I have posted only the remarkable experiences reported. Will add more.
From a ‘Human Doing’ to a ‘Human Being’ – (Jan 2018)
This client called me ‘CS’ which was my prior short name derived from my short name in Indian style ‘C.S.Rao’. Now I changed its name to ‘Surya’ to better reflect my name for people in the US.
This is the story of an anguished Mom whom I mentored for over 4 months to help her reestablish the broken connection with her teenage daughter who was engulfed in frequent cycles of intense, and nearly debilitating emotional suffering at a very crucial time in her life. After aggressively trying so many other ways, which were proven ineffective in resolving her various family problems, up against a brick wall, her desperation leads her to be open to modalities of healing from any source. She trusted me enough to try out a multipronged approach to healing. Whatever I suggested and when found useful, she made it a part of her practice. She was a voracious reader and tried to evolve herself in spite of the prolonged traumatic life experiences. She was so primed and ready to leap to a higher level that with a little spark, understanding, emotional support, and a few directional arrows she could come out of the mental hell she was in. On my request, she described her journey during which she used many resources. Her writing talent shows up. I am yet to see another client of her nature. I hope this description inspires others.
One remarkable feature of this case is that though the daughter was supposed to be the dysfunctional one to be fixed, I never got to even see her or talk to her. I worked only with the mom and when she changed, the daughter’s behavior changed! This proves the saying “When I change the World changes.”
Here is her story in her own words.
Before My Journey Started
My mind was constantly busy. I could not shut off my mind. I was never at peace even when I was sleeping. Waking up first thing in the morning, my mind was already at full speed, while still laying in bed. Many useless thoughts, negative thoughts, constantly analyzing the same things over and over again. At times it felt like there were loud screaming monkeys in my head. Pema Chodron uses the term “gibbering monkey”. Eckhart Tolle uses the term “incessant thoughts”. Anger, despair, frustration, impatience dominated the state of my mind and emotion. The most frightening part was that I wasn’t fully conscious of my reactive emotions.
It all started with a typical story of a single parent trying to do the “right” thing, to launch their college-bound child into the future. I thought I followed suggestions from teachers and guidance counselors. I thought I was doing the same things most other parents do. In the midst of teen dating, teen anxiety and depression, a full-time job, a household to run, and another younger child to take care of, things didn’t go well. Parental encouragements were perceived by my children as pressure. The college application process did not progress all through Summer and Fall. Family dinner became a rare occasion, a life situation worse than marriage dissolution. I was on the verge of losing my relationship with my child. Coming home from work at times felt dreadful. If only one could go to an electronic store and purchase a remote control that could turn the mind on and off!
Then CS Came Into My Life
A friend referred me to the man who teaches people how to count breaths, CS (short for Suryanarayana Chennapragada). I had nothing to lose by spending one session with him. On the other hand, what can you expect out of a guy who teaches you how to count breaths? The first lesson I learned from him: “HAVE NO EXPECTATIONS”. After learning my background and evaluating my disposition, CS suspected that all of us, my kids and I, suffered from some sort of trauma. There are a few methods of therapy for trauma using talk therapy but they take too many years. Our experience of talk therapy for my children post-divorce with 4 other previous therapists only took care of some of the symptoms but never got to the root cause of the problems, something I kept asking these therapists. None of them gave me clear answers. None recommended me to get help with therapy for myself. None even mentioned the word trauma at all! CS was the first person who mentioned the word trauma and strongly recommend that I build some solid emotional foundation for myself. That was a prerequisite to enable me to effectively help and support my children’s effort to become emotionally and psychologically healthy and strong.
I took up his suggestion in pursuing EMDR therapy based on his reading and understanding of EMDR. I went on and sought help in this therapy about which I never heard of, administered by an EMDRIA certified therapist, as quickly as I could. Well, finding one locally in Albany who would take insurance, has availability for the proper age, pronto, was impossible. It sometimes takes a few trials and errors to find a therapist with matching chemistry, the right fit. I finally found a therapist for myself on self-pay. With her exceptional and amazing psychotherapy skills, she administered the first EMDR session on me after 3 evaluation and preparatory visits. The EMDR therapy helped me jump start rewiring my brain in forming a new habit of processing life situations and regulating my emotions. It’s all scientific. It’s biology, yet it feels like a miracle. Based on my experience, I think EMDR is a catalyst. There are many schools of thought among certified EMDRIA therapists. With insights into this field, CS helped me evaluate and assess the quality of the therapy throughout the entire process, a very important factor in our healing efforts due to the amount of time and cost commitment.
As miraculous as it sounds, EMDR is not a silver bullet. It does help dig up and dissolve thick layers of unrealized, painful memories lodged improperly in our brain. But life goes on filled with events, situations, moments that need to be dealt with, many can be quite unpleasant. At this point in my life, parenting is the most challenging endeavor I have to take on. I spent the majority of my life fighting for a good education, a good career, a relationship, marriage, and child-rearing to prove my self-worth. Though it did bring many good fortunes to our lives, it wasn’t for free. I suddenly realized the long term cost of the good fortune: lack of inner peace and serenity in everyone in my family. Since the birth of my first child, I’ve always identified myself as a Mom. Well, a roaring machine would’ve been a more accurate description of my old self.
The Beauty of ‘Meditation on Breathing’
We apply the practice of physical care to our daily lives for better mental hygiene and stronger immunity. When we are sick, we go to the doctor to get help to get better. Our mental wellness needs the same amount of care. Dalai Lama uses the term mental immunity. Daily practice is the keyword. My daily practice of breathing meditation turned out to be one way I nurture my mental hygiene. The beauty of the breathing meditation that I learned and practiced is that you don’t have to dedicate a huge block of time which is the stumbling block for most aspirants like me. There is no pressure on my schedule, and I don’t feel like I ever miss a day of meditation. I can do it throughout the day. Some days I can only afford 10 minutes before bedtime. I started forming a habit of snagging the few seconds or minutes of focusing on breathing while walking, while driving, warming up my lunch in the microwave, etc. CS cleared out so many misconceptions around the meditation practice that brought me back to his page “Who said Meditation is difficult? To sum it up: no pretzel legs required, don’t strive for anything, drop the word “should”, no formality, all casual.
Getting It Off My Chest by Writing
James Pennebaker discovered the connection between expressive writing and wellness. I discovered that expressive writing, as encouraged by CS, had been a useful tool in helping me navigate through my emotion and help me gain clarity on the true reality of my experiences. Writing letters to my children to address some critical issues is a powerful and effective tool I used to connect and reach out to them at a much deeper level. Writing emails or texting with CS about updates of the healing work we did apparently was also therapeutic. It gives me a sense of cleansing work. Ideas keep pouring out as I type. Of course, not everything I typed made it out of my mobile device, so for those who don’t find it easy to open up about their personal and emotional struggles to others, expressive writing is worth trying. Yes, the books recommend that you use paper and pen, but for so many reasons, those prerequisites would just give me another excuse for why I won’t feel like doing it. Improvise, make it easy. We are all busy.
I started reading a few self-help books a few years ago. Having a coach like CS adds another dimension and depth to my understanding and ability to apply the concepts I learn from these books. No, I do not have time to sit down and enjoy good readings. Thank goodness for modern technology and CS’s persistent encouragement, I’m hooked on audiobooks now. I look forward to driving nowadays as I use the precious time alone for listening to audiobooks and focusing on breathing. Today, I have more than 15 audiobooks in my library. It is amazing how thirsty my mind is for good life lessons on nurturing and healing our emotional pain and suffering.
For the first time in my life, I have someone teaching me parenting skills. A luxury I never thought of even wishing to have since both my parents were deceased before my first child turned three. CS stayed by my side through frequent dialog via phone calls, text, and emails, as I could not find time for counseling visits. A fundamental lesson I learned is to understand the true meaning and the misconceptions around the term unconditional love and boundaries. Applying all of these with compassion makes a difference in supporting my children’s struggles and efforts to navigate through many aspects of their life challenges. Raising successful individuals who could generate lots of stress and anxiety is no longer my goal of parenting. Helping my children with increased awareness to develop into wholesome individuals is the new goal.
Many of us are skeptics when it comes to the notion of spirituality. We associate it with the metaphysics world or even religion. Those of us who were raised in Western education environments cling to the idea of scientific proof. Well, there has been an explosion of scientific research activities all over the world on the neuroscience of breathing meditation; which I could have cared less about, except that the result of my own practice proved some of the theories drawn as conclusions from this research. In a very short period of time, I have had exposures to the fields of neuropsychology, quantum physics, the science of meditation, and the anatomy of the human mind and emotions. I found newer and deeper meanings in the words compassion, hope, love, and many others.
Fast forward 4 months. some of my friends and my own children noticed the change in me. Calmer, happier, more mellow, are the words I heard which were used to describe the ‘New me’. One used the word light and floating. CS described me as a ‘tigress’ on the first day he saw me. “You can’t change others, but you can change how you respond to others” was one of the first lessons I learned from him. There is a good chance that others will change in response to your changes. Sure enough, my children are changing with me.
The journey has just begun. Glimpses of inner peace and serenity started appearing more and more throughout my days. The thick, heavy blanket of toxic emotion has started to lift off, little by little. “Light”, as in ‘” not heavy”, is the closest word I can think of to describe how I feel nowadays. Sure, frustration and disappointments are inevitable but I can now stop the emotional flow from turning into anger. The need to seek help from my therapist on a weekly basis starts to wind down. I am becoming more and more capable of dealing with challenges in my life with grace.
Today, my children and I are traveling together on the path of recovery to healthier relationships through collective awareness. I realize that this is a life long learning process. Having a person with such positive vibes who models compassion alongside me makes learning so much more effective and fun!
CS may not give you the straight answers to every life problem you face. However, I receive many pointers as listed above, as well as suggestions on readings about and using essential oils. One time I unintentionally called him GPS! He stated the teachers are literally everywhere. All around us, at any given moment, ready for us to learn our life lessons. Some attribute this quote to the Buddha: “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear”.
Are You Ready?”
My notes her daughter was an accomplished teenager with high achievements in academics, sports, music, and art. With more than a decade of dysfunctional family conditions riddled with hostility and violence that ended up in her parents’ divorce, she developed into an unhappy adolescent full of anxiety, depression, and phobias. The habit of coping mechanism through emotional shutdown causes her to fail to see and appreciate acts of love and kindness. She trusted no one in her life, and animosity toward everyone in the family was very strong.
Books that helped the Mom Eckhart Tolle: The Power of NowBrene Brown: Rising Strong, Daring GreatlyPema Chodron: Making Friends with Your Mind, Coming Closer to Ourselves, The Pema Chodron Audio CollectionMarianne Williamson: A Return to LoveDon Miguel Ruiz: The Four AgreementsDouglas Carlton Abrams, Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu: The Book of JOYMark Manson: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ckKerry Paterson: Crucial ConversationsMark Goulston: Just Listen, Talking to CrazyMichael A. Singer: The Untethered SoulSusan Forward: Toxic ParentsHarriet Lerner: The Dance of AngerFrancine Shapiro: Getting Past Your Past, EMDRWayne Dyer: The Wayne Dyer Audio CollectionPaulo Coelho: The AlchemistJulie Lythcott-Haims: How to Raise an AdultCynthia Kane: How to Communicate Like a BuddhistAdele Faber & Elaine Mazlish: How to Talk So Teens Will Listen & Listen So Teens Will Talk
Blessed to have you in my life – (Dec 2017)
Latha (name changed) was severely affected by insomnia. A brief background about our association: She worked with me for a few years in the company I worked for in India when she was in her twenties. She was sincere, hard-working, and smart. Her husband who also worked with me sought my help for her insomnia. I worked with her by email and WhatsApp calls. We managed to be in touch, in spite of the time difference between the USA and India. At my request, she sent this testimonial.
“Thank you so much for your time to help me with my insomnia. It is almost 10 months now that and I must say that being guided by you every moment with your regular follow-ups has helped me get better by at least 80%.
Post counseling sessions from you, I learned and practiced the following
1. Focused breathing: Counting mode, Segment mode, Tip mode, 911 mode. This practice has now become a habit, happening automatically.
2. Handling stress: Being mindful of the thoughts and penning down the same on a piece of paper for a thought-free sleep!
In addition to this, I am back with my Isha Kriya, Yoga, and Walking too.
I believe that any association during one’s life adds meaning and this is what our almost 2 decades of association have done. Added meaning to my life! Blessed to have you in my life. You helped us grow professionally and personally too.
I assure you that I shall continue to practice and overcome the problem completely!
‘Segment mode’ was my sleep medicine – (Mar 2016)
Jessica attended my seminar at the Castleton library in March 2014 (The 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. It shows once again, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears”. The potential of ‘focusing on breathing’ tailored to the individual, is amazing. This client called me ‘CS’ which was my prior short name derived from my short name in Indian style ‘C.S.Rao’. Now I changed its name to ‘Surya’ to better reflect my name for people in the US.
“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 an 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 CS and he immediately set me up for an appointment. We worked together on the ‘Tip mode’ and I practiced that for the week. Still having some difficulty with falling back to sleep the next week, we worked on the ‘Segment mode’. 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. C S, you are one in a million….”
I struck gold in ‘Counting breaths’ – (Dec 2015)
This is a testimonial from Naveen (name changed), a Software Engineer from India around 30 years ago. He searched online for such techniques, found this website, and e-mailed me in Oct 2014 “I have been trying to practice ‘focusing on breathing’. I want to improve my practice and gain better results. I am looking for more guidelines and motivation from you. “
We exchanged e-mails for 9 months. He raised numerous doubts about the practical aspects of ‘focusing on breathing’. His problems were compounded by intense self-doubts. He did a service to others by persistently seeking clarity on minute aspects of the practice.
He was one of my unique clients. He extensively studied these webpages, sought my support, and made wonderful use of both. He gradually got over his most pressing problems. His success story may inspire young people looking for simple and no-hassle techniques, to lead a stress-free life. I made cosmetic changes to his testimonial.
” I thank Suryanarayana Chennapragada (C S) for sharing a plethora of knowledge on the internet for the benefit of every human being. I still remember the day I struck gold in the form of “Counting breaths” presented in such a simple manner (2).
I practiced these modes and techniques
‘Waking up postures on the bed’ (Sometimes)
‘Yoga stretching movements – Standing
My practice times
On returning home from work
Every time I read his articles, I unearth something new. Here are a few of his thoughts that got stuck in my mind.
Humans are designed to think negatively. Negative thoughts can’t harm us in any manner. We don’t have to be afraid of them or hate them. When they bother you, distract your mind by ‘focusing on breathing’.
Feel the coolness inside the nose during the in-breath and count during the out-breath!! This has become my slogan.
Have patience. Tirelessly focus on the breath.
The benefits I gained
I find improvement in Anxiety, Confidence, Disturbing Thoughts/Feelings, Focus.
I realize a lot of things happening in my body like not breathing well and getting indications to go and take a rest. 🙂
Have more patience in dealing with people.
Am able to differentiate between useful and useless thoughts. I had negative thoughts very often. I still get them but I change my focus to the breath and they get reduced. 60 % improved.
Sleep: My sleep was not good. It has improved in hours and quality by 80 %. 🙂
I was not feeling fresh. Now I feel fresh after focusing on the breath. 70 % improved.
I have a tool to calm my mind and relax my body.
Improved my focus on the task at hand.
Interesting aspects of ‘C S’
Though he is in a different part of the world, he never missed responding to my numerous questions, fears, and doubts. I never met him personally but have an unbreakable bond with him. He has a special place in my life. Though I do not communicate with him for days, he is always at the back of my mind. Amazing!! Great service to humanity !!! God bless him.”
Recurring Headaches totally relieved – (Oct 2015)
Feedback from Krishna (name changed), a young married client who is doing my classes by skype and in person. His headaches were totally relieved in 2 weeks.
He came to my daughter’s medical office for his chronic headaches and received a prescription for a nasal spray for pain relief. 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. He quickly scanned through the handouts and signed up for my classes. 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?
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.
Overwhelming anxiety relieved – (Sept 2015)
Feedback from Pamela (name changed) a client aged around 40 years who attended 4 of my classes over 6 weeks. She is an active professional who was suddenly overwhelmed with acute anxiety when she received news of a serious health problem for one of their family friends. She looked as if she was in a different world losing all her initiative, causing a lot of concern for her family. She came to my classes at the suggestion of her doctor Padma Sripada MD.
“I am very grateful to the countingbreaths.com website and the excellent counseling sessions with C S. I was under a lot of stress from an overload of business work, some personal issues and was experiencing anxiety and feeling overwhelmed when I first started working with him. I did not have the work-life balance I so treasure.
C S is very gifted as a counselor and a coach. Right from the very start, I felt an immediate sense of trust being built. He helps you to see and really understand things more clearly and deeply. It was especially comforting to work with someone who really understands the anxiety and takes the time to help you understand symptoms and how not to fear them. I learned how to understand the symptoms better. He showed me different breathing techniques – which are now a part of my daily life. He taught me to take 30 minutes out of my busy life every day and give those 30 minutes just to myself. I still have a lot of work but it is better paced now because I also make a conscious effort to pace it better.
I would recommend the website and C S very highly. He walks with you, empowers you, and helps you to help yourself thrive. Thank you again C S. I really valued the time I spent with you to overcome my anxiety issue.”
My notes (from the feedback she provided during our sessions)
What did she practice?: Tip mode, Counting mode, Feeling mode, Staring mode at the red lights when driving, Waking up postures.
When?: Bedtime, Waking up, Driving, Walking, Waiting, Exercising, Working
What were the significant changes she noticed?:
Before – Didn’t feel like doing anything, Keep on thinking about what will happen.
Now – Bad thoughts are gone. Feeling very happy.
Before – Felt tired and didn’t want to play with the kids.
Now – Happily playing with the kids every evening.
Before – Less confidence in starting any work.
Now – Became confident.
Before – Felt very tired.
Now – Feel active from the start of the day.
Now I am able to stand up for myself – (June 2015)
Report from Sam in his thirties doing a master’s program (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!”
Calmed my Mom has Alzheimer’s – (May 2015)
Report by Zina (name changed)) about how the ‘Tip mode’ calmed her 84-year-old mom suffering from Alzheimer’s.
“I have just started using your ‘focusing on breathing’ relaxation technique very recently myself. But one day, I decided to do it together with my mother who is 84 years old, suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. She lives alone in an apartment in the Bronx.
I call her every day, just to say ‘hello’ or ‘how are you’. Sometimes I get her at her worst when she is at her very agitated ‘sundown’ state.
One day, I decided to guide her through the ‘tip mode’ of counting breaths technique over the phone. We did it together for just about five minutes and that calmed her down very much.
Later on, she even asked me to write the instructions down for her in our native language and mail it to her because she would not be able to remember how to count breaths by herself. Great technique! Thank you very much.”
Zina is a patient of my daughter Padma Sripada MD. When she came to see her last time for her headaches, Padma suggested she may try ‘focusing on breathing’. Apparently, Zina felt the practice may prove helpful to her Mom, could guide her on phone, and saw a surprising result.
Not approaching my husband negatively – (Nov 2014)
Feedback from a woman aged around 60 who attended 3 of my classes over 4 months. Her initial concerns were – stressful relationship with her husband, depression off and on, disturbing thoughts & feelings, and concentration.
What did she practice?
Folding mode, Counting mode, waking up postures, and stretching.
When did she practice?
Waking up, driving, stressed, tired and during meditation and anytime she thought of them during the day and had a free moment. (2)
Which of her concerns improved?
Mentally: Anger, Anxiety, Confidence, Concentration, Patience, Initiative, Worry, Happiness, Relaxation, Frustration, Disturbing thoughts and feelings, Fear of unknown future of next generations.
Physically: Active, More hours of sleep (4 1/2 hours increased to 7 hours), Not anxious on waking up, Better exercise, More smiling, Less drinking, and More productive.
Dealing with people: More patience, Better listening, More talking.
She was happy to report improvement in her major concern “I have moved out negatively approaching all aspects of my life, most noticeably with my husband.”
Major concerns- ‘Before’ and ‘Now’
Relationship with husband
Before: Worrying, anger, forcefully facing the challenges.
Now: More humility and compassion, faster in actions and words.
Directions in my life
Before: Can’t make up my mind, Planning and calculating, figuring it all out thinking always.
Now: Letting my understanding and desires deepen my commitment to allowing and creating the next steps.
Relationship to self and others
Before: Frustrations as to what is going on, not wanting to be connected.
Now: Sense of connectedness to myself and others with respect and well wishes.
No more ‘Legendary Panic Attacks’ – (June 2014)
Remarkable feedback from Sheela (name changed) undergoing 6 monthly chemotherapy and CT scans for Lymphoma. She attended 4 of my classes She was so terrified of the CT scan that she had to take sedatives for a few days before the scan date. She was in great distress even when seeing her Oncologist. The breathing techniques relieved both her ‘legendary panic attacks’ (her words) and distress.
“Something so simple but yet so powerful…Thank you CS for giving me such a great tool. Previous to working with you, I had ‘legendary panic attacks’ when getting a CT Scan and even when just seeing my oncologist. In the past, I have prescribed a sedative that I would take up to three days in a row before the visit.
This time around, instead of taking the sedatives, I used the ‘Segment mode’ usually in the afternoon and every night before I went to bed, for several weeks. The week before the recent test which I usually label as my “Hell” week, I used the ‘Tip mode’ and ‘911 mode’ when I started to feel a panic attack coming on. It really did a great job of defusing the situation and helped me make it through the day.
On the day of the CT, while sitting in the waiting room, I was using the ‘Feeling mode’ to keep the panic away. I actually remember using the ‘Tip mode’ in the CT scan machine. I couldn’t hold back every tear but my boyfriend who comes with me said he could definitely see a difference. I was in a much better state of mind when I saw the doctor and I didn’t have my usual ‘after visit cries’.
Now for my next visit, I already have less anxiety because I saw such a change in the short time we had been working together. So I know now that I have more time to practice, the results will only get better. I feel very fortunate to have met someone like you who is willing to teach me. Thanks for all your help.”
Anxiety and Panic attacks reduced – (May 2014)
Feedback from a client around 50 years, a patient of my daughter Padma Sripada MD. He attended 3 of my classes.
His main concerns were ‘Acute anxiety’, ‘Panic attacks’, ‘Stress’. He was concerned about the recent diagnosis of pre-diabetes. He lost 20 pounds after the diagnosis with diet changes and exercise but the sugar level was still high. He felt it may be due to stress. His acute anxiety and panic attacks persisted in spite of his being on Klonopin medication.
” My practice is going well. I am not practicing as much as I was at first because my anxiety has been better in general. Some things about which I was worried before, I am less worried now. I use the breathing techniques all the time. I practice when going to sleep, waking up, various times during the day, etc. Thanks, CS!”
In the last class, he said that his attitude towards his chronic business and legal problems changed remarkably. He was now able to face the same old problems without panic and acute anxiety. He was able to keep his cool and even calming down his wife! This is a sort of new life for him. His experience shows the amazing power of these simple techniques. Even though he was on anti-anxiety medication for a long time, he continued to suffer from anxiety and panic attacks to a paralyzing extent. He was looking for something beyond the medication.
I was poised, confident, and enjoyed it! – (April 2014)
Testimonial from a master’s student who attended 10 of my classes over a period of 5 months.
“I have been utilizing the CS’s breathing techniques for two months now. I have seen a significant decrease in my stress level. One of my goals was to be able to speak in front of my class as a graduate student. Last week I was up in front of my class for nearly an hour; I was poised, confident, and I enjoyed it. Every time I am feeling a little overwhelmed, I start to count my breaths and it helps me get centered again. I recommend these techniques to anyone because they work.”
Dramatically helped me when driving – (Mar 2014)
Testimonial from a client who attended 3 of my classes.
“My husband and I recently completed three classes on stress management and “focusing on breathing” with Suryanarayana Chennapragada (C S). I can’t recommend it enough. In addition to helping me sleep better, it has dramatically helped me when driving. I practice my breathing when I am stopped at red lights as well as when I am caught in traffic. It really helps relax me and slow down.
I also practice my breathing when I am cooking, while at work, and at night when trying to unwind from a stressful day. I practice my breathing on a daily basis in all types of situations and the more I do it the more I love it. It is so simple and yet so effective. Hard to believe that something so easy could be so helpful. Try it. I guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised. C S is very personable, friendly, and informative.”
I am building a ‘New Me’! – (Feb 2014)
Feedback from a client who achieved life-changing benefits by practicing the ‘Focusing on breathing’, initially on his own from my handouts and then attended 10 of my classes so far over the last 6 months.
“As someone who has fought the proverbial battle of the bulge most of his life, I know how hard it can be to make life changes. I have been through the crash diets, to doctors, and so on with varying degrees of success. However, the weight would always come back. I had pretty much given up.
Then one day, I picked up a handout on breathing mostly because it said it could help with my insomnia. To my surprise, it did help a lot and with more than just my lack of sleep.
Eventually, I was convinced to try taking the classes. Through the classes, I have been keeping a food diary and trying new changes in my diet. I was even watching a subliminal video. This isn’t like the crash diets I’ve been on and it’s not pills.
In keeping the food diary, I am able to keep track of what I’m putting in my body (when you first start, you may be shocked). I started my changes gradually and in a way that I didn’t feel deprived. The changes I have made so far are
Drink water at least a half-hour before food.
More whole unprocessed foods like vegetables and whole grains like brown rice and rye bread.
I added beans and salad to at least one meal a day.
And the real hard part – I cut down on my drinking beer and my meat (didn’t eliminate just cut down).
As I implemented these changes, I found my tastes have changed as well as my waistline from 46 to 44. I now only feel deprived if I miss my daily salad.
I have lost about ten pounds, in a sustainable way (300 lbs to 286 lbs in 5 months). I no longer fear going back to the way I was.
I am building a ‘new me’.”
Incredible difference in my life – (Jan 2014)
E-mail from Shelli (not her real name), a participant in my seminar held for a spiritual group in 2012. She responded to my Annual Update – 2014 with this message.
“I met you at one of your seminars in 2012. I use your breathing exercises constantly. It has made an incredible difference in my life !!!! Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!!! “
I was thrilled to get this unsolicited feedback and requested 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 a meditative trance. 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. I also use it during exercise–walking, cross country skiing, and kayaking. It increases my stamina and is calming during exertion.
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.”
The beginning of a journey – (Dec 2013)
Feedback from a remarkable client, a Chiropractor who attended 4 of my classes over a period of 6 weeks. Immediately after the first class, he reported big changes in his way of looking at daily experiences and his new style of responding to them.
“It began with a chance meeting with a stranger, leading into a conversation of meditation and counting breaths.
Shortly thereafter, I was called to action after a road rage incident prompted me to move forward with exploring the possibility of living in the moment, being aware of all my actions.
Since beginning counting breaths I began to notice the color of the autumn leaves for the first time in over 50 years.
Inner peace was overcoming me while driving to the extent the radio playing my favorite music was perceived as noise.
At home, a more peaceful time was experienced, reading rather than watching the television. A sense of clarity and focus began to evolve.
My leisure time now is spent in quiet, conscious of breath with a sense of awareness I have not experienced in the past.
I’ve become comfortable with peaceful time, reading, which is now part of my daily life.
My counting breaths these days consist of calming and happy thoughts. I no longer think about the past or worry about the future. I work on living in the present, experiencing what happens in the now.
Through ongoing practice, awareness and internal peace have been the one of the greatest accomplishments in my personal life…..and the journey continues.”
My note: This is another classic instance of ‘everything falling in place’ when the person is ready for change. As he explained in person – let me call him Frank, (not his real name), was at a party and heard two other people talking about meditation and counting breaths and joined the conversation. One of them – let me call him Alfred (not his real name) talked about my classes and techniques. Frank was interested and gave his e-mail ID to Alfred for sending my reference. Frank did not get the e-mail. But for some mysterious reason, Alfred followed up with something unusual. He printed his e-mail message and mailed it to Frank. When Frank got my information, he visited this website and felt this is something he would like to try. He has been coming to my classes and “thus began his journey” into the world of reality!
Relief from Depression, Addictions, Anger and Disturbing thoughts – (Nov 2013)
Feedback from a client whom I was meeting periodically on business. He initially practiced focusing on breathing on his own from my handouts. He was thanking me for the help he was getting from the technique. On seeing the remarkable improvements he reported like resolving insomnia and even getting off one of the three medications for depression, I persuaded him to attend my classes. His report –
“I have been using the finger segment technique for about six months and now taking classes to expand upon that foundation. As a result, I went from 3 anti-depressants to 2. I have found my desire to self medicate with alcohol and tobacco lessen. It is not to say that I don’t slip up. But I have gone from several drinks a day, to maybe a few per week. Smoking is all but eliminated with the exception of the occasional pipe tobacco but cigarettes are done. I can’t stand the taste anymore.
The biggest change is that I no longer get angry as easily as before. When I do get angry, I don’t hang on to that anger. My disturbing thoughts and feelings are all but gone. It feels as though a great weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Now I am working on my weight problem and making life changes to live happier and healthier.
“I finally had a good night’s sleep” – June 2013
Feedback from a young Engineer who just completed his master’s and looking for a job. Seeing the great distress he was in, his friend, a patient of my daughter Padma Sripada MD asked me to help him. He did three classes at frequent intervals, as he was to leave Albany shortly. He learned the basic techniques of ‘focusing on breathing‘ and some loosening exercises of Yoga. After he left Albany, I am continuing to work with him by periodic phone and e-mail contacts. Here is his report.
“Using the ‘Focusing on breathing’ techniques helped me handle insomnia and anxiety in a better way. For a long time, I always got anxious during those situations where I had to deliver my best, to achieve success. Unknowingly, I was getting anxious, failed to control my anxiety, and overstressed myself. Due to chronic high-stress levels, I lost my daily routine and had very poor sleep. I became restless, could not focus and concentrate on anything, and failed to perform even minor tasks that were easily handled by me, during stress-free times. I figured out that I had to get back to a good sleep routine to help my mind and body. Even after knowing this fact, no matter what I did, I could not help myself to get sleep, for more than an hour or two at night.
I was advised by my friend, to meet Mr. Suryanarayana Chennapragada (C S). He carefully listened to my problem and analyzed my situation with great patience. Later the same day, he walked me through his ‘focusing on breathing’ techniques, one by one. His breathing techniques are “very simple to learn and adapt”. That night I practiced the techniques lying on the bed. After a week of sleepless nights, I finally had a good night’s sleep. During three more sessions, Mr. C.S taught me how to use the breathing techniques in various combinations. As per his strong advice, I consulted a doctor who prescribed a medication to bring my anxiety under control quickly. I am continuing both medication and breathing practices. My long term goal is to completely depend on breathing practices, rather than medication. I totally believe it is possible. I thank Mr. C S for his “patience and dedication”.
Calmed me on a scary air flight – (Nov 2012)
This is the first report of its kind. Emily Marynczak, a certified birth instructor shared with me how she used the segment mode of ‘focusing on breathing’ to keep herself calm for about 2 hours, during a scary air flight.
“A year ago I was traveling back home from Ohio. The flight was scheduled to be about two hours long and the weather seemed clear. But shortly after takeoff, the pilot announced that there was some windy weather that we would have to contend with and he was going to keep the fasten seat belt sign on, until things calmed down. And then the bouncing began. It felt like the plane would suddenly randomly drop down a few feet – taking everyone’s stomach with it. It felt like the plane was being tossed to and fro and then up and down. We had non stop turbulence for the entire flight, it was terrifying. (I don’t like flying even on a good day!) It would have been truly horrific for me, had I not had the mental focus that came from ‘counting my breaths’. When the plane first began to bounce, I had my book on my lap but with the first big bounce, my fear began to rise and I was unable to concentrate on my reading. I was starting to feel a bit of panic surface. It was clear that all the people around me were getting very afraid too. I could hear audible gasps with the bigger drops we felt. I couldn’t imagine how I was going to cope.
Then really from a place of desperation, I decided to try ‘counting my breaths’ (2). I needed to focus on something other than the scary thoughts about a plane crash.
I closed my book, closed my eyes, and placed my hands comfortably on my lap. I started using the ‘segment mode’ of ‘counting breaths‘ with my left hand.
As I finished, I was noticeably calmer. I realized that while I had given my mind the task of moving my fingers with each breath, my mind was occupied and therefore there was no time to worry about the plane falling from the sky. I was so focused on my breathing and my task of moving my fingers that I couldn’t even really take in the stress of the people around me.
I continued counting my breaths in this manner, for the duration of the flight. Every now and then, if the plane leveled off and the winds calmed, I would stop, open my eyes and take in my environment. I took great comfort from knowing that if the wind picked up, I would have a way to cope, something concrete to do that would really help. Sure enough, the winds would pick up, and as my life depended on it, I would resume my breath awareness, always starting with my thumb going to my pinky at the top segment. Two hours later, we landed safely.
The passengers on the plane cheered loudly, as they released their stress. As we were getting off the plane, it was obvious that the other passengers were visibly stressed and shaken by this awful flight. But I had a unique sense of calm. I think my calm came from not only the meditative practice of concentrating on my breath and having an anchor for my thoughts with the movements of my fingers but also from the peace that I got from just knowing that I had something to try if I felt scared. I am forever indebted to C S (Suryanarayana Chennapragada) for sharing this powerful technique with me. I am forever empowered in my life, to cope with the inevitable stresses that will come my way.
This was the first time that I had really practiced the segment mode of counting breaths on my own.
In my work as a childbirth educator, I practice this technique as I teach my students, once or twice a month. The version of the counting breaths technique that I had been using a lot, prior to the airplane ride, and still use several times a week, is the version of counting to three, over and over again without using the fingers at all, all in the mind. I practice this technique whenever I want to go to sleep. Sometimes when I start off, I hear the voice of my inner cynic say- “this won’t help you fall asleep.” But I practice it any way and then in the morning I awake refreshed and happy. I know that counting my breaths to three really works. Incorporating the finger movements doesn’t work for me when my goal is to go to sleep. It’s too much effort to contract the muscles of my hand. But as I demonstrated in my airplane story, the extra energy of contracting my fingers in such a deliberate and focused way, was exactly what I needed to use up the extra energy created by the stress I was experiencing.
I am grateful to CS for teaching me these simple yet profound tools.
‘Counting breaths’ during childbirth – (Nov 2012)
‘First of its kind’ feedback from Emily Marynczak, the mom of my grand daughter’s classmate at Robert C.Parker School. She herself practices the technique, finds it useful, and teaches it to her clients.
“In my work as a childbirth educator, I have been teaching different modes of ‘counting breaths’ technique to my clients. I direct my clients to practice twice a day – once in the morning and once at bedtime. I also direct them to the ‘counting breaths web site‘ for further study.
Many of my clients report back that they find the techniques useful on a day to day basis, for calming themselves. I have also had at least a couple of women report back after their births that at various tough moments during their labor, they used counting breaths effectively, for pain management.
When the mind has an anchor, fear is reduced. When fear is reduced in childbirth, the sensations are much more manageable – and potentially even enjoyable.
“I stopped smoking,” said a cash clerk – Oct 2012
I printed the brochures on ‘Counting breaths meditation’ at the UPS store. The cash clerk whom I was meeting often, became friendly. I found him several times outside the store, smoking a cigarette. He was always looking gloomy. One day I gave him the hand outs (1) and explained the tip mode (3), in a couple of minutes. Whenever I visited the store for printing, I asked him whether he tried the technique and on hearing his negative response, softly urged him to give it a try. For almost a year, he did not believe it was useful and did not try the technique.
Two months back, he said he was practicing the technique in the visualizing mode (2). He was happy with the practice.
In response to my query today, on how his practice was going and how it was helping him, he said with a smile
“It gives me good sleep”. And after a while, he added “I stopped smoking.”
I congratulated him and asked for the details. He said he was smoking 2 to 3 packs a week, before practicing the technique. While continuing the breathing practice, he switched to electronic cigarettes. Now he rarely feels the urge. Even when he gets the urge, he feels too lazy to smoke.
Courage to take the decision
Let me know your own experience with this practice. It will be posted without your name.
This is the feedback from a woman who attended two of my classes. She was in distress due to her husband’s insensitive behavior. She used to be submissive to her husband like a doormat. After enduring this for many years, she felt drained and reached a breaking point. She was informally practicing ‘focusing on breathing’ for some time, based on my handouts (1). Now she wanted to intensify her practice and come out of her distress. She was already seeing a counselor. Her goal was to become assertive with her husband. She attended two of my classes. One week after the first class, she gave this feedback –
“ I think the breathing helped me face a big decision I was afraid to make. It gave me the courage to face what I didn’t want to face. I made the decision and moved out of my home, away from my husband, for now. I’m not sure of the future but my heart told me, this was the right move for now. This is a very hard time in my life and I’m happy to have this skill to help me through. The breathing is helping me stay calm. ”
This is the first report of its kind.
Update in March 2013: “I’m doing okay. Still using the breathing techniques and doing yoga. I’m feeling much better and even a sense of peace, some days.”
I rebuilt my broken spirit – (Aug 2011)
This is a testimonial from Eva (not her real name) who attended 8 of my classes over 5 months. It illustrates many lessons in getting out of the grip of a verbal or emotional abuser, not a physical abuser.
It is a dramatic model of how a person can break the spell of the abuser and lead a stress-free life. Daily contact with that person may be unavoidable. The abuser may be abusing verbally or emotionally. The abuser may be a boss, spouse, parent, friend, or any other. It proves the saying “You can’t change others. You can only change your response to their behavior.” and the related one “When I change myself, the World changes.” It proves the spiritual saying “When the student is ready the teacher appears” And you may be surprised! The abuser may turn around! See my comments at the end. The report –
“I suppose it was the end of May 2011 because the 10-foot high snow banks at the end of the parking lot had finally melted. I think it was a Monday or a Tuesday. Back then, I didn’t really focus on real-time. I simply prayed to get through each day. Each and every new morning presented itself with tremendous anxiety, demanding self-preparedness to battle with my verbally and emotionally abusive boss. I had been dealing with his relentlessly abusive behavior over the last two years. I was daily confronted with humiliation, degrading, argumentative, embarrassing control tactics, accusations, and lies. Me responding with anxiety, fear, tears, withdrawal, disgust, and frustration. I was losing sleep, and it felt like I was constantly spinning.
I was treated by my physician for severe panic attacks and sleeplessness. My dermatologist was treating me for the red blotches, itching, and welts on my face. Rock bottom came when a coworker made an unkind comment to me, back on that Monday or Tuesday. It broke my spirit to the core. I went out of the office, to the end of the long unused hallway, sat on the floor with my arms wrapped around my knees. I soaked from my tears. What was happening to me? How do I stop this monster of a boss from making me feel like this?
I figured I had two choices – fight or flight. I pulled myself together and went back to the office. I prayed to the angels to please give me some kind of a sign.
A few days before, I planned to attend the seminar by C S (Suryanarayana Chennapragada) on ‘Focusing on breathing’ at the local library, but I couldn’t make it. On coming to know about my interest from my coworker, CS offered the classes at his office. I saw CS that day.
He patiently let me unload everything that was making my life miserable. He taught me the different breathing methods to control stress and help with relaxation. He made me practice the techniques briefly sitting in his office.
I experienced a sense of calmness almost immediately. I could feel my tense shoulders drop. In his weekly classes, he shared with me his own life experiences and some healing thoughts. I began to understand things in a whole different way. I knew I was 100 feet underwater but after a few sessions with CS, I knew I had crawled up by 10 feet, inch by inch.
I had a long way to go but I knew I was on the right path. I practiced the techniques every day and several times a day when things got bad. I could thus create my own calmness to some degree. I created sanity in my workspace by including things I love and a few ‘props’ from C S, to insulate me from further emotional trauma [See note (2)].
After several months and many visits later. I can honestly say that I am ‘riding the waves’ instead of drowning underneath them [See note (3)]. I have learned so much from the relaxation techniques and guidance from C S, that now I recognize the bad behavior before it comes to me. I learned how to respond to it inappropriate ways, to throw “IT” (the ‘bug’, meaning the abusive behavior) back and put the fire out before it burns me [See note(4)].
I had a revelation not too long ago inspired by the experiences C S shared with me. It became clear to me, that I was causing my own frustration because I was expecting my boss to change into someone he could never be. I realized that I could only change myself. I had to only keep my mind clear without confusion and my heart clean without any negative intention or attitude. I am now stronger, more confident, and more aware of my own being. I am a better person now. When confronted with difficulties and bad behavior at work, I know I am going to get even better. I have eliminated all expectations about him! I feel can do this! I keep a small sign on my desk with a chant that CS introduced to me. It reminds me frequently that my boss’s abusive behavior is not because something is wrong with me. The sign has the letters “koerauoyavE”. It does not make sense to any other person. I am the only one who knows that reading it backward, gives me the healing message “Eva you are OK” (I am OK, it is my boss who is suffering from the ‘blame bug’).”
The report ends happily here!
Some unexpected developments reported by Eva later
“My boss realized that I was not cowering anymore when he behaved intimidatingly. On the other hand, he saw me replying to his accusations calmly, boldly, and factually, looking into his eyes, all the time. He then changed his behavior dramatically. He started behaving like an immature child and making jokes, trying to make up with me! Unbelievable!” “A few days back, at the end of the day, I asked him “Doc! are we closing the office?”. He replied “You tell me.” I said “You are the boss. You are the one to decide.” He said “No. You are the boss!”. Imagine this one coming from the micromanaging and intimidating boss who used to say in all petty matters of the office “I am the boss. You have to follow whatever I say.” What a transformation!”
Eva is a unique personality, unlike any others with whom I worked so far. In her past career, she always had kind and caring bosses. This abusive boss was a great shock to her.
She instantly grasped the concepts and techniques I shared with her, internalized them, and used them right away, to manage the situation on hand. She benefited remarkably from the stories and articles that I shared with her in the classes.
After a few weeks of practicing the breathing and the new thought processes, she discarded her previous practice of wearing the green smock to the office, like a medial staff. She wore the normal office dress like a receptionist, with pride. This small step boosted her morale, one notch.
(1) She quickly absorbed the messages of these stories/articles and ideas and practiced them in real life.
“He insulted me” on how we can refuse to receive the insult being thrown at us or internalize it.
“ The walker who laughed at A, B, and C” on how we think we have some problem, instead of the abusive person.
“The blamer is hit with the blame bug” due to which he can’t help displaying the symptoms of blaming disease.
“Living lessons from my brother Ramu’s death at age 10” describing how my unrealistic expectation was the cause for my suffering.
“We do not see the first parts of people’s lives” making judgments of other people, based on their current behavior, without knowing the experiences they were subjected to till that point in time.
“What should I say?” or “What should I do?” illustrating that as long I have a clear mind without confusion and a clean heart without negative emotions, I can speak and act appropriately without being afraid of anyone, including GOD.
Unrealistic expectations sap our motivation and abort our attempts at making small forward moving changes in our routine. The president of an African country was asked by a journalist to describe the achievements of his government. He said,” My dear friend, I am not in the happy position of seeing what heights I have reached. I only see from what depths I am coming up!”. The personal change process is such that we may not experience any waves of happiness even after many many years of practice. The few daring people that attempt this process have to sustain their efforts and draw deep inspiration from the tiny reductions in their daily suffering.
(2) I helped Eva in creating reassuring and calming props, right in front of her, while sitting in her chair, in spite of any objections by her boss. This was also to break the spell of controlling and being controlled, under which both her boss and she lived, for more than two years. She also had to demonstrate her right to arrange her undisputed physical zone as she liked, without being challenged by her boss.
I described the story “He insulted me” using my pen for practical demonstration and at the end, gave her the same pen to take with her and place it right in front of her on the desk. This pen would remind her of the message of this story during the abusive interactions of the day, thus protecting her from distress.
I used a piece of crumpled paper to represent the bug in the story “The blamer is hit with the blame bug” and asked her to keep it on her desk, to remind her that her boss could not help behaving abusively because he was having the blame bug in his head.
I made a card in the shape of an inverted V (like a name sign used in meetings) and wrote “koerauoyawE” on it with a colored sketch pen. This was the message “Eva you are ok” written backward as one word so that only she could decipher the hidden message. Whenever her boss made a statement putting her down, she looked at this card lying on her desk, reminding her she was OK and it was her boss who had the bug (problem). Looking at this message helped her shake off the negative messages about her that her boss was trying to inject into her mind. Her coworkers saw the card and asked what was the meaning of that word. She quietly smiled in reply.
I asked her if she had any plants or flowers on her desk or around her, to look at and care for, as her own. She said her boss did not like any such things. I said this is a very good chance to assert her right by bringing some flowers from her garden or buy a small plant in a pot and keep it on her desk. She followed these suggestions.
She heard western classical music being played in our office when she came to the classes. She remarked that it was very calming whereas the music channel in her office radio blared hard drum sounds and disturbed her as well as the patients sitting in the waiting room. I asked her to change the station to classical music. She was not sure he would allow it but she made the change anyway without his noticing it, to her great relief. Listening to this soothing music all the time also contributed to reducing her stress.
(3) A spiritual teacher said that meditative techniques like ‘Focusing on breathing’ do not eliminate the problems which are a part of life. But they help us manage them without getting distressed. He said, “You can’t avoid the big waves coming at you. But you can use the meditative techniques as a surfboard and ride over the waves”.
(4) Her boss was throwing the blame (bug) at her and she now learned how to throw it back at him, instead of getting infected by that bug. She protected herself from being infected by the blaming disease that her boss was suffering from.
My Back Pain of 25 years is reduced by 80% – (Oct 2010)
Feedback from a client who attended 5 of my classes, learned and practiced ‘Focusing on breathing’ and gentle stretching.
I was having back pain and sleep disorder for the last 25 years. I was diagnosed with herniated disk and arthritis in L4 & L5. I was hospitalized twice and taken numerous painkillers, muscle relaxers, and narcotics. I was a frequent visitor to Chiropractors and Physical Therapists. For a week, these would help, and then I would reach a Plateau. I spent numerous hours and dollars at the pain clinics, beyond what was paid thru the Insurance Company. I tried all kinds of things from home remedies to old Grandma remedies to reduce my back pain.
A couple of months ago, at a picnic, I asked Mr. C S (Suryanarayana Chennapragada) if he could teach me how to do “Sun salutations’ of Yoga”. At that time he mentioned the breathing techniques and simple relaxation exercises. I saw his brochures at the Hindu Temple and other places. I read them but never practiced.
I thought that I had nothing to lose, let me give it a try. Maybe this would work. I started meeting with C S weekly, to learn the breathing and stretching exercises. After a couple of weeks, I saw improvement in my sleeping pattern and back pain. I have been doing the breathing and the stretching exercises for the past 3 months for about 30-45 minutes a day. In these 3 months, my back pain is reduced by 80%, did not have to take a single pain medication, and had a good night sleep. After mowing the lawn for 3 hours, I feel my back a little sore but after a shower, breathing & stretching I feel a lot better. After 30-45 minutes, I am back to normal, with no pain.
Breathing techniques, relaxations, and stretching exercises have helped me a lot with my back pain and sleep disorder. I strongly suggest these techniques to everyone to reduce stress, back-pain, and gain profound energy. There is nothing to lose but a lot to gain, that too without spending any dollars.
Wonderful life changes for a Fibromyalgia patient under disability – Dec 2009
Feedback from a Fibromyalgia patient: This is the most remarkable one I received in the last 8 years of my teaching this method.
” I have Fibromyalgia. I was first diagnosed with this condition in March 1990 after an injury that occurred at my place of employment a month before. For almost 19 years now I have had great difficulty sleeping due to extreme pain. After being prescribed many medications over the years, none compare to the breathing techniques demonstrated to me by C.S. Because of him I can get many hours of consecutive sleep; where I was not able to achieve with prior aid of a physician whose specialty is sleep disorders.
The methods taught to me by C S are simplistic by nature, such as counting my breaths, inhaling, and exhaling. Also listening to and feeling my abdomen rise and lower as do tides ebb and flow. This relaxes me to the point where I experience great energy and decrease my pain during the day. C.S’s techniques have made me so happy that I have shared them with my elderly neighbors and they have experienced wonderful changes in their daily lives.
Some of my wonderful life’s changes – well this is a big one for me, is that I am able to drive my car finally! Also, I am performing chores around the house like vacuuming. Now I know you may feel “big deal” you can vacuum!”, but for me, with the pain, I was experiencing, it feels wonderful just to be able to finally go back to doing just that, the household chores! I suggest that everyone try these breathing techniques to help relieve pain, stress, and profound energy.”
School children coping with stress by mindful breathing – (Dec 2009)
‘Focusing on breathing’ was introduced to children of all classes from Pre K 4 to Grade 8 in 15 to 30 minutes sessions in Oct, Nov 09. The Director of the school, Meg Taylor has given an official stamp of approval with this post in her blog.
“One of the ways we help children cope with stress at Parker is by practicing the simple mindful breathing taught us by C.S., the grandfather of our student Veda Sripada in Grade 4-5. It is one of his life’s missions to spread this easy and effective way to reduce anxiety. The breathing technique is practiced regularly by almost all the children in the school”.
Meg Taylor Head of Robert C. Parker School, in her school blog, Dated December 09, under the subject of anxiety and stress in children.
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