Tag-Archive for » counting breaths «

+ 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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* Clears my mind of all other thoughts

Feedback from a woman in her fifties who attended my seminar at the East Greenbush Community Library, followed by 4 of my classes in 2012.

“I’ve been meaning to let you know how helpful the workshops I took with you were and still are (1).

I have been using your ‘counting breaths’ method to help me sleep for the last 2 years (2). Whenever I have trouble falling asleep, I begin to become aware of my breathing. Just the relaxed way you taught me. And I count and use the finger touching method (3).

It’s amazing! It clears my mind of all other thoughts. I begin to relax, and after a short while, I fall asleep (4).

I also find the relaxed breathing you encouraged me to do before getting out of bed, helps me start the day with a more relaxed attitude and I am less anxious (5)”.

(1) Seminars and Classes
(2) How Can I Focus On Breathing?
(3) How to Enjoy Quality Sleep and Conquer Insomnia?
(4) Relief from Insomnia – Success stories
(5) Waking up routine     Relief from Anxiety, Fear and Panic atacks

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@ “Easy and Effective. It works! “

I thank Chaitanya Mudivarthy Ph.D (1), my nephew, for posting this recommendation for me in Linkedin.  I am delighted that he highlights the most important aspect of the techniques – that it suits today’s busy people who can’t spare time for Yoga and such practices.

“CS Rao (Suryanarayana Chennpragada) is an excellent yoga practitioner. He is one of the few who realized the problem with current generation – impatience and lack of time to put yoga into practice in their daily routine. His solution to this is simple and practical – ‘counting breaths’ (2). This technique works!

I have been practicing this technique since 2006 with great results.

I have suggested the technique to numerous friends with ADD, anxiety disorders, and depression. One thing I hear back is how easy and effective the technique is.

Above all, CS Rao is an excellent human being with tremendous knowledge in general in the fields of science, medicine, and spirituality.”

(1) Chaitanya Mudivarthy – Linkedin Page
(2) ‘Counting breaths’ is an ancient technique devised by the Buddha 2500 years back. My adaptations of this technique to suit busy beginners are two. One is using the fingers. This practice leashes the mind far more effectively than just counting the breaths in the mind. The second adaptation is for beginners to practice lying in the bed at night and morning to make the practice ‘excuse free’ and get them hooked on it. These have  made this ancient technique available to people of all ages and cultures.

The ‘focusing on breathing’ practices presented in this site are radically different from Yogic breathing practices. Yogic breathing practices require you to change the current pattern of breathing, to conform to the given guidelines. We are warned to learn those practices from a trained teacher, to avert potential harm from wrong practice.

In contrast, these breathing practices do not suggest any pattern for breathing, except in one mode. We passively watch the breaths, like watching the actors on a movie screen. These practices are totally safe whatever way you do them, even for children.

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@ The beginning of a journey

Feedback from a remarkable client, a Chiropractor who attended 4 of my classes over a period of 6 weeks. Immediately after the the first class, he reported big changes in his way of looking at daily experiences and his new style of responding to them. 

“It began with a chance meeting with a stranger, leading into a conversation of meditation and counting breaths (1).

Shortly thereafter, I was called to action after a road rage incident prompted me to move forward with exploring the possibility of living in the moment, being aware of all my actions.

Since beginning counting breaths (2) I began to notice the color of the autumn leaves for the first time in over 50 years.

An inner peace was overcoming me while driving to the extent the radio playing my favorite music was perceived as noise.

At home, a more peaceful time was experienced, reading rather than watching the television. A sense of clarity and focus began to evolve.

My leisure time now is spent in quiet, conscious of breath with a sense of awareness I have not experienced in the past.

I’ve become comfortable with peaceful time, reading, which is now part of my daily life.

My counting breaths these days consist of calming and happy thoughts. I no longer think about the past or worry about the future. I work on living in the present, experiencing what happens in the now.

Through ongoing practice, awareness and an internal peace have been the one of the greatest accomplishment in my personal life…..and the journey continues.”

(1) This is another classic instance of ‘everything falling in place’ when the person is ready for change. As he explained in person – let me call him Frank, (not his real name), was at a party and heard two other people talking about meditation and counting breaths and joined the conversation. One of them – let me call him Alfred (not his real name) talked about my classes and techniques. Frank was interested and gave his e-mail ID to Alfred for sending my reference. Frank did not get the e-mail. But for some mysterious reason, Alftred followed up with something unusual. He printed his e-mail message and mailed it to Frank. When Frank got my information, he visited this website and felt this is something he would like to try. He has been coming to my classes and “thus began his journey” into the world of reality!
(2) How Can I Focus On Breathing? For different modes of breathing.

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@ 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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@ A practical no-nonsense approach that really works

Testimonial from Alfred (1) who had great hidden potential for meditation and spiritual growth that was just waiting for a spark to explode (sort of). His experience illustrates the quote in the spiritual filed “When the student is ready, the teacher appears”.

He found my website on-line among other local organizations for Yoga and meditation. He felt that he found what he was just looking for. He attended only 3 classes and took off unbelievably on his own, like no other client.

He has been kind enough to e-mail his insights and experiences (2) and let me publish them under the pseudonym ‘Alfred’. I am learning from his insights. I was puzzled why with all his inherent wisdom, he needed to learn the very simple breathing and stretching techniques I teach. When I queried  him and asked for his testimonial he sent this wonderful description. This is the kind of endorsement I was looking for all these years. These techniques do help people like him with hidden potential, to make a simple beginning and then keep going on their own steam.  I am grateful to  Alfred for this feedback and his periodic insights and experiences.

“I am a middle aged businessman who in most all respects enjoys a good life.  I have enough money to keep me from worrying, my relationships with wife, family and friends are good and so is my health.  Despite all of my good fortune I was aware for some time of some missing element in my life.  I had always been interested in the human mind and have read quite a lot about cognition and psychology.  The one message I received over and over again was that the practice of meditation with mindfulness as a goal is something which many very credible people advocate.

I did a quick Google search and found Suryanarayana Chennapragada’s (CS) web site.  CS has developed a simple meditation technique which combines counting breaths and simple yoga to create a calming disposition.

I met with CS and took 6 (3) private classes.  Since attending those classes, I have only missed 2 days of meditation, both because of international travel.

I like CS’s approach very much because, not only is it immediately effective, but also because it is not steeped in any religious dogma or “new age” philosophy.  It is a practical no-nonsense approach that really works well for me.

I look forward to my hourly morning meditation.  It centers me for my busy days, allows me to turn off the noise in my head and enjoy the present and it has enhanced my personal relationships. “

(1) Alfred 
(2) Alfred’s progress – Posts 
(3) Actually he attended 3 classes but felt they were six. May be because we had a great rapport!

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@ Counting breaths relieved stress at work

Feedback from a person who attended my seminar at the East Greenbush Library –

“I was having a lot of stress at work. Some days I was afraid of what I would be challenged with before I got to work.

I found that the counting breaths technique (1) helped me through a lot of stressfull moments, and helps me sleep better at night. Thank you for the class, it was amazingly helpful.”

(1) How can I focus on breathing?

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@ Breathing in and breathing out as a continuum …Alfred’s progress

See (1) to know about Alfred. 

“I am still keeping at it and expanding my practice every day. My core routine is 10 postures, each held for a minimum of 30 breaths. In between, I stretch in ways my body tells me to, some times rocking gently to loosen things up.

I always play soothing music or chanting; there are great chants on you tube. I was burning incense but have stopped because I find it a distraction.

Each day I discover new ways to attend to the present while meditating. Every day I feel a benefit; sometimes great, sometimes subtle.

Some ideas
  • We can be slaves to time. Being constantly aware of the clock and where you need to be an hour from now, robs you of the present. While meditating, do not fall into the trap of counting breaths, as if they are grocery list on which you are striking off items. Immerse yourself in each breath and adhere to your body’s natural relaxed breathing pattern. Time can become quite elastic when you are not measuring it in your mind. I suspect that the perfect present is infinite.
  • If you have trouble stilling noisy thoughts, try some mental exercises.
    • When you breath in, think of what it feels like to exhale and then, as you exhale think of the feeling of breathing in.
    • Think about the sound of wind on your face, of how sunshine smells and what the color green tastes like. Imagine that your body is floating or rotating slowly. Imagine you are slowly melting into the ground.
  • I realize as I try to attain complete tranquility while meditating, that the way I breathe can disrupt this goal. I have found at times a great rush of peace as I slowly exhale but, as I transition to breathing in, I am susceptible to errant thoughts. In order to avoid this undesirable distraction, I have begun to try to think of breathing in and breathing out as a continuum, rather than a transition. As I breath out and feel peace flow in, I concentrate on holding that feeling and I begin to breath in. I do not concentrate on the change of direction of my breath. This is helping me sustain and deepen the feeling of calmness over multiple breath cycles.
Benefits  I gained
  • I went to a social event where I knew nobody. I felt more relaxed than usual in this situation and felt like I was more focused on the person I was talking to at any given moment.
  • During the day when a worrisome thought clouds my mind, I am better at addressing it and filing it away where it belongs, rather than have it put me in a foul mood.
  • I am more easily amused.”
(1) Alfred

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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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Please send your comments  through the ‘ABOUT – Contact’ page.

Parent page: Past seminars