is down too. I  can get a full nights sleep and wake up feeling refreshed. To this day, I try and encourage people to at least try the breathing. I have even introduce the method to my children who actually practice it. It may not work for everyone but I an living proof that it has worked for at least one life.”

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Related pages
Relief from anxiety – Success stories

* I am thrilled at my progress

Here is the remarkable feedback from a practitioner who attended 7 of my classes over last 4 months. It is reproduced verbatim, followed by other comments she made during the classes.

“I would like to start by saying that I am a retired hair dresser of 35 years of experience. I have diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety, over weight and a lot of other issues.

I was referred to CS (Suryanarayana Chennapragada) by a diabetes educator, of all the people. I know it sounds strange but she completely understood when I told her that I had seen many dietitians over many years, that there wasn’t much she could help me with, if I did not put my knowledge of diets to work. I knew portion sizes, sugars and all of it. I was wrong. She did help me by listening to what I said. She then asked if I was open minded about talking to a man who had helped her in her life. I don’t know if it was the right time to make a change in me or if it was something else but whatever be the reason, I will be forever grateful to both of them.

CS began by explaining that if you do not give yourself time to breathe, you can not heal inside or out. Your brain needs oxygen in order to deal with life’s every day problems. He gave me some breathing techniques, as explained in his web site to try (1) and asked me to do them while I was in his office. He left me in the room alone to try them. I was amazed that I could sit still long enough to do this but I did and felt pretty good. I continued to see him on a weekly basis. I started in Oct 2011. It is now Feb 2012. I am now going every 2 weeks and I am thrilled at the progress I have made. So are my  husband and daughter.

I am not nearly as stressed about everything. I have learned that I do not have to take care of every one else in my life. I am not responsible for other people’s choices, only mine. I now understand the power of focusing on breathing. My family noticed that I am now calmer. I smile more and I laugh. I now enjoy taking a vacation. I do matter. CS gives you small things to try and that bring big results. I know that it will take time for me, to complete my journey but as CS says “Small Steps”.  I say to every one that will listen “BREATHE”.

To CS, thank you for doing what you do so well and by that I mean CARE about all of us.”

Some more developments she shared during the classes –

  • She was suffering from severe insomnia for many years, not able to sleep for more than 3 – 4 hours a night, that too a very disturbed sleep, in spite of taking strong sleep medication ‘AMBIEN’. Now she is able to sleep undisturbed, for at least 5 hours while still taking the same medication. She has now dared to asked her doctor to switch to half the dosage of the same medication. She is now determined to try this lower dose, bearing all the disturbances.
  • When she visited her endocrinologist doctor recently, the doctor spontaneously commented “You were somewhere, for past many years. You are now a different person”
  • Before practicing these techniques, she had severe anxiety whenever she had to undergo a treatment at her dentist’s office. She had to take an anti-anxiety medicine, to be able to go through the visit. But her recent visit to the dentist was all done without any such medication. She was herself surprised how this happened for the first time!
  • Before these practices, she was a compulsively controlling person. She wanted things done yesterday and her way! Now she lets others manage their affairs, as they like. She does not feel the compulsive urge to control them any more.
  • When she organized a birth day party recently, she was calmly interacting with people, unlike her usual self. This change was noticed by her family  members and they commented about it.
  • Her goal is now to “get off the insulin”. She is hopeful she can do it eventually.
  • She is surprised that she is now cooking smaller quantities and eating smaller portions. Her husband is surprised at this remarkable change.
  • Having made a beginning with going to the YMCA when her daughter gave her the gift of trial membership, she enrolled herself in the Y and going to the gym 3 days a week. She walks on the track every time she goes there. She is happy with meeting many other like minded persons there.
  • Due to more awareness and self control, she stopped snacking on chips at night. Instead she eats an apple.

Her previous feedback
My family  can’t believe the change in my attitude.

(1) How can I focus on breathing?

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* “My family can’t believe the change”

Feedback from a woman who attended two of my classes over 3 weeks. She is a retired hair dresser referred by Teri Hutson-Mulligan, a diabetes educator at Albany Medical Center to help her improve her breathing. Her problems: Insomnia, hypertension, bottled up anger, obesity and diabetes.

“I really believe the whole learning to breathe idea has helped me to take time for myself. My family can’t believe the change in my attitude about everything and I owe it to you CS.”

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