Tag-Archive for » fall asleep «

+ Who said Meditation is difficult?

Many people are put off by the classic perception of Meditation: sitting still for an extended time. They are missing its tremendous potential for relieving numerous problems of mind, body and relationships. Many years back, I stumbled upon the ‘counting breaths’ style of meditation and adapted it to suit a busy lifestyle. It pulled me out of crippling stress. Here is the essence of it.

Q: I can’t do meditation. My monkey mind wanders beyond my control.

A: This is like a 3 year old saying “What is the point in my going to school when I don’t know A,B, C or 1,2,3?’”. All the novice meditators begin with a wandering mind. It is not a big deal.  We begin training the mind in concentration. Our goal isn’t 100% focus.

Q: What else?

A. Our goal is to increase the focusing from let us say 5% to 8% which means wandering decreases from 95% to 92%. As our practice continues, the focusing percentage gradually creeps up but the stress level slides down lot more. We become calmer and manage the stressful situations better.

Q. This sounds good. But you know what, I can’t sit still even for a few seconds.

A. Not a problem. In this made-for-beginners style of meditation, we practice lying comfortably in the bed.

Q. What if I quickly fall asleep? My meditation will be a non-starter!

A. Relax! This style of meditation is a sneaky entry into the daunting house of meditation. Focusing on breathing keeps the thoughts out, calms the mind and relaxes the body. You will sleep effortlessly and enjoy better sleep. You will get hooked on this practice.

Q. I can’t wait to do this meditation. How do I do it?

A. Here are the 1-2-3 steps.

1. Focus on your in-breath and out-breath. Count each breath to strengthen the focus.

2. Soon the mind wanders. You will realize that your mind stopped focusing on breathing. Just for catching the mind wander, your meditation becomes half successful.

3. As soon as you catch your mind wander, quietly resume counting the breaths. Now your meditation becomes 100% successful. Never mind if this is a cycle of few seconds.  Simply repeat these cycles of success any number of times. Feel empowered in having control over the unruly mind! First get into the game and it will build up strength on its own. No rules or restrictions to worry about. Does this make sense?

Sure! I can do this kind of meditation. Who said meditation is difficult?

If you like this page, share it with your friends. 

@ “It has proven useful” An LCSW Client

A LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) who attended 10 of my classes over 7 months wrote this in her Holiday Greetings Card: “Thank you for all that you have taught me about the breath in our “Classes” (1). I do use what I learned and it has proven useful. “ 

She had chronic insomnia, taking sleep medication for many years. She was in the habit of watching TV and reading a book to get tired and fall asleep. In spite of my repeated suggestions, she did not try the extended breathing practices to get sleep to be able to gradually cut down the medication (2). But when giving me the greeting card, she said she would request her doctor to reduce the dosage of her sleep medicine at her upcoming visit. Apparently her practicing the breathing at all the other times made enough impact on her anxieties to think of cutting down the medication.

(1) Level I – Focusing on breathing
(2) How to Enjoy Quality Sleep and Conquer Insomnia?

Related pages
Relief from Insomnia – Success stories

If you like this page share it with your friends. 

* Traditional style of teaching meditation failed

Today a woman in her fifties came to my classes interested in learning and practicing meditation. Her case is a classic instance showing how traditional way of teaching this great technique lets down the genuinely interested beginners with potential. After learning ‘focusing on breathing’ in my classes, she could make a successful beginning on the path of meditation and making progress in relieving her problems (6). 

Asked how she knew about my classes she explained. She searched on-line for Diwali (An Indian Festival of Lights) (1). She found the local Indian residents’ website Alabnydesi.com and in it, found my classes under ‘Stress management’ (2).  Asked about her interest in the ‘focusing on breathing’ technique, she said that she attended the 10 day residential program of  ‘Vipassana’ (also called insight meditation)   at a nearby center, 7 years back (3) (4). During the program, she was asked to sit on the floor and practice the ancient technique for hours. She was given minimal food for breakfast and lunch and an apple for dinner. She successfully endured the rigors of the program in spite of the the mental and physical demands on her. At the end of the program, she was asked to practice at home, for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening. She found the practice useful and liked it but could not practice at home, under the guidelines given to her. She therefore totally gave up on it!

While I was in India, I knew 4 people in the company I worked for who did the same program earnestly for 10 days  but never practiced at home. One of them even did the program twice but could not practice at home due to the time pressure of job and family with children.

This is the reason why I have adopted the unconventional method of teaching the technique (5). In my seminars and classes, I ask the clients to practice the first step of of ‘focusing on breathing’ sitting in chairs or sofas, using their fingers. At the end, I suggest that they practice the technique at home, lying in the bed at night, to fall asleep! After they get used to the practice and get hooked on it, they  are likely to advance to the next steps as explained in this website (5).

(1) Diwali (Indian Festival of Lights)
(2) Albanydesi.com/Stress management
(3) How Can I Focus On Breathing?
(4) Vipassana (Insight meditation)
(5) Why do most people accumulate stress and suffer?
(6) Insomnia, Anger and Anxiety relieved

If you like this page share it with your friends. 

@ Improved my relationship with my fiance

Report from a client aged 52 who attended three of my classes over 3 weeks.  He picked up the techniques very quickly, practiced in all earnestness and derived remarkable benefits in just 3 weeks. When I see improvement achieved by such people, I get the thought “How many people are suffering from not knowing these simple techniques or similar ones? Should we not teach them in school and college?”. 

His responses to my standard questions are here. 

  • What were the issues which prompted you do the classes?

* Insomnia: I have sleep apnea and using CPAP machine. I had a hard time falling asleep . I was waking up 2- 3 times in the night.

* How to manage stress

* Managing anger (as it affected my relationship with my fiance)

  • What techniques have you learned and practiced and at what times? 

I practiced ‘Counting mode’ primarily, the ‘Segment mode’ or the ‘Tip mode’. I also practice the ‘Staring mode’ when at a red light (1). I find myself being disappointed when the light turns green, as it interrupts my breathing practice (2). I also use the feeling mode (1) sometimes when at work.

I do the ‘waking up routine’ (3)-.

After returning from work, I lie down on the carpet with a yoga mat under just below the knee and complete four hands using the ‘Segment mode’ (1).

I do the going the ‘bed routine’ every night (4).

  • What improvements have you noticed in mind, body and relationships?

My insomnia has improved dramatically. In just the three weeks practicing these techniques, I have only woken up once in the middle of the night and I fall asleep much faster.

I’m much more patient in circumstances where I’m usually impatient such as waiting at a red light.

I feel much more relaxed. Especially after coming home from work and doing the after work routine. I feel incredibly relaxed after that, like all the day’s tension has gone.

It has improved my relationship with my fiance. I’m much calmer in situations where normally I would react in anger or feel tension rising within me. Instead of responding back to her in anger and frustration, I try ways such as telling her that I appreciate her feedback but I get negative feelings when she expresses it to me in that manner. This has worked in preventing the situation from escalating. I try not to feed the fire.

(1) All the modes are in this page “How can I focus on breathing?
(2) Focusing on breathing during driving
(3) Waking up routine
(4) Waiting for sleep

If you like this page share it with your friends. 

@ Seminar at Albany Memorial Hospital for Diabetes Support Group

I offered the first seminar at Albany Memorial Hospital (AMH) for the Diabetes Support Group on June 5, 2013 from 6 to 7.30pm. This was set up by Marcy Pickert form AMH Diabetes Education Group. Attended by total 15 adults –  either diabetes patients or their family members. A set of my key handouts (1) was distributed to every participant. 

Scanned images of the Feedback Forms

Summary of the Feedback

This seminar is …

  • Very useful – 11
  • Useful – 3
  • Somewhat useful – 1

I will use this technique for my (concern) 

  • Agitated moments, Sleeping.
  • Help with sleep & Relaxation (Control less worries).
  • Insomnia, Relieving stressful situation, Helping with stress at work.
  • To help me fall asleep faster.
  • Sleeplessness, Sporadic or interrupted sleep.
  • Try to get up at a reasonable hour in the morning.
  • Work, Relax when facing a new or difficult task at work.
  • Relaxation.
  • Stress management and arguing less, Stop and think.
  • Stress and losing control.
  • High blood pressure, Anxiety and frustration of dealing with diabetes.
  • Relieve chronic pain for my hands. Pinched ulnar nerve in Mar 2010. Hands have not been normal since then.
  • To cool off after getting fired up.

Comments about the seminar 

  • Very relaxing.
  • Interesting relaxation technique (s).
  • I am looking forward to the results.
  • Speak lower as I was getting too relaxed.
  • You were very well understood. Demonstrations were useful. These should be given to high school students especially scholar athletes who need rest.
  • Very well presented.
  • Very enlightening – It shall work.
  • Rather repetitive techniques are common knowledge but presenter was very enthusiastic.
  • Very friendly and welcoming. One hardly thinks of managing such a basic process. But I will try diligently. He reminds me of Feldenkrais.
  • Interesting. No microphone.
(1) Documents for download – All handouts

If you like this page share it with your friends.  

@ Not a sufferer of insomnia any more!

Feedback from Sarah Firisen, a friend of our family:

She read my handouts (1) and attended one class along with her daughter, to get to know the technique. She was happy with how it helped with her sleep problems after a short time of practice. On my request she sent this feedback.

“As a chronic sufferer of insomnia, I’ve found that the Counting Breaths technique enables me to fall asleep easily, have a better quality of sleep and get back to sleep if I wake in the night. I’ve not suffered from insomnia since I began using the technique. I would thoroughly recommend it.”

(1) Documents for download

Related pages
Relief from insomnia – Success stories

If you like this page share with your friends. 

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

* Many problems resolved, my face glows

Feedback from an African American client Christine (not her real name) who attended four of my classes over 5 weeks. She reported multiple problems when she came in. She absorbed the techniques and practiced them with all her heart. On my advice, she read most of my articles on Relationships (1). She came out of most problems in a surprisingly short time of 5 weeks. Details –

“I was really stressed out on my job at a medical office, due to my boss. I had to always to prove myself and be constantly on the go. I could never stop to even think where I was and what I was working on.I learned in the classes how take breaths and relax more effectively in my daily life. The breathing techniques I have been using are the ‘Tip mode’ and the ‘Segment mode’ (2), in the morning and night. I also do a lot of breathing  during the day (3).
Due to these practices, my body balance has changed and my mind has become so relaxed that nothing and no one stresses me. I am so calm even when dealing with others at work. My skin complexion has changed. I now have a bright glow in my face.

I thank ‘C S’ (Suryanarayana Chennapragada) for helping me achieve total peace of mind.”

I had a personal interview with her to inquire about the several problems that she had but did not mention in her above feedback. She let me know their status as described below.

Stressful interactions with boss

Before: Her boss was very intimidating and being mean in his daily interactions with her as well as other employees. She used to take his words seriously to her heart and tried to respond to them in all earnestness. As nothing she said or did made any difference to his behavior she was getting angry and frustrated. She used to clench her jaws and grind her teeth.
Now: After practicing the breathing at bedtime and during her interactions with her boss, she stopped taking his mean style seriously. She listens to him and tells herself that he is the one who has the problem, not she. His verbally abusive behavior  has nothing to do with her.

Jaw tension and Grinding of teeth

Now: Reduced by 95%

Migraine pains

Before: Almost every day, lasting for 2 hours.
Now: Once in a while.

Shoulders puffed up

Before: Whenever she heard his mean words, which was every day.
Now: None, in spite of his behavior  being same.

Hears everything in sleep

Before: In her sleep she used to hear all sounds around her. She used to wake up twice in the night.
Now: She sleeps undisturbed,till the alarm goes off. She does not hear any sounds. Recently her husband commented with a surprise that she was able to fall asleep even when the the TV was on. 

Hours of sleep

Before: She used to sleep at 10 and wake up at 3 am and was not able to get sleep for at least 30 minutes, due to her racing mind.
Now: She sleeps undisturbed all through the night, till the alarm goes off at 6 am.

How she felt on waking up 

Before: Felt exhausted
Now: Feels great.

Back pain and Neck pain

Now: She has them only slightly. To avoid neck pain she stopped holding the phone between her cheek and shoulder. Her chronic stress was straining her muscles in her jaws, neck, shoulders and back.

(1) My articles on ‘Relationships’
(2) How can I focus on breathing?
(3) Daytime practice
(4) Releasing tension in the jaws

Related pages
Face looks bright and healthy – Success stories

If you like this page share it with your friends. 

* No more insomnia or headaches

Feedback from a client who attended 4 of my classes (3) over last one and half months.

“I had some anxiety issues and sleep problems. I was looking for solutions for these issues not willing to take any medications. So, it was a blessing to come across the countingbreaths.com website and get to meet CS (Suryanarayana Chennapragada).

I used to have headaches almost everyday, due to my anxiety. The more I worried about my headaches, the more intense they became.

I had sleep problems as well. Once I got into bed, it used to take me about 3 hours to fall sleep. Thanks to the breathing techniques,  those problems were fading away gradually. I use the ‘segment mode’ of the technique to fall sleep (1). Now it only takes me 10-15 minutes to fall asleep!

Every time I feel a little stressed I use ‘counting mode’ (1). It helps me to feel more relaxed. The ‘911 technique’ (2) helped me to cope better with my anxiety issues. Since working with CS and using the techniques he has taught me, I feel I have a better quality of life. I feel great, no more anxiety, no more headaches and I sleep better!”

If  you like this page share it with your friends.

(1) ‘How can I focus on breathing?’ using different modes.
(2) 911 mode
(3) Seminars and classes

Related pages
Relief from insomnia – Success stories 
How to enjoy quality sleep and conquer insomnia by ‘Focusing on breathing’