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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

+ Journaling for Mind, Body benefits – Guest article by Gemma Philips

How Journaling reduces stress
Recent scientific studies have backed what has long been known in Eastern philosophy since ancient times: holistic practices such as yoga and mindfulness meditation lower stress hormone levels, lift our mood, and boost our academic and work performance. If you are already well versed with the many benefits that meditation can bring to your life, you might consider adopting a complementary activity, which will only enhance the relaxing effects of meditation. It’s called journaling, and it is currently a therapy that is encouraged in a variety of settings – including centers for rehabilitation for drug abuse, for eating disorder recovery and for the treatment of stress-related conditions such as depression and anxiety. Journaling is also used for patients which chronic health conditions, including cancer, asthma, chronic pain, insomnia, etc.

How does Journaling differ from diary writing?
Far from merely recording the events of the day, as is the case with diary writing, journaling goes a step beyond, in that it involves writing down our thoughts and feelings which are our reactions to the day’s events. In this way, we can get to know ourselves better – find out what triggers stress or anxiety, note down the way we tend to react to conflict or difficult issues, and jot down alternative, more positive reactions the next time we encounter a similar situation.

What benefits does journaling bring?
Some of the many benefits of journaling include:

  • Helping us deal with stress
  • Increasing self-awareness
  • Helping us deal with challenging events and circumstances
  • Helping us ‘metabolize’ our experience – when we do not journal, we can simply block any unpleasant thoughts or emotions, which are transformed into a muddled memory we obtain little value from. Journaling helps us process the day’s events, so that we are not plagued by distressing thoughts and feelings. In this way, journaling very much resembles mindfulness.
  • Helping us track our progress – we can use our journal to create strategies to deal with difficult situations, and take note of how we are progressing in our goals.
  • Identifying triggers – journaling regularly enables us to identify the situations or people that tend to make us anxious or upset. We can analyse how they manage to have this effect on us, and either make a conscious decision to process their words and actions in a different manner, or take more drastic measures if necessary (such as limiting the amount of time we spend in these types of situations, especially if they are toxic or bring no good to our lives).

What Types of Journal are there?
Ultimately, each of us defines and creates our own type of journal. Some people find success from keeping a gratitude journal – in which they regularly list down the things, people and events they are thankful for. Others (such as those in recovery from substance abuse, for instance) keep a recovery journal, to help track their progress, triggers and setbacks. Still others keep a journal to note their progress towards a defined goal. Another popular journal is the evening reflection journal, which enables the writer to reflect on their reactions to a specific event.

How to Journal?
Journaling ultimately only works if we are truly committed to it. The aim should be to write daily, or every couple of days, for a set amount of time (between 20 minutes and around half an hour at least). If you are considering starting a journal, find a comfy, quiet spot in your home, where you won’t be bothered by noise. Make this area as personal as you can – fill it with lights, put on relaxing music or decorate it so that just the idea of journaling seems immensely appealing. Every few days, go back over previous entries to reflect on them. During the day, use your phone or keep a small notebook, jotting down any important thoughts or feelings you may otherwise forget. Remember that journaling is a reflective exercise; use your journal to become more self-aware and to make the necessary changes you need for a better quality of life.

Further Reading:
Journaling as an Aid to Recovery, Recovery.org
Mindfulness meditation may ease anxiety, mental stress, Health.Harvard.edu
Yoga, Umm.edu
Journaling for Mental Health, Urmc.Rochester.edu
The Benefits of Journaling, UWhealth.org

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+ Got off 15 year old depression

Ryan’s case is proof of the spiritual saying “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” (Name changed)

“It all started with a handout CS was printing in the store I worked in. At first, I didn’t give it much thought. However, after yet another bout with insomnia, I decided to give the ‘Counting mode’ and ‘Segment mode’  a try (1). What could it hurt?. After a few nights of doing this technique, I found to my astonishment and relief, that my insomnia was gone.

After I told CS and thanked him, we got to talking and eventually I found that he taught classes in this technique and others. We set up a time that worked for both of us and we met weekly for a long time. After that first class, I was still not entirely convinced but I checked out his web site countingbreaths.com and began incorporating other simple techniques into my day.

Now, a few years later, I drink way less then I did before, quit smoking, working on my weight and climbing out of the deep dark depressive hole that I’ve been in, since I was 15. With the help of this technique, I can deal with people and situations better then I have, in the past, as well as have some peace of mind. For the first time in a long time, I can look forward to today instead of dreading it.”

Update Aug 2016: Ryan got off the Antidepressant medication totally, per the advice of his primary care doctor. My primary goal in working with him has come true.  

(1) Counting mode         Segment mode

Related pages
His previous feedback: I am building a ‘New Me’!

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+ ‘Segment mode’ was my medicine

Jessica attended my seminar at the Castleton library in March 2014 (Last name deleted). On receiving my e-mail of Annual Update 2015 in January, her memory of sound sleep after the library seminar prompted her to relearn it  to get over her chronic insomnia (1).  It shows once again, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears”.  The potential of ‘focusing on breathing’ tailored to the individual, is amazing. 

Scanned image of her e-mail (Last name deleted)

“C S is a life-saver and helped me tremendously with both my stress and insomnia. I would fall asleep completely exhausted and would wake up after about 4 hours of sleep, to use the bathroom. After that, I would toss and turn for hours, never falling back asleep. The more sleep I lost, the more stressed I would get and even more anxious. All of this lead to my depression. A vicious cycle which even medicine wasn’t helping to alleviate. After taking a brief class of C S at the library, I remembered how great I slept that night, after the class.

I contacted C S and he immediately set me up for an appointment (2). We worked together on the ‘Tip mode’ and I practiced that for the week (3). Still having some difficulty with falling back to sleep the next week, we worked on the ‘Segment mode’ (4). This was the cure-all! It has been the medicine I have needed, for a long time. This method helps me relax and fall back to sleep without spending hours, tossing and turning. The more sleep I am getting the less anxious I am and less stressed. My relationships with both my children and my husband are so much better too. I am not yelling like I was nor am I downright miserable either. I am my old self again, thanks to CS’s segment mode.

C S takes all of the time in the world, to help you and would check on me throughout the week, both by email and phone calls. He has a genuine heart and an even bigger desire, to bring peace to our world. May sitting at red lights bring you as much peace as it has brought to me (5). C S, you are one in a million.”

(1) Annual Update 2015
(2) Seminars and Classes
(3) Tip mode
(4) Segment mode
(5) Daytime practice

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* I am building a ‘New Me’!

Feedback from a client who achieved life changing benefits by practicing the ‘Focusing on breathing’ (8) initially on his own from my handouts and then attended 10 of my classes so far over last 6 months (3) . His previous reports are at (9).

“As someone who has fought the proverbial battle of the bulge most of his life, I know how hard it can be to make life changes. I have been through the crash diets, to doctors and so on with varying degrees of success. However the weight would always come back. I had pretty much given up.

Then one day, I picked up a handout on breathing mostly because it said it could help with my insomnia (1). To my surprise, it did help a lot and with more then just my lack of sleep (2).

Eventually, I was convinced to try taking the classes. Through the classes I have been keeping a food diary and trying new changes in my diet (4). I was even watching a subliminal video (5). This isn’t like the crash diets I’ve been on and its not pills.

In keeping the food diary, I am able to keep track of what I’m putting in my body (when you fist start, you may be shocked) (6). I started my changes gradually and in a way that I didn’t feel deprived. The changes I have made so far are

  • Drink water at least a half hr before food (7).
  • More whole unprocessed foods like vegetables and whole grains like brown rice and rye bread.
  • I added beans and salad to at least one meal a day.
  • And the real hard part – I cut down on my drinking beer and my meat (didn’t eliminate just cut down).

As I implemented these changes, I found my tastes have changed as well as my waistline from 46 to 44. I now only feel deprived if I miss my daily salad.

I have lost about ten ponds, in a sustainable way (300 lbs to 286 lbs in 5 months). I no-longer fear going back to the way I was.

I am building a ‘new me’.”

(1) How to enjoy quality sleep and conquer Inso

mnia PDF
How to enjoy quality sleep and conquer Insomnia Webpage
Relief from Insomnia – Success stories
(2) His first feedback on Insomnia and Stress
(3) Seminars and Classes
(4) His diet ‘before’ did not contain any significant vegetables, fruits or whole grains. Daily calorie count was above 3000 calories. He was drinking 20 measures of beer a week.
His ‘after’  classes  diet has regular salad, fruits, whole grains and beans. Beer cut down to 3 measures a week.  Daily calorie count gradually came down to around 14oo. He is steadily losing weight, coming down from 300 lbs to 286 in 5 months. Waist girth came down from 46 inches to 44. Best part is he developed taste for the healthier diet items and confident of keeping it up.
(5) I shared with him the free Subliminal video referred by another a person who came to my seminar and became a practitioner.
(6) I opened one google spread sheet for one week and shared with him. It is pre formatted so he can just post items and calories consumed through the day and instantly see the calorie count, daily and weekly. Just seeing the calorie count tremendously motivated him to control high calorie foods and empty calorie items like  like beer. I have been suggesting small changes periodically and motivating him to sustain the changes during the classes and on-line.
(7) Drinking water right quantity at the right time<
(8) How can I ‘focus on breathing’? 
(9) His previous reports
Relief from Depression, Addictions, Anger and Disturbing thoughts
Anger, Anxiety and Disturbed thoughts relieved
I cut back my mental health medicines
Insomnia and stress relieved

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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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@ 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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