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Relax and de-stress in the most UNEXPECTED place — and for free

Published: Friday, January 26, 2018 @ 6:00 AM
Updated: Tuesday, March 06, 2018 @ 10:45 AM

Uma Mullapudi leads a group into meditation at the Heartfulness Lounge at the Fairfield Commons Mall.
Uma Mullapudi leads a group into meditation at the Heartfulness Lounge at the Fairfield Commons Mall.

In the chaotic non-stop chatter of our lives on and offline, it can be difficult to simply relax

As I left the office and headed out to the mall for a chat with the ladies at the Heartfulness Center, I looked forward to engaging with them about the unique way they offer relaxation techniques.

I was greeted by three women — Uma Mullapudi, Anjali Brannon and Libby Ballengee — who offered me a delicious cup of honey lavender tea before we sat down in the front area of the lounge.

As we began to chat, I was immersed and amazed by the selflessness of these women who volunteer their time and knowledge. They relayed to me that, with the unrelenting responsibilities of our daily lives, we’re often hindered from performing acts of self-love. 

Mullapudi, the regional in charge and one of the trainers at Heartfulness, works with her team to help guide the public into meditation to combat these pressures.

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“We’re constantly ‘doing something,’” said Brannon, a Heartfulness trainer said. “We believe we ‘don’t have time.’ Many of our guests feel the calmness they establish through meditation feels like the most productive thing about their day.” To this point, Mullapudi pointed out, “What successful person hasn’t [meditated]? Steve Jobs, Abraham Lincoln, Jim Carrey..” She went on to share a surprising example of Thomas Edison’s meditative practices and behaviors I was not formerly aware of. 

Uma Mullapudi and Libby Ballengee at the Heartfulness Lounge at the Fairfield Commons Mall.(Alex Perry)

WHAT IS HEARTFULNESS?

Since 1993, the Heartfulness organization has worked alongside individuals helping them establish peace and joy in their lives through the ancient practice of meditation. With roots in 130 countries, the Heartfulness organization has worked with nearly every type of business, organization and individual to instill a sense of calmness and peace. They are also formally associated as an NGO with the United Nations.

From churches to police departments, senators and first responders, even corporations and children, Heartfulness has worked with thousands of people instilling this life-changing technique. Best of all, they provide these services for free. Their services are financially supported only through donations. 

Heartfulness believes inner peace should always be free.  

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WHERE TO GO HERE

Two locations in Dayton host the trainers performing the soothing practices — one of which may surprise you. 

The SRCM Heartfulness Meditation Center in Beavercreek is located on Lantz Road, large enough to host up to 200 people. 

The second, unexpected location, is the Heartfulness Lounge on the ground floor of the Fairfield Mall, across from the Buckeye Room (this spot is best for individuals or small groups).  

In describing their mission, Mullapudi expressed, “We want to give the tools to the common public; [we] provide these methods in a very accessible lounge in a welcoming environment. The technique should be accessible to all.” 

UPCOMING EVENTS

Heartful Living’s five-week course launches today, March 6, and will continue through April 3. Classes are held from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at their Fairfield Commons Mall location. The objective of this course is to offer practical guided meditation sessions, suggestions and techniques to deepen your understanding about the practice of meditation and the art to live consciously in our day-to-day lives. 

The suggested donation for this course is $25 for Beavercreek residents, $30 for nonresidents. You can RSVP here or by calling 937-426-5100.

The Heartfulness Lounge at the Fairfield Commons Mall where visitors can receive free guided meditation sessions and yoga.(Alex Perry)

FREE SESSIONS

Mullapudi invites everyone to visit their facilities for a free session. In just 20 minutes, attendees will learn how to rest and release stress. Why guided meditation? Mullapudi explained inexperienced meditators often force positive thoughts, but resting the mind is key to successful meditation, and the trainers are key for establishing this skillset.  

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“There is so much negativity that we absorb during the day. Meditation is like taking a shower for your spirit.” Mullapudi said. Mullapudi began meditating in 1977 after her 8th-grade debate teacher introduced her to the practice. In her teenage years, she grew fonder of the practice, and by her mid-twenties found it to be so beneficial to her life it became a regular activity. “Just like lifting weights makes you stronger, meditating makes your mind and heart stronger and more poised.” 

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The goal of the organization is simple: give tools to the public and the methods they need to successfully meditate. Heartfulness also offers yoga sessions to the public. Through meditation, based on both personal experience and scientific evidence, the trainers within the organization promise visitors a more strengthened, centered connection to their inner self. 

Heartfulness has been recognized and praised by the Dayton Police Chief, Beavercreek Mayor and even the Ohio State Senate. Local visitors have given a five-star rating to the organization on Facebook and Google.

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This Heartfulness movement of LET’S MEDITATE is lead by the leader of the Heartfulness Institute Mr.Kamlesh Patel. Visit the Heartfulness Center online and on Facebook for information on events and happenings in Dayton.

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Venomous spiders: How to identify the pests and get them out of your home

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 7:31 AM

What You Need To Know: Brown Recluse Spiders

Most people aren't too happy when they encounter a spider, and that's especially true if the creepy-crawly you come across happens to be dangerously venomous.

>> Brown recluse spiders: 4 things to know as the dangerous pests become more active

Although it's understandable to be anxious about venomous spiders, it’s important to know the difference between a harmless spider and a dangerous one.

Here are some important tips from experts on dealing with venomous spiders and what to do if you think you’ve been bit.

Identify types of venomous spiders

Even if you think you've been bitten by a spider, most are actually harmless, according to the Mayo Clinic

Only a few types have venom strong enough to harm you and fangs (yikes!) long enough to penetrate your skin.

Venomous spiders found in the Southeast include:

  • Black widow – identified by the pattern of red coloration on the underside of its abdomen.
  • Brown widow – identified by an orange hourglass shape on a brown body
  • Brown recluse – identified by its brown color and dark violin-shaped marking on its head.

(Identifications from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and UGA Extension)

>> 10 ways to prevent tick bites on people and pets

Wear gloves when you're working outside or in the garage

If you stick your bare hand into some brush, you may be bitten by a brown or black widow. Although they usually try to avoid people, they don't have a choice if you accidentally wrap your hand around one, according to UGA Extension. Be sure to wear long sleeves and gloves when you're cleaning in the garage, clearing brush or pulling a log off a woodpile.

Look out for your clothes and shoes

Black and brown widows can also hide in clothes and shoes that have been left outside, UGA Extension advised. The best solution is to not leave these items outside (or in your garage) if you can possibly avoid it, and, if not, make sure you shake them out and check them carefully before putting them on.

Use insect repellent

The Mayo Clinic recommends using an insect repellent containing DEET on your clothes and shoes.

>> Dangerous plant that causes blindness, 3rd degree burns found in multiple states, officials say

Don't create a habitat your home

Don't store firewood against your house, since it can serve as a haven for spiders which can then find their way inside. The same is true for piles of rocks or lumber near your home.

Clean up spider webs

If you see a spider web inside your home, vacuum it up, put it in a sealed bag and dispose of it outside.

Make it harder for spiders to get inside your home

Make sure you have screens on your windows and doors that fit tightly. Seal any cracks where spiders could work their way into your home.

Recognize the signs of a bite

Many spider bites go unnoticed or cause only an itchy bump. However, if you have any of the following symptoms, you may have been bitten by a venomous spider and should seek medical attention, according to the Mayo Clinic:

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  • Pain – starting around the bite mark and possibly spreading to the abdomen, back or chest
  • Abdominal cramping – can be severe
  • Excessive sweating
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Body aches
  • Skin that becomes dark blue or purple and develops into a deep open sore
Things You Didn’t Know about Spiders

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Your guide to finding the best lawn care pros this summer

Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 4:01 PM

William Moss, Master Gardener with the National Gardening Association, discuses some tips that help make your summer lawn maintenance easy.

The “Agony and the Ecstasy” may be a literary classic, but it's also an on-point description of owning a house with a lawn. Yes, it offers a wonderful play space for the kids and a respite from the workaday world for the adults. But when the heat climbs and the brown spots start showing and the lawn guy who signed up in cooler months starts ghosting you, your lawn can turn into real burden.

»RELATED: How to keep snakes out of your yard

It doesn't have to be that way, though. If you select lawn care professionals carefully and follow up with the respect that will keep them around, a lush green lawn can be yours− even in August.

Set the standard

According to Sue Silva of Arbor-Nomics, you should think of keeping your grass green the same way you think of having a healthy smile. "Your dentist provides regular care along with advice on preventing problems and warning signs to watch for. In between visits, you floss, brush and follow recommendations for any special care. You want that same kind of relationship with your lawn service. Regular weed killer treatments and fertilization alone won't guarantee a yard you're proud of and enjoy being in. For best results, you need to work with someone who is knowledgeable in what they do and can explain what you need to do."

Avoid the over-the-phone estimator. You'll never get anywhere with a company or individual who can't be bothered to see your lawn and answer your questions before discussing money.

Ask about later. Potential hires should be able to tell you about their refund policy and how their work is guaranteed. Make sure to get it in writing.

Find someone who understands fertilizer. According to Reader's Digest landscaping experts, many bigger lawn companies recommend too much fertilizer. You can save money and possibly avoid health risks if you look for a company or independent contractor who will employ a fertilizer with time-releasing water-insoluble nitrogen and use it only twice a year on a steady schedule.

Consider several options. It's not just price that will vary depending on who does your lawn. You'll also encounter different ways of billing, bundling services and establishing a fee schedule for everything from buying seedlings to paying electronically. Home Advisor recommended speaking to at least three or four lawn care providers before settling on one.

Check their mowing standard. According to LawnStarter, one simple question will weed out low-quality lawn care providers: "How often do you sharpen your blades?" Dull blades make grass look tattered and brown on top. Ask them how many mowing hours they go through before changing or sharpening blades. The answer should be no more than 10 hours. Popular Mechanics adds that a home owner or a professional will get the greenest lawn by letting the clippings fall while mowing. It's also important never to mow unless there's rain in the short-term forecast.

Get personal. "When it comes to the techs themselves, the fewer the better – at least in terms of who treats your property," Silva noted. "You're better served by having the same dedicated technician or tech team visit after visit. That way they get to really know your yard and can stay on top of any problem areas."

Get references. The lawn care industry is tricky, according to LawnStarter, which operates franchises in the Georgia area, because the industry is decentralized. "While Yelp reviews don't provide the whole story (usually only really positive and really negative experiences are written about), it does provide a good glimpse at what you're getting into. In addition, ask your neighbors which company they use and what they think of them." If you expect immediate service and are willing to pay for the privilege, you might want to consider a company that employs an office manager or owner-manager who can respond promptly.

Look for a business license and insurance. Sure, there are high-quality contractors who don't have multiple certifications, but most homeowners want a firm with a business license and proper insurance, so you won't be liable for injuries or damages, Katherine Hutt, a spokeswoman for the Better Business Bureau, told MarketWatch.

You're part of the equation, too.

When it comes to hiring the most reliable and competent lawn care professionals - particularly the little guy businesses - you're in competition with other homeowners and renters. Think of it like trying to hold onto a really good babysitter. Sure, you're already paying for lawn care, maybe a king's ransom if you've opted for the manicured lawn approach, but if you want your lawn to be the first serviced by an independent contractor when everyone needs mowing at the same time, being nice goes a long way.

Clear the yard before the mowers arrive. Be sure to pick up toys and dog poop and all the other things that can get in the way of the highly qualified professional you hired to mow your lawn.

Put the pets up ahead of time. Instead of inadvertently wasting a lawn care pro's time (or risking having to pay for a return visit), develop a routine that involves securing all your indoor and outdoor pets out of harm's way on mowing day.

Keep the kids off the clock. It's crucial not to waste a landscaper or mower's time. "We know your kids want to help," one professional told Reader's Digest, "but they're just making our job take longer."

Offer a cold drink. A cold beverage goes a long way when the temperature starts climbing. If you're not going to be home, set out a cooler with a note.

Related

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Here’s how to identify (and get rid of) venomous spiders in your home

Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 12:38 PM
Updated: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 12:38 PM

Here are some important tips from experts on dealing with venomous spiders and what to do if you think you’ve been bit Most spiders are actually harmless and only a few types have venom strong enough to harm you A black widow can be identified by the red coloration on the underside of its abdomen A brown widow has an orange hourglass shape on its brown body Brown recluses have a dark violin-shaped mark on its head Wear long sleeves and gloves when you're cleaning in the garage, clearing brush or pulling

Most people aren't too happy when they encounter a spider, and that's especially true if the creepy-crawly you come across happens to be venomous.

»RELATED: Brown recluse spiders: 4 things to know as the dangerous pests become more active

Although it's understandable to be anxious about venomous spiders, it’s important to know the difference between a harmless spider and a dangerous one.

Here are some important tips from experts on dealing with venomous spiders and what to do if you think you’ve been bit.

Identify types of venomous spiders 

(PeteMuller/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Even if you think you've been bitten by a spider, most are actually harmless, according to the Mayo Clinic

Only a few types have venom strong enough to harm you and fangs (yikes!) long enough to penetrate your skin.

Venomous spiders found in the Southeast include:

Black widow – identified by the pattern of red coloration on the underside of its abdomen.

Brown widow – identified by an orange hourglass shape on a brown body

Brown recluse – identified by its brown color and dark violin-shaped marking on its head.

(Identifications from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and UGA Extension)

Wear gloves when you're working outside or in the garage

If you stick your bare hand into some brush, you may be bitten by a brown or black widow. Although they usually try to avoid people, they don't have a choice if you accidentally wrap your hand around one, according to UGA Extension. Be sure to wear long sleeves and gloves when you're cleaning in the garage, clearing brush or pulling a log off a woodpile.

Look out for your clothes and shoes

Black and brown widows can also hide in clothes and shoes that have been left outside, UGA Extension advised. The best solution is to not leave these items outside (or in your garage) if you can possibly avoid it, and, if not, make sure you shake them out and check them carefully before putting them on.

Use insect repellent

The Mayo Clinic recommends using an insect repellent containing DEET on your clothes and shoes.

The best spider web wound dressings are fresh and clean so their natural healing qualities are in full force. (Handout/TNS)(Tribune News Service)

Don't create a habitat your home

Don't store firewood against your house, since it can serve as a haven for spiders who can then find their way inside. The same is true for piles of rocks or lumber near your home.

Clean up spider webs

If you see a spider web inside your home, vacuum it up, put it in a sealed bag and dispose of it outside.

Make it harder for spiders to get inside your home

Make sure you have screens on your windows and doors that fit tightly. Seal any cracks where spiders could work their way into your home.

Recognize the signs of a bite

Many spider bites go unnoticed or cause only an itchy bump. However, if you have any of the following symptoms, you may have been bitten by a venomous spider and should seek medical attention, according to the Mayo Clinic:
  • Pain – starting around the bite mark and possibly spreading to the abdomen, back or chest
  • Abdominal cramping – can be severe
  • Excessive sweating
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Body aches
  • Skin that becomes dark blue or purple and develops into a deep open sore

Related

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Magazine names Dayton one of the next big paddling towns

Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 11:48 AM

If paddlesports are your thing, the Five Rivers MetroParks are full of beautiful locations to get your fix. (Video by Tabatha Wharton)

Paddlesport aficionados have hand-picked Dayton as a “(Next) Best Paddling Town,” and we want to brag about that for a second. 

>>Want to start paddling? Dayton is the perfect place for it

Canoe and Kayaking Magazine released an article hailing Dayton and the Great Miami Riverway for not only being one of only 22 National Water Trails, “spanning over 150 miles to its confluence with the Ohio River,” but for the work Dayton has done to give recreational access to the river. 

The article says the Wright Brothers unknowingly laid a foundation for Dayton to be a phenomenal outdoor recreation destination. 

>>WORTH THE DRIVE: Here’s where you can spend the afternoon tubing the Mad River on the cheap

“With their eyes set on the sky, the Wright Brothers may not have realized the ground they laid to launch Dayton into a future of recreation tourism, from on-water adventures along the Great Miami Riverway to trails across the land and the open sky above,” according to the article. 

Dayton was just named one of the (NEXT) Best Paddling Towns by Canoe & Kayak Magazine.(Canoe & Kayak)

"It's fun just to watch the kayakers do tricks and flips in the rapids," said Elizabeth Connor, the Great Miami Riverway Coordinator with the Miami Conservancy District, an organization working to protect, preserve and promote the Riverway and its communities. If you're not ready to get wet, join the ranks of spectators on the riverbank to watch the kayakers play. 

>>12 top hiking trails in Dayton and nearby

The magazine goes on to highlight the many amenities that are available on and around the river trail for paddling, kayaking and canoeing alike. They credit Dayton’s outdoor recreational success to excellent communication and marketing of the region’s opportunities— a powerful combination the author traces back to the Wright Brothers. 

“On par with their aviation history, the sky’s the limit for the Great Miami Riverway through Dayton, Ohio,” according to the article.

The RiverScape River Run officially opened downtown on the Great Miami River on Friday, May 5, 2017. CONTRIBUTED BY FIVE RIVERS METROPARKS(Kyle Nagel)

WHAT MAKES THE DAYTON AREA A PADDLING DESTINATION?

Dayton is known as the Outdoor Adventure Capitol of the Midwest due to recreational opportunities from biking to hiking to water adventures. Here is why Dayton is getting attention for paddling in particular.

>> Best places to hike in Dayton

>> The best bike trails and how to make the most of them

1. WATER TRAILS

The Great Miami River, Mad River, and Stillwater River were designated as state water trails in August, 2010 and all three water trails were designated as a national water trail in 2016. Together, they make the largest water trail system in Ohio. The trail collectively offers 265 miles of waterway accessible to recreational boaters, fishermen and wildlife watchers. A water trail is a network of publicly accessible facilities that provide opportunities to fish; launch canoes, kayaks, and other craft; and explore the natural and cultural heritage along the river.

2. PADDLING AMENITIES

The area was already home to Mad River Run at Eastwood MetroPark and the ECO Sports Corridor in Springfield and unveiled the Riverscape River Run in 2017. These are three big destinations for paddlers of all skill levels. But there are many others.

>> Where to paddle in Dayton and what to know before you go

>> Why Riverscape River Run is a HUGE deal for Dayton

>> Your guide to making the most of Riverscape River Run

3. BUILT IN SUPPORT

Parks systems and businesses continue to work on ways to facilitate paddlesport recreation in the area, including programming and equipment rentals for beginners to advanced canoe and kayak enthusiasts.

EQUIPMENT RENTALS:

• Whitewater Warehouse, 104 Valley St., Dayton; 937-222-7020; Facebook

• Great Miami Outfitters, 25 E. Linden Ave., Miamisburg; (937) 847-8787; Facebook

• Adventures on the Great Miami, 1995 E. Ross Road, Tipp City; (937) 266-6252; Facebook

• Twin Creek Kayak & Canoe Livery, 1341 W. Market St, Germantown; (937) 903-8934

• Barefoot Canoe Livery, 235 E. Tipp Pike, West Milton, call: (937) 698-4351 or text: (937) 344-2833; offers kayaking and canoeing trips; Facebook

CLASSES:

• Five Rivers MetroParks 

• Whitewater Warehouse 

• Great Miami Outfitters 

• Sierra Club – Miami Group 

• Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Watercraft

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