Counting Breaths

A Well-formed practice to reduce your daily stress

I am a Mechanical Engineer from India, born in 1942. Started my career in 1964 as an Assistant Engineer in the Heavy Engineering Corporation at Ranchi, located in the previous Bihar state of India (6). Moved to ITC PSPD, a large paper mill located in the state of Andhra Pradesh, South India in 1986. Retired in 2000 as Deputy General Manager (Engineering) and worked for another two years as Adviser in the same company. I migrated to the USA in 2003. I and my wife live in East Greenbush NY state, close to Albany NY, with our daughter and granddaughter. Our daughter, Padma Sripada is an MD (Internal Medicine).

My nature: My inborn tendency has been to gain a deeper understanding of the phenomena I have to grapple with and make on-going improvements to reduce recurring problems and inefficiencies. I persistently asked the question ‘Why?’ during my college and in all the places that I worked in. I continue to do so for other problems arising in life.

How did I get into the ‘focusing on breathing’ technique? I was reading books on psychology, psychotherapy, and meditation from my early twenties. But I did not practice any mind-body technique, till I was 56. When I was under severe stress at that age, I accidentally (may not be an accident after all!) read a small book about ‘Vipassana’, a meditation practice (2). ‘Focusing on breathing’ was described in that book without guidance on how to put the concept into practice. I played with it, was impressed with its impact on me, conducted experiments on about 100 people in ITS PSPD where I worked. From their feedback, I realized its potential for many mind, body, and relationship benefits. Over many years of practice and teaching it to adults of all ages and races in the US, I adapted and simplified it so that even the busiest people can simply learn it here and practice on their own. See (3) to learn it.

Why am I obsessed with ‘focusing on breathing’? Well, known stress management and relaxation practices, like Meditation and Yoga, demand an allotment of time, intense effort, and belief. They demand that the body be moved, turned, and twisted in ways we never did before. People eager to reduce stress learn and begin practicing one or more of the above practices in all earnestness but the great majority of them drop out and stop practicing. ‘Focusing on breathing’ introduces a great practice that makes it easy to begin practicing and continue it lifelong. See (1) about stress, its causes, and solutions.

It makes sense to introduce this technique to children: When I introduced this simple practice-lying-on-the-bed-when-you-want-to-sleep technique to adults, more than half of them showed a lot of reluctance. It was apparently disturbing the deep mental and physical grooves in which their thoughts and actions moved millions of times. Any change in them was resisted. I was looking for other avenues and considered children. I experimentally introduced it to children aged 10 and above. Most of them readily accepted it and started using it right away like their own pen.

My mission in life: My sole purpose in creating this site and teaching these techniques is to make sure that this unconventional mode of practicing the ‘focusing on breathing’ does not disappear with me. In view of its great potential for helping people of all ages without demanding time, posture, and regularity, my mission for the rest of my life is to propagate it. The unique value of this practice in terms of time and money invested vs the benefits gained may not be recognized in my lifetime. Please join me in passing on this knowledge to current and future generations.

I appreciate your patient reading. Thank you!

‘Suryanarayana Rao Chennapragada’ was my full name in India. I was called ‘C.S.Rao’, in the Indian style of abbreviating the names. My middle name ‘Rao’ was lost during my immigration to the USA. I became ‘Suryanarayana Chennapragada’. To make it easy for people in the US, I shortened it to ‘Surya’.

Contact me

Albany, NY