Tag-Archive for » mindfulness «

@ Seminar at the East Greenbush Library

I offered the 9th seminar at East Greenbush Community Library (1) on October 22, 2013 from 7 to 8.30 pm. Attended by total 20 adults, 18 female and 2 male. A set of my key handouts (2) was distributed to every participant.

Scanned images of the Feedback forms

Summary of the Feedback

I knew about this seminar from 

  • Library newsletter – 10
  • Library website – 3
  • Sign in the library – 2
  • Facebook/ Library home page
  • The Advertiser newspaper
  • The Hindu Center
  • My daughter
  • Friend

This seminar is …

  • I loved it – 1
  • Very useful – 14
  • Useful – 5

I will use this technique for my (concern) 

  • Pain, Sleep
  • Sleep
  • Fibromyalgia  and insomnia
  • To sleep + Relax
  • Sleep
  • Stress & Lack of sleep
  • Falling and staying asleep
  • Insomnia and stress
  • Relaxation, Sleep inducement
  • Restful sleep and alertness
  • Back pain and stress
  • Stress, migraines and back pain
  • Work stress
  • Migraines, stress and muscle stiffness
  • Stress
  • Back pain
  • Mindfulness
  • Mind clarification
  • Relaxation

Comments about the seminar 

  • It was very helpful, handouts are wonderful, atmosphere was calm even though we were sitting in a library
  • Handouts are very helpful, easy to refresh/ remember
  • Wonderful, excellent instructor, great handouts. Please do another follow up session.
  • Great, so easy something I can do so easily
  • Very friendly and informative and easy to understand
  • Presenter was often difficult to understand but was  good at demonstrating the techniques
  • It was very beneficial. Things like breathing appear simple but they are not.
  • Good, entertaining and useful
  • A very helpful was to relax, increase sleep etc.
  • Thank you.I am looking forward to trying these techniques.
  • Very interesting
  • I enjoyed it
  • Very relaxing
  • Thank you – Will try daily
  • Very good seminar, the hour went quickly and the content fit well in that time frame.
  • Very good
  • The information I have had before in things I read but have not been practicing
  • Interesting, worthwhile
  • Calming, relaxing, meditation techniques usually warn about falling asleep

(1) East Greenbush Community Library
(2) Documents for download – All handouts

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Public Seminars

@ Calm serenity is the human base-line emotional state – Alfred’s progress

Please see (1) to know about Alfred.

“I have not sent you much lately but it is not because I have neglected my meditation practice. I am still at it for about an hour a day and continue to reap the rewards. Here is a short essay that, I think, encapsulates where I am at currently.

The Purpose of Meditation
Because of the strong interest I have developed in meditation I had begun to read about it. Some of what I read has been rewarding in that others have expressed insights that I had arrived at independently. This makes me feel that I am on a good path. However, much of the literature is contradictory and can create confusion. For example some practitioners of mindfulness meditation insist that you should be in a sitting posture and your eyes should be open. Others say any posture that is effective can be used and the eyes can be shut. Confusion sows doubt and doubt erodes successful effort. So, for now, I have stopped reading and am following my own path.

My path
What keeps me most focused is always bringing back to mind the purpose of my meditation. This purpose was always there but, with practice has clarified. I believe that the calm serenity I often achieve through meditation is the human base-line emotional state. When the business of life overwhelms us this tranquility is superimposed upon by agitation, excitement and stress. I also believe that emotional honesty and wisdom are best accessed from the tranquil base-line state. This fairly simple premise is the purpose of my mediation and by keeping it in mind I can redirect my attention appropriately when I stray.”

(1) Alfred

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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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@ “Thoughts are like dead leaves blowing in the wind” – Alfred’s progress

See (1) to know about Alfred. 


I had begun to worry about some aches and pains in my neck and hips and so I met with Elisa Cotroneo, a yoga teacher and somatic movement specialist. She was great and gave me some good advice on modifying my morning routine. I have begun to implement these changes and am already feeling an improvement. I have continued to develop the asana which I made up and am finding ever deeper relaxation from its practice.

Regarding your suggestion about extending the sitting meditation
It is interesting because I have begun to do that as a sort of natural progression.  When I find an asana (yoga posture) that makes me particularly tranquil, I will stop counting and continue the pose for some time.  I think these extended time frames are usually only 10-15 minutes now because that is about how long my total meditation time has increased.


The Tree Metaphor
When meditating try to experience all those things a tree experiences- the touch of a breeze, sunshine, bird song, roots reaching into the earth, branches to the sky, the weight of being. Avoid all those human overlays such as anger, anticipation, and regret.

Thoughts  vs Ideas
Because we cannot just turn our minds off (and it would be dangerous if we did) I have begun to differentiate between thoughts and ideas as I meditate. My definition of a thought is that it is a fragment of an idea. Thoughts come and go, some good, some bad, like dead leaves blowing in the wind. An idea is a whole thing. It can stand alone like a large smooth rock on the ground. It can be looked at from different sides. The glue that holds an idea together is intuition. Here is an example of an idea – that the tranquility experienced from meditation is a baseline. To achieve tranquility is simply opening a door to a new space. The exploration of that space is what counts. When I meditate I concentrate on that idea (as well as my breath, my body sensations and my state of mindfulness). Keeping that idea in focus allows me to ward off distracting thoughts and achieve tranquility more efficiently.

  • I took a long and stressful (busy traffic and bad weather) car trip helping my son move into a new apartment in Brooklyn. The rented van had extremely uncomfortable seats and we drove for over 7 hours. I used body awareness techniques I have learned from my asanas and ended the trip with no residual body stiffness.
  • I find myself striking up conversations with strangers or people who I hardly know more often.
  • Also, I think I am listening to other people better.

(1) Alfred

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Related posts: Alfred’s progress

@ Felt fresh at the end of a 3 hour ‘car trip’ – Alfred’s progress

See (1) to know about Alfred. 


This week was interesting because I took a trip to the ocean to fish with an old friend. One day I meditated on the sand on a beautiful ocean beach with the sounds of surf and shore birds. The next day I practiced on my friend’s deck in an urban area. The change of place in some ways distracted me a bit but also it made my “journey” different and I learned something from it.

I am doing pretty much the same practice as last week. However I am constantly refining subtle elements such as body scanning, breathing technique and mindfulness.


Meditation is considered a practice because it is something that, for most people, must be learned and developed. The natural state of human consciousness is not tranquil and serene. One of our evolutionary inheritances is to be on guard against danger. Although imminent danger is absent from many of our lives, our atavistic memory can keep us in a slightly edgy and nervous state. To achieve calm and clarity of thought through a meditative practice is to rise above these instinctual tendencies. This does not mean that you become blind to reality. By first recognizing needless anxious thought and then redirecting your mind, you are actually becoming more in tune with the real world and gain the additional benefit of well being.


I took a 3 hour car trip and applied calm and alert thought practices while driving. Not only was the trip very pleasant but, in addition, my perception of time became elastic and I felt as fresh when I completed the trip as when I started.

(1) Alfred

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Posts of Alfred’s progress

* Helped in focusing and reduced stress during a long exam

A patient of my daughter Padma Sripada M.D attended my seminar at the East Greenbush Community Library on May 4, 2011. I met her again today when we both participated at a seminar on ‘Mindfulness’. At the end of the seminar, she sought me out and said happily “I want to to share with you my recent experience with ‘focusing on breathing’. Recently I had a long civil service exam of 8 hours, sitting at a school desk. It was very stressful. I frequently practiced the ‘focusing on breathing’ technique during this exam. I used the counting mode and 911 modes a lot. It reduced my stress and helped me focus.”

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Improving Concentration and Focus – Success stories