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Practitioners Feedback 1/16/18

One member came though it was snowing and said he didn’t want to let down others who RSVP’D. It was so nice of him. Two others cancelled the RSVP in advance.

What did we do?

–  Reviewed the practice after the last meetup

– Meditated sitting in chairs on cushions to effortlessly maintain an erect posture, using the segment mode, for about 30 minutes and then chanting ‘May we all be happy silently’ once at each segment completing two hands. During the chanting visualized the images of people in the immediate vicinity, then family, coworkers, extended family members and so on, expanding the coverage wider and wider, as the time permits. The goal is to extend the good wishes to one and all including those we don’t like.

– At the end, massage all over the head, neck and shoulders using one hand at a time.

– Then CS (Organizer) demonstrated the movements of ‘Stretching for beginners’ as shown in the video posted in ‘countingbreaths.com’ (1). This stretching is to follow the morning meditation to prepare the body for action during the day. It also develops body awareness, supplementing breath awareness.

Suggestions from CS

To improve sleep: Before lying down, empty the mind by downloading the swirling thoughts on to a paper. Make two columns – one titled “Worries and Goals’ and the second titled ‘Plans’. Post all the thoughts into the respective columns. This would free the mind. After lying in the bed, as soon as one desires to sleep, practice the ‘Segment mode’ non-stop to automatically fall asleep.

– To bring lying or sitting meditation into the daily routine, set an alarm 30 minutes before the current waking up time. Use this newly created free time to practice meditation either lying in the bed or sitting on the chair or floor.  Morning meditation will make a big impact on daytime stress. After the meditation practice becomes a daily habit, prepone the alarm by 15 minutes and practice the stretching routine also.

– On weekends, allot at least 45 minutes to practice meditation and stretching.

– Meetup for all levels: We talked about setting up another meetup for potential Beginners and Practitioners who are not able to come on Tuesdays. The second Saturday of the month from 2 to 3.30 was considered a good time.  I invite other members to comment on this proposal. If no comments are received by 1/24/18, I will go ahead and announce as above.

Summary of his feedback

My purpose in joining this group

– Rewind and review the practice, release the stress and reclaim control of my emotions and reactions.

Today’s ‘Take home’ ideas

– New morning routine
– Meditation and then stretching

Overall evaluation of the session

– Very useful

Suggestions for the future –

I plan to attend the next meetup

– Yes

My sources of stress

– Work
– Family
– Relationships

I cope with my stress by

– Meditation
– Doing things that I enjoy

Total voluntary donations offered – $10

(1) Stretching for beginners

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+ Emotional abuse by mother relieved

Kaitlin (name changed) aged around 60, a single software Engineer, attended 6 of my classes. She was emotionally abused by her mom for more than 47 years. And it continued even when her mother was 80+ and dependent on her help for daily living. Kaitlin attended therapy but it did not help her get over this root cause of her stress. The following changes were reported by her during the classes. 

Before the classes 
  • Emotionally abused by mom ever since she turned 13. Mom used to fill her plate with food and force her to empty it. When she emptied it, she would fill it again. She gained weight. Then mom taunted her for being fat. She was always criticizing and controlling.
  • Mother’s taunts: She agitatedly spoke about her distress from her mother’s taunting words. She did not know how to handle her.
  • Insomnia: Not able to sleep without TV. Leaving TV on, reading, difficulty falling asleep, waking up 2 to 3 times, Not able to get back to sleep.
  • Anxiety in the morning about the work.
  • Eating unhealthy
  • Diabetic – 10 years
  • Stress at work – Losing patience.
  • Anger
  • Obesity
  • Stress about job relocation.
  • Diet: Comfort foods like candies,cookies, overeating throughout the day.
  • No physical exercise.
  • Brother’s behavior was a big source of stress. Felt helpless against his cheating and irresponsible behavior.
Her ‘Focusing on breathing’ Practices and more 
  • Tip mode (1)
  • Segment mode (1)
  • Counting mode (1)
  • Waking up (2)
  • Driving (3)
  • I repeatedly introduced the concepts of my articles on ‘Relationships’ and discussed them during the classes to help her internalize them and use them in her interactions with her mother (4).
Now
  • Mother’s abusive behavior: From the fourth class onwards, she did not speak a word about her mom. Instead she started focusing on her own goals like her obesity, stress at work etc.
  • Episodes of anger at work less by 70%. “If someone upsets me I let it pass. Only one episode in the last 3 weeks. Anger less by 70%.”
  • Anxiety about relocation of job is less by 70%. “I put things  out of my mind.”
  • Focus – Better
  • Patience – better
  • More relaxed
  • Overeating at night.
  • Not procrastinating.
  • Confidence improved. 
  • Assertiveness improved.
  • In general more active.
  • Accomplishing more.
  • Overeating in general: Less by 20%. Cut down on cookies and candies.
  • Practicing Yoga nidra.
  • Exercise: Started again after one year, on weekends. Stationary bike 20 min, walking 10 min.
  • Less body stiffness.
  • Doing ‘Albany peace project’ meditation at night.

(1) How can I ‘Focusing on breathing’
(2) Waking up ‘focusing on breathing’
(3) ‘Focusing on breathing’ during driving
(4) My articles – Relationship related

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+ Recurring Headaches totally relieved

Feedback from Krishna (name changed), a young married client who is doing my classes by skype and in person. His headaches were relieved within 2 weeks.

He came to my daughter’s office for his chronic headaches and received prescription for nasal spray for pain relief (1). I was checking him out the reception and could clearly see his anxiety, stress and lost look. I felt ‘Focusing on breathing’ may help him, gave him my key handouts and asked him to try the technique at night to fall asleep (2). He quickly scanned through the handouts and signed up for my classes (3). This is an interim report on his relief from headaches. He is continuing the classes to resolve stressful family relationships.

Before practicing this technique
He was getting headaches daily, lasting a couple of hours. Using the nasal spray prescribed by the doctor gave him relief.

What did he practice?
He practiced the ‘Folding 911 mode’, ‘911 mode’ ‘Counting mode’ and ‘Tip mode’. He practiced at bedtime, on waking up, at work, biking to office and back and whenever he felt stressed.

Improvement noticed
Whenever he got a headache, he practiced the ‘Folding 911 mode’ and it was totally relieved. He was very happy that he could control them without using the nasal spray. In a few weeks, the headaches totally stopped.

(1) Padma Sripada MD
(2) Documents
(3) Seminars and Classes

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+ Now I am able to stand up for myself

Report from Sam in his thirties with a masters degree (name changed). He reported that, he found this website and videos in his on-line search. Listening to my voice in the videos was very calming for him. He  had been playing my videos at bedtime to fall asleep.

After a few classes, he reported these developments.

  • He stopped his long standing habit of biting nails. He felt it was due to his improved awareness, self control and reduction of severe anxiety.
  • He found that his long standing fear of public speaking was gone. Before practicing this technique, he had great anxiety anticipating his thesis presentation to his class. But recently, he even volunteered to speak to his class and spoke for one hour without any problem!

On my request, he sent this recent testimonial.

“CS is an amazing teacher, mentor, and friend. His techniques have helped me grow so much in the last year and a half.

I began going to CS at a stressful time in my life, at a point when I knew I needed a change. My confidence was low, and I was stressed out from work and in social settings.

His techniques immediately had an impact on my life. I started setting attainable goals and was able to reach them.

Now I am counting my breaths at night before bed, and at random times throughout my day. It helps me calm my mind.

The books CS proposes I read are helping me become a better person, especially with my relationships with others. Before going to CS, I was having a tough time communicating with my parents and people in my professional life. Now I have the knowledge to protect my inner self and stand up for what I believe, and the relationships are improving.

I will use these techniques for the rest of my life, as it is helping me in being happy. I recommend going to CS if you are having a stressful time dealing with anything in your life, you will not regret it!”

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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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@ Anger, Anxiety and Disturbed thoughts relieved

Feedback from a young man who attended 2 of my classes after practicing the technique (1) on his own, using my handouts (2) for about 9 months. 

He reported improvement on a host of mental, physical and relationship issues. Also a dramatic reduction in the following concerns that he experienced before practicing the techniques. His previous reports are at (3).

  • Anger: Relieved by 80%
  • Anxiety and Stress: Relieved by 70%
  • Disturbing thoughts and feelings: Relieved by 95%

Before: “Something very bad happen every day.”

Now: “So much less. Most situations, I can handle and working on the ones I have problems with.” 

For the first time in many years, he is now thinking of a career plan for which he had no inclination due to his depression, anxiety and stress.

(1) How can I focus on breathing?
Waking up routine
(2) Documents for download
(3) Insomnia and stress relieved
Cutting down mental health medicines

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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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@ Meditating while traveling – Alfred

See (1) to know about Alfred. 

Returned from a 3 week trip bike riding in Ireland. I was able to meditate daily for the entire trip except the big travel days going and coming. Meditating while traveling gave me several insights.

I began to see the trip as a scale model of my life at home. When at home, I have the usual stresses focused around work, money, relationships and managing things, both physical and mental. At home, meditation helps me keep all of this in perspective and adds a calm cadence to my daily life.

When I travel, I disregard most all of these usual stresses and replace them with a new set. Will the plane be on time for my next connection? Will the rental bicycles be satisfactory? Will I be able to drive on the left side of the road without becoming a casualty? Will tomorrow’s 40 mile bike ride be in a torrential rain storm? These worries loomed large at the beginning of the trip, but as things unfolded and, for the most part worked out well, the stress was reduced. As the stress lessened, I found it easier to still my mind in meditation.

When I returned home, I had over 70 items of mail to deal with, 234 emails, text messages and a host of other things that demanded my immediate attention. Thrust back into the maelstrom of my life, I found it hard at first to still my mind. But in a few days, as order was restored in my routine, my meditation practice returned to the way it was pre-trip and I found calmness easy to access and also some progress almost every day.

The point of all this is that problems always exist in life but the way you perceive them can vary widely. Assumptions about the way things are, is often largely illusionary. It is really a choice we each have, to be crippled by our way of thinking, or to see things more philosophically and not let our perceptions destroy our mental well-being. Often times we feel frustrated or weak because we allow ourselves to adopt an unhealthy attitude. With practice I believe you can change your moods like you would change an article of clothing. Adopting a more patient and thoughtful mood allows us to keep our challenges in perspective. It allows us to see that, no matter how difficult a situation seems, it too will pass.

(1) Alfred
His previous posts

Related pages
How to  drive like a Buddha
My mind related articles relevant to the last para above

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@ Stress-relief, as easy as 1,2,3

This is a reproduction of the blog post in the Times Union Newspaper by Anna McMahon (1) who is a practitioner of this technique and also its great supporter. She was instrumental in organizing my seminar at the Bethlehem Central Middle School on May 15, 2013. I am grateful to her for the wonderful encouragement.

____________________________________________________________________

Stress-relief, as easy as 1,2,3
Tuesday, May 7, 2013 by: Anna McMahon

Free presentation: Focusing on Breathing, at Bethlehem Central Middle School (Library Media Center)
Wednesday May 15, 2013 7-8 pm

Presented by Suryanarayana Chennapragada (“C.S.”), at the invitation of Bethlehem Healthy Kids Committee.

We all know that modern life is stressful. Work pressures, school pressures, family and relationship pressures…everyone suffers stresses of one kind or another, and too much stress can lead to health issues such as headaches, insomnia, anxiety or panic attacks.

Relief may be at hand – literally. With the Focusing on Breathing technique (2), instructor Suryanarayana Chennapragada (“C.S” for short), demonstrates how stressful thoughts and feelings can be brought under control through a simple process of focused breathing, using the fingers as counters. No pills, no special equipment, no mystical concepts. If it sounds ridiculously simple, well, it is! Even young children can learn it, and people of any age can practice it.

My personal experience includes using the technique successfully to get to sleep, and to calm myself in anxious situations. A good friend of mine has found relief from debilitating chronic insomnia. On C.S.’s website you will find testimonials from people who have used the technique to overcome numerous problems, including quitting smoking, improving blood pressure, building self-confidence and increasing focus for work or study.

Everyone is welcome to attend the one-hour seminar hosted by Bethlehem Healthy Kids Committee. Come and try the technique, and see if it works for you. You have nothing to lose but your stress!

____________________________________________________________________

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(1) Blog link
(2) How to be calm Anywhere, Anytime (24)
(3) Testimonials 2012 (24)

* ‘Focusing on breathing’ helping three generations

Here is a wonderful feedback from a woman narrating how this simple technique is helping her, her daughter and her mom, all three generations

“Well I guess I should start out by saying that I am a 31 year old single mother that needed a little assistance with some unneeded stress in my life. Being a mother of two has been a wonderful, trying experience. I work full time and had a part time job to make ends meet. I was first introduced to the breathing (1) by my co-worker C S (Suryanarayana Chennapragada). I’m a very open minded person so I was willing to try anything to reduce the production of any grey hairs. On top of me being a full time mom and employee, I also had other added issues that needed to be attended too.  I have arthritis in my lower back which causes me a lot of pain.  I started the breathing mainly for this reason.  I would start breathing at night before I would fall asleep.   I noticed it didn’t take me more than 5 mins to pass out. I was able to clear my head and focus on sleeping instead of the 15 million different things I had to accomplish the next day or week. As I continued to do the breathing and speaking with C S, I was able to then use the breathing other times for many different things. I use it for when I’m stressed out and going through difficult situations.  I can see a difference with my attitude and how I carry myself and just how I feel. It’s been very uplifting for me so far………so I decided to share with my children and with my mother.

I have two children who are 12 and 8 years of age. The breathing didn’t go over so well with my 12 year old due to the fact that she isn’t that open minded and set in her ways. Now my 8 year old definitely needed the breathing. She was having problems in school with friends and her attitude along with taking instruction from her elders.  I started the breathing with her before she would fall sleep. She first found it to be a game that would buy her a little quality time with mom plus allowed her to stay up longer. After about a month of doing it together she would take it upon herself to do it alone. I could see the change in her attitude when she woke up and with her attitude in school. It was nice for a change, to receive positive reports from her teachers, instead of the usual negative ones. As time went on, I would catch her midway into the breathing and she must have fallen asleep before she got done counting the breaths.  I’d catch her with her finger stuck at a segment. She is also doing much better now with her relationship with her sister. They haven’t stopped fighting totally but the arguing has calmed down a lot.  She just is much more pleasant and fun to be around. The progress still continues……

On to my mother. My mother has many different health issues. Some that she has brought upon herself and the others she has developed.  For many years of living in the same house, she just always seemed to be very tense and unhappy. Plus she is a heavy smoker that smokes 4 packs of cigarettes a day.  I told my mother about the breathing and I also mailed her some flyers. She didn’t really believe that it would have an effect on her.  She put it off for a while until one day that she had to face a tough issue head on. She would call me up on a daily basis to inform me that she tried the breathing and she felt like a new person when she got up in the morning. From then on, she was doing it on her own. She realized that she could also use it with her daily lifestyle as well. This made a world of a difference. My mother always had a short fuse. My father has even given me his input. He called me thanking me for sharing this technique with my mother because she was so much nicer and easier to get along with now.  When we do spend time with my parents, I noticed it myself. She isn’t so quick to jump to conclusions and start yelling.  She still hasn’t tried to change her smoking habits but this is a bridge that I’m still trying to cross with her.  She at least listens to me talk about stopping smoking and how the breathing would help but she isn’t quite ready for that big step yet. I will continue to encourage the breathing for my family and friends. I figure if it worked for me then it can work for anyone………”

(1) How can I focus on breathing?

Related pages
Training children in ‘Focusing on breathing’
How to quit smoking by ‘Focusing on breathing’

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