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Meditation and Yoga classes for children

I offered classes on ‘Gentle Yoga stretching’ and ‘Meditation on breathing’ to thirty nine boys and girls from 5 to 13 years at the Albany Hindu Temple on Aug 14, 17, 18 and 19, 2017. Each class was for 40 minutes and repeated on two days (1).

Meditation: All of them practiced the ‘Counting mode’ and ‘Tip mode’ , multiple times, counting the breaths aloud along with me (2) (3). We all practiced at simulated times of practice – at bedtime lying down to get sleep, on waking up still lying, to drive away the sleep, sitting on the bed cross legged as in sitting meditation, standing on the floor like waiting in a line, walking  and running.

  • When asked how they felt, a few commented
    • I felt calm
    • I felt relaxed
  • Asked when they would like to practice the meditation, some replied
    • At the doctor’s office
    • When tired
    • When I have an argument with my friend about which game to play
    • At bedtime
    • On waking up
  • Other comments
    • An 8 year old boy said he practiced at bedtime and also told his mom to practice, as she does not sleep well!

One kid’s mom said that her 6 year old son had been practicing at bedtime from day one and claimed that he felt more fresh on waking up.

Yoga: We all practiced the movements shown in the video ‘Stretching for beginners’ (4). These movements gently move and stretch all the muscles from fingers to shoulders, toes to hips, neck to eyes. All the joints get a gentle massaging movement at the same time.

(1) Albany Hindu Temple
(2) Counting mode
(3) Tip mode
(4) VIDEO of stretching for beginners

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* Incredible difference in my life

E-mail from Shelli (not her real name), a participant in my  seminar held for a spiritual group in 2012 (1). She responded to my Annual Update – 2014 (2) with this message. 

“I met you one of your seminars in 2012. I use your breathing exercises constantly (3). It has made an incredible difference in my life !!!! Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!!! “ 

I was thrilled to get this unbelievable comment and requested her to offer more details to inspire visitors to this website. She was kind enough to share these wonderful experiences.

“I use groups of 3 breaths, aloud upon breathing out, in all different combinations, depending on what I am doing, and where I am, and for how long.

When I am driving, I have to be careful to take breaks from doing it on long drives, as it leads me into meditation which makes it hard to stay focused on driving. The more I use this breathing practice, the more quickly and more deeply I am able to travel into meditative trance. (4)

I also use this in times of the need for more patience, for more empathy, for more understanding, to stem anger and any frustrations arising from situations, – basically, to regain my objectivity. (5)

I also use it during exercise–walking, cross country skiing, and kayaking. It increases my stamina and is calming during exertion. (6)

I’m not sure how well I am able to articulate how this simple breathing technique has changed my life. It has affected every aspect of my life, by changing me inside – both physiologically and metaphysically. I’m sure the chemical properties of breathing properly enhance better health and I feel wonderful. In conjunction with my spiritual readings and other practices, it is enabling my spirit journey. I feel much more in touch with my soul.” (7)

(1) About my seminars and classes
(2) Annual Update – 2014
(3) How can I focus on breathing
(4) How to drive like a Buddha?
(5) Relief from Anger – Success stories
(6) Walking and ‘focusing on breathing’

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@ 9th Grader with ADHD improves

Prakash (not his real name), a 9th grader with ADHD attended 8 of my classes over 5 months (1) . He has been attending special classes at school. His class performance was reported to be very good. His mom was averse to medication and wanted to try ‘focusing on breathing’ and related techniques to help improve his symptoms (2). He is my first client with ADHD. 

Prakash, his mom and younger brother in 6th grade jointly attended first 5 classes. Then he continued with solo classes.

What were his problems?
Anxiety, Anger, Impatience, Stress, Lack of focus, Nervousness, Frustration, Uncontrolled laughter and Lack of eye contact.

What modes did he practice?
First I introduced the regular modes of ‘focusing on breathing’. He liked them but the restless movement of his body and uncontrolled laughter ware not showing much reduction. On a hunch, I introduced the ‘Dynamic modes of ”focusing on breathing’ as an experiment (3). He liked these techniques a lot and practiced them on his own with very little prompting from his mom.

When did he practice?
Bedtime, Waking up, waiting, Stressed, Walking, Tired

His mom’s assessment of his improvements.

Anxiety: Reduced by 60%

Impatience: Reduced by 50%

Focus: Improved by 70%

His younger brother in 6th grade wrote his own impressions with the permission of his mother during the evaluation session.  

Anxiety: Decreased a little   

Patience
Before: He couldn’t wait
Now: He entertains himself doing the 911 mode and enjoys it.

Focus
Before: He couldn’t make eye contact. His head always faced the window.
Now: This is slowly decreasing.

Frustration
Before: When he was mad, he was yelling and out of control.
Now: This is slowly decreasing.

He does some chanting/ prayers taught to him by his grandma. He has been taking 1000 mg of EPA+DHA per day in the form of Fish oil on my suggestion.

I added waking up  routine and simple stretching and moving based on Yoga to his daily routines (4).

(1) ADHD – Page from National Institute of Mental Health 
(2) How can I focus on breathing?
(3) Dynamic modes
(4) Waking up routine    Loosening exercises – Yoga

Updates:
Feb 9, 2014: His mom said that in he recent PTA meeting with Prakash’s maths teacher, she said his focus improved and he could be put in regular class instead of the special class next year.

April 19, 2014: During the class 2 weeks back, his mom said his behavior was sometimes out of control at home. He was in the habit of pinching her and his younger brother and apologizing soon after. But he did nothing of that kind at school or outside. I told her privately his out of home behavior showed he had enough self awareness and self control with other people. I advised her that if he pinched her next time she should immediately tell him firmly “I don’t like to be pinched”. She should not get angry or blame him or comment on him at all.

Today when I called her to know how this new response to his pinching was working she said it had drastically reduced and she was happy for this improvement.

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@ Walking like an ‘Energizer Bunny’

Feedback from a practitioner who attended one of my recent seminars (1). He liked the technique and shared his experience that you can see at (2). He wanted to extend his practice to walking (3) and wanted a demo of the practice. I showed him at my office and he recorded it. His message below shows he liked it and found it useful. 

“I have been doing the walking and breathing exercises that you showed me in the busy and bustling New York City.

It has helped me to cope with the stress of the city and to walk fast, like a NewYorker LOL.  In fact I ended up walking faster than a NewYorker, more like an energizer bunny.”

(1) Past seminars
(2) Easy as 1-2-3 breathing method
(3) Walking practice

Related page
Relief from ‘Fatigue’ due to Exercise/ Work

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* Sadness, Anxiety & Tiredness reduced

Feedback from a client who attended 4 of my classes over 2 months (1).

What did she practice? 

  • She mostly practice d the ‘Segment mode’ (2) and ‘Waking up postures on the bed’ (3).
When did she practice? (4)
  • Bed time and on waking up
  • Driving
  • Walking
  • Working
  • Exercising

What benefits did she gain?

  • Confidence: “I feel stronger than at any other time in my life”
  • Weight: “My appetite has improved and I gained back the weight that I recently lost due to the tremendous stress”
  • Assertiveness: “Slowly improving with various people in my life”
  • Anxiety: Reduced by 75%. (5)
  • Tiredness: Reduced by 75%. (6)

(1) Her previous report
(2) How can I focus on breathing?
(3) Waking up practices
(4) Day time practice
(5) Relief from Anxiety – Success stories
(6) Relief from Fatigue – Success stories

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* Improved on weight, blood pressure, moods, and neck & back pains

Feedback from a client, a patient of my daughter Padma Sripda MD (6), who has done 12 classes over the last one year and eight months. She gained weight (from almost underweight to a healthier BMI), lowered her persistently high BP  and gradually lowering her anti-anxiety medication per her doctor’s advice and made more improvements.

Breathing: I practice the breathing exercises while driving, walking and at work. I mostly do the ‘Counting mode’ but when driving I do the ‘Tip mode’. (4)

Hypertension: Last week I had a really great blood pressure reading 126/86. This is one of the lowest I have had. (3)

Diet changes: I have been having breakfast every morning and a better lunch and dinner. I am working to cut out sugar. Instead of soda I have been drinking juices and water. I gained 25 lbs from these changes. I added a multi-vitamin, vitamin D, Vitamin C in the powder form and the milled flax seed which I put in smoothies or a salad every day.  That was a lot of work to change my eating habits but well worth it.(1)

Sleep: I have been waking up fresher in the mornings but still getting great sleep.

Moods: I find that my moods are more even. I don’t have as much anger or depression. I feel things are easier to deal with (5).

Anxiety medication: I have been cutting down on the anxiety medication very slowly but I think I have made great progress. I used to take 2 a day. I am now down to 1.25 to 1.5. I think I feel better now cutting back on this medication.

Chronic neck and back pains: My neck pain has greatly improved from the stretching as well as my back. I can’t remember the last time I needed pain medication for these problems. (2)

I am going to continue to practice all the above items. I would like to start hiking and maybe working out a little in the gyms at the hotels I stay at.

(1) She was very lean for her height with a BMI of 21 (normal range is 19 to 24), her cheeks were shrunk and her face was looking sick . She was working out of  town and on her feet for hours. She was not eating any breakfast and hated to have any. It required lot of persuasion over many classes, for her to change her long established habit.  She neither had any good lunch. She was feeling fatigued and low in moods by afternoon. After the diet changes, her weight has improved and she is feeling much better overall.
(2) She had chronic neck and back pains and taking pain medications and sometimes even shots for acute neck pain.  Her back pain dramatically improved after practicing the “Focusing on breathing’ modes (4) and the waking up routine.
(3) She had persistently high BP (Hypertension) for at least 6 years. During the visits to her doctor, the systolic ranged from 136 to 219 and the diastolic ranged from 94 to 129.
(4) Different modes of ‘Focusing on breathing’
(5) For many months from the time she attended the classes, she was bitterly complaining about her employer’s treatment of her – not paying fair wages, not appreciating her high quality work etc. In last six months she did not say one thing on this issue.
(6) Padma Sripada

Related pages
Her previous feedback
Relief from Hypertension – Success stories
High Blood pressure and Heart disease – Books I like

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* I have made great improvements with my weight, self confidence and …

Feedback from my most remarkable client who has done 19 classes (6) over the last one year, more than any other client.

She earnestly makes plans based on my suggestions, takes her written down plans home and sincerely tries to implement them. She keeps in touch by e-mail between the classes. Her multidimensional progress is a tribute to her courage and persistence. Her progress gives me immense satisfaction. She is still doing the classes, determined to get over all her problems. Such cases give me the impression that when the person is ready for change, help comes from somewhere, and it is absorbed like a sponge. Her report –

“This is how I am trying to implement my plans based on your suggestions.

  • I do my daily breathing practice.
  • When I have bad thoughts wherever I am, I do my breathing and it helps to calm me down, along with saying my prayers.
  • I do my breathing every night and try to do 4 times on each hand but usually dont make it that far before I fall asleep.
  • I do my breathing in the morning along with saying my prayers while getting ready.
  • I try to stay very busy inside and outside the house.
  • I drink Metamucil fiber at night before bed, and it does help with my bowel movements in the morning.
  • I have changed my diet a lot:  More fish, more vegetables and fruits, more fiber and water throughout the day. I eat more fruits and vegetables than ever before. I have a banana for breakfast every morning, not good at eating lunch, and cut down on my meat intake for dinner. (4)
  • I have been making my husband’s lunch for him to carry to work. (1)
  • I now drink soy milk. (3)
  • I take fish oil pills with 2000mg of Omega 3 every day. I started putting flax seed on my food and also put it on husband’s peanut butter and jelly sandwiches without him knowing. (5)
  • I keep calm when my husband’s temper builds up and walk out of the room. This has changed his yelling behavior.
  • I’ve let my husband know “He cannot control me”.
  • I do read a spiritual book every night before bed. Sorry I am not good at writing the journal.
  • We are paying down the debts and consolidating them.
  • I did look for a walking partner by posting two ads, but have gotten no responses yet.
  • I still need to work on smoking. I’m not sure I can make a full commitment right now, it is very hard for me but I am still trying and have cut down a little. I have tried to change my smoking habits before bedtime, by not going to bed till I am very tired and feel sleepy. (2)
  • I did call about taking CPR training and they put me on the list for a free class in September. (1)

I have made these great improvements in the last year with your help:
My weight, my self confidence, my body pains due to lupus, my marriage problems, my sleeping habits, my eating habits, learning how to control my fear and much more. I can’t thank you enough.”

+++

My notes
(1) She got this idea on seeing her husband gasp for breath recently. He is obese and does not care to do anything about it. She is worried he may have a heart attack one day. She is also trying to help him lose weight by not eating greasy outside food while at work.
(2) She smokes maximum number of cigarettes at night, after lying in the bed to sleep and not falling asleep. This suggestion was to break this behavior pattern.
(3) She had constipation for a long time. She was consuming lot of dairy products which were suspected to be the cause. On a trial basis, she was advised to avoid all dairy products for 2 months. Though she was very fond of yogurt, consuming about 4 cups a day, she gave it up with determination. This change eliminated her constipation.  Soy milk was replacement for diary milk.
(4) She hardly ate any vegetables or fruits before. Introducing fruits and veggies and cutting down meat helped her significantly in losing weight. She never ate any breakfast and lunch was irregular. She felt fatigued by mid day, aggravating her sensitivity to body pains.
(5) To get Omega 3 in view of her lupus and mental problems. Also to help improve her husband’s health.
(6) Seminars and classes

Her previous reports
I lost 30 pounds
I feel so much at peace now
My family life changed dramatically
I always leave your class feeling better

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* I became so content and relaxed

I gave the hand outs (1) to a patient of my daughter Padma Sripada a few months back. Today I met her and came to know she was happy with the the technique. On my request she wrote out the following testimonial:

“I had a lot of anxiety, stress and sleeping disorder. Sometimes, my body would shake and I would cry for no reason.  I was introduced to the ‘Focusing on breathing’ technique (1) when I came to Dr. Sripada’s office. The first day I tried it,   I suddenly became so content and relaxed. My sleep has become a lot better and I am more focused. It has allowed me to not have to use my sleeping medicine every night. It is great!

I will refer this technique to my family and friends to see how many people will agree with me. You can practice this technique when you are just sitting around or when you are walking or jogging. Trust me it will make a difference in your life.”

(1) How to enjoy quality sleep and conquer insomnia
How to be calm Anywhere, Anytime

Related pages
Relief from anxiety – Success stories
Relief from Stress – Success stories
Relief from Insomnia – Success stories

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* Reduced my anger, road rage ….

Received this feedback from a NY state employee who has a busy and stressful customer service job. He attended a few of my classes in May 2010.

My practices (See ref (1) for the different modes of ‘focusing on breathing’)
I practice the ‘Tip mode’ or ‘Segment mode’ to get sleep while in the bed and when I wake up during the night or in the morning and need to fall back asleep.

I practice the ‘Counting mode’ while driving or walking during the day.

I practice the ‘911 mode’ when I recognize I am getting stressed, frustrated, worked up or pent up with anger or frustration.

The benefits  I gained
These practices have improved my self control and reduced my anger. They have increased my tolerance for things out of my control. They have improved my health. I can feel the difference. I don’t have anxiety or chest pains or tightening, like I had before or nearly as frequently as before.  They have reduced my road rage. There is improvement in how I react with or accept other drivers. I have improved my tolerance and anger for mistakes and towards the “general public”. They have helped me in my job and career. I think before I react which has helped me deal with “difficult customers”.

I just have to work on making it more of a routine so that I don’t have to think about it. I don’t do it as much as I should or need to!!

I really like your Rope/Snake story (2) that you told me in the class. I just found that on the website.

I can’t thank you enough. You have helped me tremendously.

(1) How can I do it?
(2) Is it a snake or a rope?
Reducing or eliminating anger – Success stories

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