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Meditation class in Montreal – Feedback

I volunteered to teach ‘Counting breaths meditation’ to the residents of International youth hostel in Montreal (Gite hostel) on May 27 when we were staying there for a few days (1). My offer was immediately accepted by the receptionist. Four adults and two children attended the 45 minutes session. I am grateful for this opportunity for sharing this simple meditation with a few people including two children for the first time in Canada.  Feedback collected from them on plain paper is posted below.

  • After many weeks of not sleeping very good, this meditation session is a great hope. Very adapted to an actual need. I have learned a lot thanks to you. I have discovered an aspect of life that I didn’t know. Actually meditation and breathing is easier than I expected. Thanks a lot for your meditation session and your kindness. Best regards.
  • This meditation pause gave me peace. I felt relaxed after 5 minutes of counting breaths meditation. I almost fell asleep. This will for sure help me with my sleeping problems. Thank you very much. (34 years)
  • Very interesting exercise, it made me very calm and relaxing myself.  It’s funny because I understand how my breathing works (about the exercise for sleep) because before I see there is a relation between breathing and sleep but I didn’t know how it’s working. Good teaching and thank you.
  • Thanks for the lesson. It’s simple to achieve, so we can do it easily.  I will try to do as often as possible to keep a calm mind and peaceful attitude.
  • I felt good and Zen. I would like to do meditation again. You are very kind. Please come back. Boy 6 years
  • I felt relaxed, in peace. I liked it a lot. I would like to have another meditation session with you. Thank you.  Girl 7 years.

(1) gite hostel – Montreal

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Beginner’s Feedback 5/1/18

One woman attended. A summary of her feedback is posted below.

My purpose in joining this group

– Relaxing, Patience, Coping

Today’s ‘Take home’ ideas

– I can do it! I can’t mess-up!

Overall evaluation of the session

– Very useful

Suggestions for the future

I plan to attend the next meetup

– Practitioners’ meetup

My sources of stress

– Home
– Work
– Feeling like I can’t get everything done

I cope with my stress by

– Walking
– Yoga (try to)
– I have not yet found my “hobby” but hope to some day

Total donations offered – $20

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Category: Relaxation to Meditation  Tags: , , ,  Comments off

+ Journaling for Mind, Body benefits – Guest post by Gemma Philips

How Journaling reduces stress
Recent scientific studies have backed what has long been known in Eastern philosophy since ancient times: holistic practices such as yoga and mindfulness meditation lower stress hormone levels, lift our mood, and boost our academic and work performance. If you are already well versed with the many benefits that meditation can bring to your life, you might consider adopting a complementary activity, which will only enhance the relaxing effects of meditation. It’s called journaling, and it is currently a therapy that is encouraged in a variety of settings – including centers for rehabilitation for drug abuse, for eating disorder recovery and for the treatment of stress-related conditions such as depression and anxiety. Journaling is also used for patients which chronic health conditions, including cancer, asthma, chronic pain, insomnia, etc.

How does Journaling differ from diary writing?
Far from merely recording the events of the day, as is the case with diary writing, journaling goes a step beyond, in that it involves writing down our thoughts and feelings which are our reactions to the day’s events. In this way, we can get to know ourselves better – find out what triggers stress or anxiety, note down the way we tend to react to conflict or difficult issues, and jot down alternative, more positive reactions the next time we encounter a similar situation.

What benefits does journaling bring?
Some of the many benefits of journaling include:

  • Helping us deal with stress
  • Increasing self-awareness
  • Helping us deal with challenging events and circumstances
  • Helping us ‘metabolize’ our experience – when we do not journal, we can simply block any unpleasant thoughts or emotions, which are transformed into a muddled memory we obtain little value from. Journaling helps us process the day’s events, so that we are not plagued by distressing thoughts and feelings. In this way, journaling very much resembles mindfulness.
  • Helping us track our progress – we can use our journal to create strategies to deal with difficult situations, and take note of how we are progressing in our goals.
  • Identifying triggers – journaling regularly enables us to identify the situations or people that tend to make us anxious or upset. We can analyse how they manage to have this effect on us, and either make a conscious decision to process their words and actions in a different manner, or take more drastic measures if necessary (such as limiting the amount of time we spend in these types of situations, especially if they are toxic or bring no good to our lives).

What Types of Journal are there?
Ultimately, each of us defines and creates our own type of journal. Some people find success from keeping a gratitude journal – in which they regularly list down the things, people and events they are thankful for. Others (such as those in recovery from substance abuse, for instance) keep a recovery journal, to help track their progress, triggers and setbacks. Still others keep a journal to note their progress towards a defined goal. Another popular journal is the evening reflection journal, which enables the writer to reflect on their reactions to a specific event.

How to Journal?
Journaling ultimately only works if we are truly committed to it. The aim should be to write daily, or every couple of days, for a set amount of time (between 20 minutes and around half an hour at least). If you are considering starting a journal, find a comfy, quiet spot in your home, where you won’t be bothered by noise. Make this area as personal as you can – fill it with lights, put on relaxing music or decorate it so that just the idea of journaling seems immensely appealing. Every few days, go back over previous entries to reflect on them. During the day, use your phone or keep a small notebook, jotting down any important thoughts or feelings you may otherwise forget. Remember that journaling is a reflective exercise; use your journal to become more self-aware and to make the necessary changes you need for a better quality of life.

Further Reading:
Journaling as an Aid to Recovery, Recovery.org
Mindfulness meditation may ease anxiety, mental stress,
Journaling for Mental Health, Urmc.Rochester.edu
The Benefits of Journaling, UWhealth.org

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+ Feedback from Elementary School Children

I conducted 3 after school classes on ‘Focusing on breathing’ at Robert C. Parker School for 2 boys and 1 girl  in March/April 2014 (1) (2). The way the classes were done is explained at (3).The feedback form the children and parents is presented below.

Parent’s feedback
  • “I think breathing practice is beneficial for my daughter  in managing her impulses. She seems to enjoy the breathing practice in your class. When I prompt her to practice, though, she sometimes insists that she does not want or need to do it.  I am working on coaxing her to do the breathing practice with me. I would like to make it a regular practice for both of us. I think it would be good to do in the mornings and evenings, and then hopefully the practice will help her managing through the day as well”. My response to this mom is at (4).
  • “My son tends to do his breathing while he’s trying to fall asleep. I’ve observed him utilizing it over the past week, during an anxiety provoking situation.   The mode he tends to use is deep breathing while counting in his head.”
 Children’s feedback 

What times did they practice?: Most common were bedtime and morning. But some practiced at breakfast and evening also.

What modes did they practice?: Collectively – Folding mode, Tip mode, Segment mode and Counting mode.

Why did they practice?: Each of them gave different reasons.

  • Felt tired in the morning, practiced and felt awake
  • I got up before my mom and she didn’t wake me up as she was doing before
  • When I got home from school,  I was mad and I did the breathing.
  • Middle of the day – helped me not watch TV
  • When I had a headache I did the breathing and my headache go away.
  • When I was mad with my friend

How did the breathing help?

  • Helped me get to sleep, wake up and eat breakfast
  • When my dog got crazy, I did the breathing and my dog calmed down! (watching me doing the breathing)
  • Helped me go to sleep
  • It calmed me down when I was mad
  • When I was hyper, I would do the breathing and it calms me down

I like the breathing because

  • It is fun and relaxing
  • It is good for me. My mom wants me to teach her. I will teach her when I learn all.

(1) How Can I Focus On Breathing?
(2) Robert C. Parker School
(3) How were the classes done?: In the first class, they were shown and practiced the ‘Folding mode’, ‘Tip mode’ and ‘Counting mode’. In the second class, we reviewed the previous modes and they were shown’ ‘Staring mode’ and ‘911’ mode’. In the third class, they were suggested how they could use the techniques at bedtime, on waking up and any other times they needed. In every class, they filled out a feedback form with the questions (a) When did I practice? (b) What mode did I practice? (c) Why did I practice? (d) How did the breathing help?
(4) My response to the girl’s mom: (a) It is better for her long term success not to coax her. Let the practice grow organically over some months, so that it becomes a part of her coping skills to help her all her life. (b) Our role is to encourage her own practice without making her feel like she is doing a chore. She is basically right that she would practice when she needed it. The exceptional situations where we should proactively suggest to practice are at bedtime which most children love to do anyway, when we see them upset, hyperactive, angry etc. (c) When she is in a good mood and you feel it is the right time, you can try practicing along with her, allowing her to practice her favorite mode and you can practice your own choice mode.

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@ Seminar at a Healthcare facility

I offered a lunch time seminar of one hour, for the employees of a healthcare facility recently. This was on the request of the Employee assistance program coordinator. There were 19 participants. I distributed a set of my hand outs (1) to each participants. The scanned images of their feedback forms and a summary of them is presented below.

Scanned images of the feedback forms

Titles of the participants 

  • Nursing student – 7
  • LPN – 2
  • Director/ Asst Director – 2
  • Unspecified – 2
  • Recruiter – 1
  • Faculty – 1
  • Mechanical Engineer (Boiler house operator) – 1
  • RN – 1
  • Housekeeper – 1
  • COTA – 1

The seminar was 

  • Very useful – 19

I will use this technique for my (concern) \

  • Sleep problems – 7
  • Reduce stress – 6
  • Anxiety – 4
  • Insomnia – 4
  • Relaxation – 2
  • Patients to quit smoking
  • Kids
  • Patients
  • Students, Patients, Self
  • Destress before and after my 12 hour midnight shifts
  • Long waits at the doctor’s office and air ports

 This technique can be taught to patients to help with their …..

  • Anxiety – 10
  • Anxiety on why they are in the hospital – 1
  • Anxiety with death  (Hospice Nurse)
  • Sleep / Insomnia – 7
  • Stress – 6
  • Pains – 4
  • Breathing
  • Not use drugs
  • Recovery

Comments about the seminar 

  • Very well presented
  • Very relaxing
  • Helps relax the brain
  • Excellent, simple
  • Interesting and informative
  • Very helpful – 2
  • Welldone
  • I like that there is nothing to buy and can be used anywhere
  • As we were focusing on breathing, instant calm
  • Wonderful, should be taught in nursing school 1st semester
  • Thank you for the new tease on stress relief
  • Thank you for your teaching
  • Thought it was great, he seems like such a nice man!

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(1) Documents for download

@ Seminar at the East Greenbush Library

The sixth introductory seminar at the East Greenbush community library was on Jan 30, 2013, 7  to 8.30 pm. 16 persons registered and 10 turned up. One of the participants was my past client who motivated and brought two of his friends to the seminar. He is a staunch advocate for this technique, having derived remarkable benefits from it. 

Scanned images of the completed feedback forms.

The feedback collected from the participants is summarized below.

The seminar was …

  • Very useful – 9
  • useful – 1

I will use this technique to relieve my (concern)

  • Asthma – 1
  • Meditation, possibly smoking – 1
  • Help with sleeping, anxiety& meditation – 1
  • Sleep and waking up
  • Better breathing
  • Anxiety
  • Stress, Breathing
  • Reduce stress in every day life
  • Sleep aid
  • Overall health

Comments/ Suggestions (about the seminar)

  • Very nicely done. Thank you
  • Very thought provoking
  • I believe this will help me. Thank you.
  • Very much like Silva Mind control.
  • Very relaxing
  • Thank you. I am going to use them daily.
  • The teacher was wonderful.
  • Fantastic teacher – thank you for sharing your talents.
  • Wonderful presentation – charming, impossible not to like.
  • Good. A+
How did they come to know about the seminar? 
  • Library website – 5
  • Library newsletter – 2
  • Through friend Kent Pugliese – 2
  • I have been before

At the end, the seminar organizer of the library said the people leaving the seminar were happy with it.

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

Related pages
Seminars at Libraries

* Seminar for ‘Glaucoma Practice of New York’

The introductory seminar was held on 8/15/12 for Dr. Sai Gandham and his staff at  the Lions Eye Institute in Slingerland NY. Dr. Gandham’s mother also participated. There were 6 participants. The feedback received from five participants  is posted below. The scanned images of their feedback forms are at (1).

Summary of  their feedback

The seminar was …

  • Very useful – 5

I will use this technique to relieve my (concern)

  • Sleep (to relax and enable sleep)
  • Stress and to calm my wandering mind at night
  • Stress, Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep, Work, Waiting periods

Comments about the seminar

  • Very  relaxing and educational
  • I liked learning how to breathe correctly and different methods of , Very relaxing.
  • Enjoyed learning the technique, will use it to reduce stress & enhance relaxation.
  • Very helpful and informative, definitely will ease my anxiety & trouble breathing while anxious, very peaceful.
  • Very useful, should have started in childhood. The seminar was  very  organized, effective and made very simple. We are impressed with the presentation skills.

(1) Scanned images of the feedback forms.

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

* Seminar at East Greenbush library

The fifth introductory seminar at the East Greenbush community library was on Jan 30, 2012, 7  to 8.30 pm. 28 persons registered and 16 turned up.

Scanned images of the completed feedback forms.

Their feedback is summarized below.

The seminar was …

  • Excellent –    13
  • Very Good – 3
  • Good –             –
  • Not useful –   –

I will use this technique to relieve my (concern)

  • Stress – 3
  • Stress, Insomnia
  • Stress/ Stiffness of muscles
  • Stress, Also would like to use during child birth
  • Stress, Tension
  • Stress, Lack of focus
  • Stress  & Anxiety
  • Stress & Anxiety throughout the day
  • Tension
  • Sleep, Anxiety, Mind wandering
  • Anxiousness/ Anxiety – 2
  • Anxiety, Insomnia
  • Help me sleep &  Relax
  • To sleep

Comments/ Suggestions (if any)

  • Very relaxing, I hope I can continue to do this
  • Very useful & Relaxing
  • Very relaxing.
  • Very interesting
  • CS was very engaging and thorough. I like how he framed the technique by the different narratives ~ Very interesting! I really enjoyed the session. Thank you.
  • CS was an amazing and informative instructor. I found my breath. Thank you so very much.
  • Presenter was very helpful.
  • Very good presentation
  • I thought it was very good. I enjoyed learning this.
  • Thank you. Very useful technique.
  • I hope there will be additional seminars.
  • Enjoyed it immensely, Hope to come to more of this kind of class
  • It would be nice to have regular follow up on this at the library.
  • Wonderful – I needed this & hope to use it.
  • A wonderful experience. I will use it personally and professionally.
  • I will use it in my therapy practice

When I visited the library two days later, one of the librarians said that at the end of this seminar on Jan 30th, several participants in the seminar voluntarily told her that they liked the seminar very  much.

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* Feedback from Students of Robert C. Parker School Grade 2/3 May 2011

Feedback from Grade 2/3 students of Robert C. Parker School –  May 2011

I visited this class weekly for a few weeks to introduce different modes of ‘Focusing on breathing’ (1) with excellent support of the class teacher Lynn Schuster (2). At the end of the series of classes I collected feedback from all the  students on a small feedback from. Their feedback is summarized below.

  • What modes did I practice?
Tip mode – 2
Segment mode – 10
Counting mode – 4
Feeling mode – 3
Staring – 8
911 – 4
  • When did I practice?
Resting X 4
To sleep X 4
Morning meeting X 3
When I am crazy
Running
Tired
Running around my bed room
Sleeping on my dad
When dead on a video game
Dogs try to wake me up at night
  • How did it help me?
School X 2
Math X 2
Focus
Relaxing
Calming
Running better
A fight

(1) How can I focus on breathing?
(2) Lynn’s full report on how she made this technique a regular part of the class routine – June 2012 

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* Feedback from the seminar at the East Greenbush Community Library

The fourth introductory seminar at the East Greenbush Community library was on May 4, 2011. 26 persons registered and 19 turned up.

Scanned images of the completed feedback forms  PDF

Their feedback is summarized below.

The seminar was …

  • Excellent –    15
  • Very Good – 4
  • Good –             –
  • Not useful –   –

I will use this technique to relieve my (concern)

  • Stress –                  11
  • Insomnia –             6
  • Anxiety-                 5
  • Quality of sleep – 2
  • Tension-                  1
  • Muscle aches due to Fibromyalgia – 1
  • Heart disease –     1
  • Road rage –            1
  • Impatience –         1
  • Hypertension –    1

Comments/ Suggestions (if any)

  • Relaxing
  • I really like it – 2
  • Stress
  • Would like to take another class
  • Very informative and effective
  • You did a super job in explaining the techniques
  • Thank you!  Very helpful
  • Great! Please come again
  • Very good
  • Very pleasant and enjoyable

***
E-mail message from the Library

“Dear CS,

I wanted to thank you for bringing your ‘Focusing on Breathing’ program to our library.  The excellent comments from those who attended show how valuable this technique is.  Thank you for sharing your knowledge and your enthusiasm with our library patrons.

Sincerely,”
Lois Papp
Head of Adult Services
East Greenbush Community Library

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