DAYTON – Need a grown-up timeout? An opportunity to decompress? Time to reflect?
Then you need ZENSday. Wednesday is ZENSday at the Dayton International Peace Museum with free programs designed to help restore inner peace. From a 30-minute meditation to an hour-long, beginner-friendly yoga class, anyone can get their Zen on.
“I have found, quite honestly, that life is stressful and I feel a lot better after meditation,” said Lonnie Franks, a Peace Museum board member. “The first time, I thought ‘how am I going to sit there for 30 minutes,’ and before I knew it, it was over.”
From college students to retirees, Kevin Kelly, a member of the museum leadership team, has seen a wide variety of people taking advantage of the free programs.
“There are so many people searching for inner peace,” Kelly said. “It’s wonderful that we can share these programs with them.”
Work, school, family – life can become a seemingly endless to-do list. That’s where Uma Mullapudi, a certified trainer with the Heartfulness Institute, comes in. Mullapudi has been practicing meditation for 40 years and teaching it for more than three decades.
“The first thing I tell people is that it’s not about religion, it’s about releasing stress and coming into your heart,” Mullapudi said. “It helps you come into a state of balance and live life with a spirit of joy and celebration.”
From gradual relaxation and deep breathing to focused meditation, the session covers all the bases in 30 minutes.
“You don’t realize how scattered you are, so I think just slowing down my mind has been so helpful,” said Tina Grismer, of Harrison Twp. “It’s amazing how easy it is to really notice your thoughts when you do that.”
Mullapudi and other trainers from Heartfulness Meditation facilitate programs throughout the Miami Valley for as many as 500 people a week in 30 different locations from the Peace Museum and Kettering Cancer Care to schools and the Mall at Fairfield Commons. Decreased stress and improved concentration are just two of the many benefits of meditation.
“It’s so important to take time for ourselves,” Mullapudi said. “You will find that it will make you happier and more productive.”
In keeping with the ZENSday theme, the museum recently added a free Vinyasa style yoga class to its Wednesday offerings. Instructor Kenaesha “Kay” Edwards guides yogis of all ability and experience levels through a beginner-friendly practice in Holbrooke Hall, just behind the museum’s main building.
Edwards’ practice focuses on breathing and listening to your body, letting go of competition and judgment and being present. Variations enable all ages and ability levels to practice together.
“It’s about being in the moment,” Edwards said.
Yoga offers some of the same benefits as meditation, such as stress reduction, but also offers physical benefits like improved flexibility and balance. And it’s a perfect complement to the meditation that wraps up 15 minutes before yoga begins.
“It can help you get through the rest of the week,” Kelly said.
• Improved quality of life.
• Stress relief.
• Better quality of sleep.
• Stimulation of the immune system.
• Greater concentration.