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* Seminar at the Hope Club

My monthly seminar at the Hope Club (1) was attended by one woman aged 70 who had surgery and chemotherapy for ovarian cancer at the Albany Medical Center. She is due for CT scan this May. Her sleep was OK before, but now she wakes up around 2 am and has difficulty going back to sleep. At end of the seminar she felt relieved that she will be able to use this technique (2) to get back to sleep and reduce her stress.  

Scanned image of her feedback form

She reported

  • Her expectation from the seminar was fulfilled to grade A+.
  • She would use the technique for her stress over ovarian cancer
  • Her take home from the seminar was “Very relaxed. My shallow breathing has improved.
  • She would recommend the technique to her friend with migraines.

(1) Hope Club of the American Cancer Society
(2)
How Can I Focus On Breathing?

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Seminars done at the Hope Club

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* Feeling more concentration …

Feedback from a young Software Engineer who attended my seminar at the ‘Hope Club’, along with three other professionals, on Jan 26, 2012 (1).

“I would like to share my experience after I attended the seminar  on  “Focusing on breathing” yesterday. I came to know about these techniques a week back through my close friend. I got the website information also. I did practice the technique on my own to get rid of the stress and continuous thoughts in my mind. These were making me sleepless for the past two weeks. When I attended the program yesterday and practiced in your presence, all my doubts were cleared. I felt more relaxed in my mind. I practiced the technique same night when I wanted to sleep and slept nicely. I practiced this morning  before starting for work. Now I am feeling more concentration than before. I want to continue this practice for better living. Thank you very much for your valuable guidance and providing the hand outs.”

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(1) Feedback from all the participants of the seminar

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* Boy practicing at doctor’s office

Yesterday I went to the “Hope club’ of the American Cancer Society to offer a seminar. I asked Alana Streifert, the coordinator for the children’s programs at the club whether the children who were introduced to the technique were using it (1). She happily replied –

“Yes. They do. Recently I got a call from a mom to ask what was the breathing technique her son learned at the club. When the mom was at the doctor’s office she found her son touching his fingers and doing some breathing. She asked him what he was doing and he explained it to her. So she was curious to know about the technique from me. ” This is a case of the son teaching the technique to his mom!

Alana also said one of the parents who learned the technique was teaching the technique to other children.

This is one more proof that children will benefit from this technique, as it is simple, easy to remember and use  and seems to help them calm themselves on their own, with no prompt from the parents. Does it not make sense to teach this technique to every child, like we teach A.B, C, D and 1, 2, 3?

(1) Tip mode

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Training children

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* “I practiced at my Dentist’s office”

I made a follow up visit on Nov 1,2011, to the kid’s group, at the American Cancer Society’s Hope club at Latham NY. There were 10 kids out of which 5 had attended my first session on Oct 4, 2011 (1) and 5 were new. There were 3 other adults. I asked each the five kids and adults who attended my previous session how they practiced the breathing technique and how they felt about it. Some of them said they practiced at bed time and some said they practiced in the morning. One 9 year old girl said she practiced at her dentist’s office, to calm herself. I asked her if she did it on her own or any one suggested to her, to use the technique. She said she did it on her own. See the amazing implication of this –

  • The 9 year old girl learned the technique and experienced its impact for about 2 minutes in a 15 minute group session. She received my 2 page hand out on the technique (2).
  • She clearly understood the technique and liked that brief experience. She internalized the technique, as her own self calming tool.
  • She was so comfortable with the technique that she remembered about it when she felt anxious at her dentist’s appointment and used it on her own to calm herself!

Does it not make sense to equip every child with this technique, as a simple and readily usable self calming tool, available life long, at no cost? Is it not as useful as the basic skills of reading the alphabets and counting the numbers? What an incredibly effective life long technique at no cost!

Some of the kids in this group lost a parent or family member due to cancer. As previously planned, I briefly shared with the group, my personal experience of losing my younger brother of 10 years in the year 1965, due to drowning in a lake (3).

I shared with the group the ‘Segment mode’ of focusing on breathing (4).

(1) Introductory seminar for kids at the Hope club
(2) ‘Calm yourself, anywhere, anytime’
(3) My brother Ramu died at the age of 10
(4) How can I do it?

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* Seminar for kids at the Hope Club

I offered a short seminar of about 30 minutes to the kids and their coordinators and facilitators on Oct 4, 2011, at the ‘Hope club'(1). It was attended by about 10 children and 5 adults. Three of the kids had lost a parent due to cancer and other kids had a cancer survivor as a parent. The proceeding at the seminar is summarized below.

The participants introduced themselves. I demonstrated the ‘Tip Mode’ (2) to them, using one hand. We all practiced together, on one hand, counting the breaths aloud. They did one hand, counting aloud while I was watching their finger movements. Then they alone practiced the technique, till they completed 4 hands (alternating both hands), counting the breaths silently. They were given the choice of keeping the eyes open or closed. Most of them practiced eyes closed. The practice lasted for about  5 minutes. When they opened their eyes all the faces were smiling! This is a common observation.

I asked each participant to share with the group how he or she felt about the experience. They said that they felt relaxed or calm or good.

I asked each of them to share when they intend to use the technique.  Most of them said they would use the technique at bed time. Other ideas were – on waking up, when angry and when stressed.

I distributed a 2 page hand out of the technique “Calm yourself anywhere, anytime” (3), to every participant and the ‘Relax Anywhere, Anytime’ hand out (4) to the adults.

One adult asked whether the breathing should be deep or normal. I clarified that one should breathe normally. One should watch the in and out breaths like watching the waves in the ocean, sitting on the beach. This breathing is a passive observation of the in and out breaths, unlike Yoga breathing, in which the breathing is to be regulated, to meet given guidelines. The facilitators said they would reinforce the practice on the days the kids meet at the club. They would try it during the transitions from one activity to another.

We agreed to meet again after a month, to review the practice and share individual experiences. The tentative date set is Nov 1, 2011.

(1) The Hope club is located at 1 Penny Lane Latham NY 12110 is a part of the American Cancer Society. It offers free programs to support individuals suffering from cancer and their families, including children. I volunteered to offer my periodic seminars and follow up classes at this place to help its members with support from Tracy Pitcher the Director. The children’s programs are coordinated by Alana Streifert.
(2) How can I do it?
(3) Calm yourself anywhere, anytime
(4) How to be calm Anywhere, Anytime
(5) Report on the follow up visit

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