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Seminar – Yoga & Meditation

I offered the fifth seminar at Venture Inward  on March 24, 2016 from 6.30 to 8.30 pm (1). Attended by 12 people – 9 female and 2 male and one girl. A folder containing my key handouts  and sample testimonials was given to each participant (2), (3). 

Scanned images of the feedback forms (w/o indetities) – PDF

Summary of the Feedback

I will use this technique for my (concern) 

  • Falling asleep
  • Mental relaxation
  • Sleep and relaxing
  • Stress and sleeping
  • Asthma
  • Sleep and relaxation
  • Energy (mental), Focus, Calmness, Sleep
  • Stress reduction
  • Stress, sleep
  • Spiritual health
  • Relaxation, when stress increases
  • Family stress

My ‘Take home’ points

  • To calm ‘Monkey mind’; I like the idea of a back door to meditation. I am going to try this! Thank you!
  • This helped me understand meditation better. Breakthrough!
  • Breathing using fingers, stretching on Yoga mat.
  • Relaxing.
  • Practice breathing.
  • Easy to do.
  • Several of the breathing methods, yoga stretches.
  • Stretches, Great breathing techniques.
  • Practice, enjoy, let it happen.
  • Don’t worry about your breaths. Some are short and some are long.

Seminar evaluation

  • Very satisfied – 12

Comments

  • I live in Cambridge, so it is too far to come for a meditation group.
  • Awesome.
  • I will most likely contact ‘C S’ to further the practice.
  • Very enjoyable, do-able, for all ages/ body types.
  • I thought it was great.
  • Can’t wait to teach the grandkids and use it for myself.
  • Would love to continue more workshops to add to what we have learned and make sure I am doing it correctly, to remember the techniques.

I recommend this seminar to (groups)

  • Yes – 2
  • Friends.
  • As always I do – to Venture Inward folks. (Margaret Kaufman the owner of this business, a clinical hypnotist).
  • Anyone -Seniors – Healthcare providers – Caregivers of ill family or friends – kids.

I wish to

  • Receive annual updates on ‘focusing on breathing’ – 8
  • Enrol for follow up classes on today’s techniques – 7
  • Join a support group for Meditation – 5

(1) ‘Venture Inward’ at 568 Columbia Turnpike East Greenbush NY 12061
(2) Documents for download – All handouts
(3) Sample testimonials – 16

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Related pages
Public Seminars

* Calmed myself on a scary air flight

This is the first report of its kind. Emily Marynczak (1) shared with me how she used the segment mode of ‘focusing on breathing’ (2) to keep herself calm for about 2 hours, during a scary air flight.

“A year ago I was traveling back home from Ohio. The flight was scheduled to be about two hours long and the weather seemed clear. But shortly after take off, the pilot announced that there was some windy weather that we would have to contend with and he was going to keep the fasten seat belt sign on, until things calmed down. And then the bouncing begun. It felt like the plane would suddenly randomly drop down a few feet – taking everyone’s stomach with it. It felt like the plane was being tossed to and fro- and then up and down. We had non stop turbulence for the entire flight, it was terrifying. (I don’t like flying even on a good day!) It would have been truly horrific for me, had I not had the mental focus that came from ‘counting my breaths’ (2). When the plane first began to bounce, I had my book on my lap but with the first big bounce, my fear began to rise and I was unable to concentrate on my reading. I was starting to feel a bit of panic surface. It was clear that all the people around me were getting very afraid too. I could hear audible gasps with the bigger drops we felt. I couldn’t imagine how I was going to cope.

Then really from a place of desperation, I decided to try ‘counting my breaths’ (2). I needed to focus on something other than the scary thoughts about a plane crash.

I closed my book, closed my eyes and placed my hands comfortably on my lap. I started using the ‘segment mode’ of ‘counting breaths with my left hand (3).

As I finished, I was noticeably calmer. I realized that while I had given my mind the task of moving my fingers with each breath, my mind was occupied and therefore there was no time to worry about the plane falling from the sky. I was so focused on my breathing and my task of moving my fingers that I couldn’t even really take in the stress of the people around me.

I continued counting my breaths in this manner, for the duration of the flight. Every now and then, if the plane leveled off and the winds calmed, I would stop, open my eyes and take in my environment. I took great comfort from knowing that if the wind picked up, I would have a way to cope, something concrete to do that would really help. Sure enough, the winds would pick up and like my life depended on it, I would resume my breath awareness, always starting with my thumb going to my pinky at the top segment. Two hours later, we landed safely.

The passengers on the plane cheered loudly, as they released their stress. As we were getting off the plane, it was obvious that the other passengers were visibly stressed and shaken by this awful flight. But I had a unique sense of calm. I think my calm came from not only the meditative practice of concentrating on my breath and having an anchor for my thoughts with the movements of my fingers, but also from the peace that I got from just knowing that I had something to try, if I felt scared. I am forever indebted to C S (Suryanarayana Chennapragada) for sharing this powerful technique with me. I am forever empowered in my life, to cope with the inevitable stresses that will come my way.

This was the first time that I had really practiced the segment mode of counting breaths on my own.

In my work as a childbirth educator,  I practice this technique as I teach my students, once or twice a month. The version of the counting breaths technique that I had been using a lot, prior to the airplane ride, and still use several times a week, is the version of counting to three, over and over again without using the fingers at all, all in the mind (2).  I practice this technique whenever I want to go to sleep. Sometimes when I start off, I hear the voice of my inner cynic say- “this won’t help you fall asleep.” But I practice it any way and then in the morning I awake refreshed and happy. I know that counting my breaths to three really works. Incorporating the finger movements doesn’t work for me when my goal is to go to sleep. It’s too much effort to contract the muscles of my hand. But as I demonstrated in my airplane story, the extra energy of contracting my fingers in such a deliberate and focused way, was exactly what I needed to use up the extra energy created by the stress I was experiencing.

I am grateful to CS for teaching me these simple yet profound tools.

(1) Emily Marynczak, AAHCC and Bradley Method Certified Birth Instructor #(518) 478-0062. (AAHCC is for American Association for Husband Coached Childbirth)
(2) How can I focus on breathing?
(3) Segment mode’ of  counting breaths as she practiced: “I brought my thumb to the top segment of my pinky finger and with the next breath I moved my finger down to the middle segment of my pinky and with the third breath I moved my thumb to the lowest segment of my pinky finger. With the next breath, I was onto the ring finger and so on, until three segments of all ten fingers had been touched with their own breath.” Also read (2).

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Seminars and classes 

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* My family life has changed dramatically

Feedback from a woman who attended seven of my classes (1) over last 4 months. She had several mind, body problems.

“Since I have started ‘focusing on breathing’ practices (2) with C.S (Suryanarayana Chennapragada) in October 2011, my family life has changed dramatically.  My daughter and I now talk on a daily basis without yelling at one another. My husband has calmed down his attitude around me. They both say it is because of the person I have become.  I am much more relaxed now and take things as they come, instead of  worrying about things.

My back pain (3) has gone away.  I am now exercising and get energy from doing it on a daily basis.  I have even signed up for a nutritional class and a Zumba class.

I am sleeping much better than I use to, without taking sleeping pills.   I also have started to eat healthier than I was before.   Basically I am a much calmer person with more energy, in the last four months, thanks to C.S. He has also given me good counseling advice better than any counselor I have ever seen in the past.   I would refer anyone to C.S. to help them with many factors in life. He is a very smart and caring man.”

(1) Seminars and classes 
(2) How can I focus on  breathing?
(3) How to relieve chronic pains by ‘Focusing on breathing’ and gentle stretching?

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* A lifeless plant gets a grand new life

There were a row of  plants about 8 feet high, by the side of the road leading to my office in the big paperboard mill I worked.  The purpose of these plants was to show off their dense green leaves and plenty of the yellow flowers, giving relief to the eyes from the drab concrete buildings and roads.

The plants looked absolutely drab most of the year with woody stems and hardly any fresh leaves. In the flowering season, beautiful yellow flowers would be seen but as soon as that short season was over, the plants were an eye sore rather than a relief. This was in spite of regularly watering them. Watching them many times a day, on my way to and from my office room was a pain for me.

As an experiment, I told my people in the civil maintenance department who maintained these plants, to prune only one of these plants drastically, leaving just a foot of the trunk from the ground. This was done promptly. I was worried whether I destroyed the plant and created a bigger eye sore. I watched them eagerly every day, for the results of the experiment.

After about 2 weeks, small green shoots were coming out of the trunk. I was relieved that at least the plant was not dead. Every day the number of vigorously growing shoots increased dramatically. In a few weeks there were hundreds of fast growing shoots. In about 3 months, hundreds of shoots with fresh green tender leaves had grown 3 feet high. This born-again plant was a feast for the eyes.

We repeated the process with all the other plants with similar happy results. This dramatic and unexpected transformation of an otherwise totally lifeless plants set me thinking …

Those plants were looking lifeless and as good as dead. I was in half mind to uproot them and plant new ones in their place. They looked as though they had no energy to grow new branches and leaves. But then what happened after the drastic pruning?

A giant reservoir of energy was unleashed when the plant was pruned drastically. That energy was so huge and readily available that it quickly initiated hundreds of new shoots and could sustain their vigorous growth to several feet. The plant did not need any extra inputs for it’s rebirth – no extra water, fertilizer, insecticide or attention. It had all it’s requirements in abundance.

Could this phenomena be true for individuals, teams or whole organizations?  Can the drastic stoppage of the routine, ritualistic, dull and meaningless daily routines unleash the giant dormant powers in them? Could it be that their lifeless performance is due to blocking of their powerful energies by life killing doubts, fears and meaningless activities? Can getting rid of these energy blocks unleash the hidden energies? Would that give birth to lively new thoughts, plans and activities, like those seen in the born-again plants? This great transformation may emerge without any additional rewards. The transformation itself would be a fantastic reward.

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Parent page: Articles on ‘Improving self and achieving goals’

“My back pain of 25 years standing is reduced by 80%”

Received this feedback from a person who attended my classes at the Albany Hindu Temple.

“I was suffering from back pain and sleep disorder for the last 25 years.  I was diagnosed with herniated disk and arthritis in L4 & L5.  Six years ago, I was hospitalized twice. I have been taking numerous pain relievers, muscle relaxers and narcotics for severe pain and spasms until last year.  I have been getting treated for 10 visits once in 6 months by Chiropractors and Physical Therapists.  Massage would make me feel good for a week. All  these would help for a week and then I would reach a plateau. I spent numerous hours and dollars at the pain clinics. Needless to say how much money was spent thru the Insurance Company.  I tried all kind of things from home remedies to old Grandma remedies to gain some relief without success.

A few months back,  I asked Suryanarayana Chennapragada (CS)  if he could teach me how to practice “SuryaNamaskar” (Sun salutations of  Yoga).  He mentioned about the ‘Focusing on breathing’ technique for relaxation and simple stretching exercises.  I had seen his brochures at the temple and other places.  I read them but never practiced.

I thought that I had nothing to lose, let me give it a try, may be this would work. I was meeting with CS every week, to learn the relaxation by breathing and stretching exercises.  After couple of weeks, I saw improvement in my sleep pattern and back pain.  I have been doing the breathing and stretching exercises for the past 3 months for about 30-45 minutes a day.  In this period, I did not take a single pain medication and had a good night sleep.  After mowing the lawn for about 3 hours, I would feel my back a a little sore but after a shower, breathing & stretching exercises I feel a lot better. After 30-45 minutes I am back to normal with no pain. Currently may pain is 20% of what it had been for so many years.

‘Focusing on breathing’  technique combined with the stretching exercises helped a lot with my back pain and sleep disorder. I  strongly suggest these techniques to everyone to reduce stress, back-pain and gain profound energy.  There is nothing to lose but a lot to gain, that too, without spending any Dollars.”

Related pages
How can I focus on breathing?
Relief from chronic pains – Success stories 
How to relieve chronic pains by ‘Focusing on breathing’ PDF

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