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Beginners’ Feedback 6/5/18

Five people attended, four female and one male. Four people filled out the feedback form. A summary of their feedback is posted below.

One of the participants attended the Beginners’ meetup and Practitioners’ meetups before. She said this meditation was life changing for her. So she brought in her friend and friend’s college going daughter for today’s class. She said lot of things were going on at her home but her husband said she should go to the class as she feels and does better after the class. Also that she felt peaceful simply being in my presence.

Another participant had attended the Vipassana program at Barre (Massachusetts) but never practiced at home after the program (1). At the end he said he liked how I presented the technique.  A set of my handouts was given to each participant (2).

I knew about this group from

– meetup.com
– Sign I saw
– Friend

My purpose in joining this group

– Feel calm and peace
– Learning how to de-stress and have my mind become more peaceful
– Renew my meditation practice, Control stress, Improve health and sleep
– To relieve anxiety, Improve sleep

Today’s ‘Take home’ ideas

– Method of breathing to improve feeling of relaxation
– Going to sleep and walking practice
– Find little moments to de-stress and have my mind become more peaceful.
– Feel calm and peace
– Don’t stress about the rules

Overall evaluation of the session

– Very useful 4

Suggestions for future meetups

None

I plan on joining a follow up group

– Practitioners’ meetup
– Beginners and Practitioners group
– I travel and so I will come as my schedule allows

My sources of stress

– Life in general
– Sleep and joint pain
– Home
– School
– Relationships at home and work

I cope with my stress by

– Exercise, Yoga, Sports, Hiking
– Eating, Reading
– Need to develop healthy ways to eat normally

Total donations offered – $27

(1) Insight Meditation Society
(2) Documents for download

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Meditation class in Montreal – Feedback

I volunteered to teach ‘Counting breaths meditation’ to the residents of International youth hostel in Montreal (Gite hostel) on May 27 when we were staying there for a few days (1). My offer was immediately accepted by the receptionist. Four adults and two children attended the 45 minutes session. I am grateful for this opportunity for sharing this simple meditation with a few people including two children for the first time in Canada.  Feedback collected from them on plain paper is posted below.

  • After many weeks of not sleeping very good, this meditation session is a great hope. Very adapted to an actual need. I have learned a lot thanks to you. I have discovered an aspect of life that I didn’t know. Actually meditation and breathing is easier than I expected. Thanks a lot for your meditation session and your kindness. Best regards.
  • This meditation pause gave me peace. I felt relaxed after 5 minutes of counting breaths meditation. I almost fell asleep. This will for sure help me with my sleeping problems. Thank you very much. (34 years)
  • Very interesting exercise, it made me very calm and relaxing myself.  It’s funny because I understand how my breathing works (about the exercise for sleep) because before I see there is a relation between breathing and sleep but I didn’t know how it’s working. Good teaching and thank you.
  • Thanks for the lesson. It’s simple to achieve, so we can do it easily.  I will try to do as often as possible to keep a calm mind and peaceful attitude.
  • I felt good and Zen. I would like to do meditation again. You are very kind. Please come back. Boy 6 years
  • I felt relaxed, in peace. I liked it a lot. I would like to have another meditation session with you. Thank you.  Girl 7 years.

(1) gite hostel – Montreal

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Meditation and Yoga classes for children

I offered classes on ‘Gentle Yoga stretching’ and ‘Meditation on breathing’ to thirty nine boys and girls from 5 to 13 years at the Albany Hindu Temple on Aug 14, 17, 18 and 19, 2017. Each class was for 40 minutes and repeated on two days (1).

Meditation: All of them practiced the ‘Counting mode’ and ‘Tip mode’ , multiple times, counting the breaths aloud along with me (2) (3). We all practiced at simulated times of practice – at bedtime lying down to get sleep, on waking up still lying, to drive away the sleep, sitting on the bed cross legged as in sitting meditation, standing on the floor like waiting in a line, walking  and running.

  • When asked how they felt, a few commented
    • I felt calm
    • I felt relaxed
  • Asked when they would like to practice the meditation, some replied
    • At the doctor’s office
    • When tired
    • When I have an argument with my friend about which game to play
    • At bedtime
    • On waking up
  • Other comments
    • An 8 year old boy said he practiced at bedtime and also told his mom to practice, as she does not sleep well!

One kid’s mom said that her 6 year old son had been practicing at bedtime from day one and claimed that he felt more fresh on waking up.

Yoga: We all practiced the movements shown in the video ‘Stretching for beginners’ (4). These movements gently move and stretch all the muscles from fingers to shoulders, toes to hips, neck to eyes. All the joints get a gentle massaging movement at the same time.

(1) Albany Hindu Temple
(2) Counting mode
(3) Tip mode
(4) VIDEO of stretching for beginners

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17th Seminar – East Greenbush Library

I offered the 17th seminar at East Greenbush Community Library (1) on June 14, 2017 from 6.30 to 8.30 pm. Attended by 7 women. A folder containing my key handouts  and sample testimonials was given to each participant (2), (3). 

Summary of the Feedback

I will practice this technique for my (concern) 

  • Insomnia and dizziness
  • Difficulty in falling asleep
  • Insomnia, Cancer depression with rumination
  • Sleep issues
  • Relaxation
  • Helping me to think less

My ‘Take home’ points

  • 911 breathing, sleeping breathing
  • How to become calm
  • Breathing counting with fingers
  • All ideas, great presentation
  • The sleep techniques, I will definitely try at home

Evaluation of the seminar 

  • Very satisfied – 3
  • Satisfied – 4

Comments

  • Very thorough
  • Helpful techniques for meditation – Thanks!
  • This will be helpful with my basic Yoga and walking to keep my mind focused
  • Very informative. Thank you!
  • Excellent program. Very good teacher.

I wish to 

  • Receive ‘Annual update’ on this technique – 1
  • Interested in ‘follow up classes’ on today’s techniques – 3
  • Interested in joining a support group for meditation – 2

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

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Related pages
Public Seminars

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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Seminar – Voorheesville Library

The first seminar at the Voorheesville Public Library was on February 9, 2015 from 7 to 8.30 pm (1). Attended by 11 people (9 adults and 2 teens. A folder containing my key handouts  and sample testimonials was given to each participant (2), (3). It was remarkable that so many turned up in spite of the severe snow storm throughout the day and still going on at the time of the seminar.  

Scanned images of the Feedback forms

Summary of the Feedback

I will practice this technique for my (concern) 

  • Daily stress and mind focus
  • Stress, Relaxation
  • Calm my mind, reduce stress level
  • Anxiety and develop concentration
  • Hypertension
  • Pain, Tension, Stress
  • Stress level and Migraines
  • Focusing practice
  • Better sleep, Less stress
  • Stress level
  • Anxiety, Falling asleep, Concentration

My ‘Take home’ points

  • Incorporate breathing technique into my daily routines, especially upon waking up and going to sleep.
  • I plan to use the breathing techniques, they seem very effective.
  • Start, just start the practice and take steps to meditate.
  • Different counting techniques, Can do lying down (yes!). Also it is OK to count (I was taught to be quiet, no thoughts) – so helpful.
  • Breathing, Posture, and Better focus.
  • Relax.
  • Try to use the technique in everyday activities. Use the technique before I fall asleep.
  • How to relax by controlling my breathing.
  • Will practice with my 4 year old grandson. It will help to count, this will help concentrate my mind.
  • To try it at night and in the morning as a start. Don’t worry about rules, just do it!
  • Meditation can be used anytime and anywhere, “each breath  is a life”. “You can’t change people’s actions, you can only change your reaction.”

My expectation from the seminar is fulfilled to level 

  • A+ – 1
  • A    – 8
  • B    – 2

Comments

  • Thank you – much food for thought.
  • A appreciated your philosophical perspective in reinforcing the importance of meditation and mind/body.
  • A little hard to her you with the heater running.
  • I had a very hard time hearing the presenter’s soft voice and missed some of the talk. Seems to be an excellent way to quite the mind. I am excited to try it at home.
  • My husband always tried to get me to meditate but the way you broke it down made it more understanding and simple.
  • Great tips! Am eager to try the technique.
  • I like that there are no rules.
  • I really enjoyed the presentation. I am looking forward to trying the breathing. I will consider contacting you about more classes.
  • I loved your presentation and I know I will be able to use these techniques to help me relax.

I recommend this seminar to (name the group)

  • May be my book group. If there is enough interest I will contact you.
  • Anyone. it is easy and free.
  • College students dealing with stress.
  • The teachers at my school.
  • Everyone could use these methods.

(1) Voorheesville Public Library
(2) Documents for download – All handouts
(3) Sample testimonials – 16

Related pages: Public Seminars

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+ Feedback from Middle School Children

I conducted 3 classes on ‘Focusing on breathing’ for 2 boys in Gr 8 at Robert C. Parker School over 2 months – April to May 2014 (1) (2). These were after school classes for an hour. The way the classes were done is explained at (3). Their combined feedback is presented below.

When did they practice? 

  • Bedtime
  • Math class
  • Before homework
  • Mad at my brother
  • At School

What modes (s) did they practice? 

  • Folding mode
  • Tip mode
  • Segment mode
  • Counting mode
  • Feeling mode
  • Staring mode
  • 911 mode
  • Waking up postures on the bed – Phase I (4)

Why did they practice? 

  • I started to lose focus
  • I was mad at my brother
  • To calm myself
  • I was tired
  • To relax
  • Before I went to my thesis presentation
  • I could not fall asleep
  • Could not focus at school

How did the breathing help me?

  • It helped me get all the distractions out of my mind and just lets me focus
  • It relaxes me
  • I was less mad at my brother who was bugging me
  • I was able to do my homework
  • I was able to sleep

I like the breathing because

  •  It is very effective
  • It is relaxing and it works
  • It is relaxing and it is not hard to do
  • It helps me focus and it relaxes me

(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 all the 7 modes and practiced them briefly – ‘Folding mode’, ‘Tip mode’, ‘Segment mode’, ‘Counting mode, ‘Feeling mode’ , ‘Staring mode’ and ‘911 mode’. They were advised to practice at bedtime. In the second class, we reviewed all the modes and corrections made. I suggested they use the technique on waking up in the bed, turning the body in four different positions. In the third class, they were shown the ‘Waking up postures’ and ‘Morning exercises’. 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 me?
(4) Waking up postures on  the bed – Phase I

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@ Seminar at the East Greenbush Library

I offered the 9th seminar at East Greenbush Community Library (1) on October 22, 2013 from 7 to 8.30 pm. Attended by total 20 adults, 18 female and 2 male. A set of my key handouts (2) was distributed to every participant.

Scanned images of the Feedback forms

Summary of the Feedback

I knew about this seminar from 

  • Library newsletter – 10
  • Library website – 3
  • Sign in the library – 2
  • Facebook/ Library home page
  • The Advertiser newspaper
  • The Hindu Center
  • My daughter
  • Friend

This seminar is …

  • I loved it – 1
  • Very useful – 14
  • Useful – 5

I will use this technique for my (concern) 

  • Pain, Sleep
  • Sleep
  • Fibromyalgia  and insomnia
  • To sleep + Relax
  • Sleep
  • Stress & Lack of sleep
  • Falling and staying asleep
  • Insomnia and stress
  • Relaxation, Sleep inducement
  • Restful sleep and alertness
  • Back pain and stress
  • Stress, migraines and back pain
  • Work stress
  • Migraines, stress and muscle stiffness
  • Stress
  • Back pain
  • Mindfulness
  • Mind clarification
  • Relaxation

Comments about the seminar 

  • It was very helpful, handouts are wonderful, atmosphere was calm even though we were sitting in a library
  • Handouts are very helpful, easy to refresh/ remember
  • Wonderful, excellent instructor, great handouts. Please do another follow up session.
  • Great, so easy something I can do so easily
  • Very friendly and informative and easy to understand
  • Presenter was often difficult to understand but was  good at demonstrating the techniques
  • It was very beneficial. Things like breathing appear simple but they are not.
  • Good, entertaining and useful
  • A very helpful was to relax, increase sleep etc.
  • Thank you.I am looking forward to trying these techniques.
  • Very interesting
  • I enjoyed it
  • Very relaxing
  • Thank you – Will try daily
  • Very good seminar, the hour went quickly and the content fit well in that time frame.
  • Very good
  • The information I have had before in things I read but have not been practicing
  • Interesting, worthwhile
  • Calming, relaxing, meditation techniques usually warn about falling asleep

(1) East Greenbush Community Library
(2) Documents for download – All handouts

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Public Seminars

@ 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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@ Calm serenity is the human base-line emotional state – Alfred’s progress

Please see (1) to know about Alfred.

“I have not sent you much lately but it is not because I have neglected my meditation practice. I am still at it for about an hour a day and continue to reap the rewards. Here is a short essay that, I think, encapsulates where I am at currently.

The Purpose of Meditation
Because of the strong interest I have developed in meditation I had begun to read about it. Some of what I read has been rewarding in that others have expressed insights that I had arrived at independently. This makes me feel that I am on a good path. However, much of the literature is contradictory and can create confusion. For example some practitioners of mindfulness meditation insist that you should be in a sitting posture and your eyes should be open. Others say any posture that is effective can be used and the eyes can be shut. Confusion sows doubt and doubt erodes successful effort. So, for now, I have stopped reading and am following my own path.

My path
What keeps me most focused is always bringing back to mind the purpose of my meditation. This purpose was always there but, with practice has clarified. I believe that the calm serenity I often achieve through meditation is the human base-line emotional state. When the business of life overwhelms us this tranquility is superimposed upon by agitation, excitement and stress. I also believe that emotional honesty and wisdom are best accessed from the tranquil base-line state. This fairly simple premise is the purpose of my mediation and by keeping it in mind I can redirect my attention appropriately when I stray.”

(1) Alfred

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