At the age of 14, Baltimore Yoga Village founder Anjali Sunita traveled to India, where she discovered the joys of simple living mixed with the sorrows of yearning for a greater purpose. After years of expanding her education and worldview through reading and the guidance of a college mentor, Anjali found peace within the rigid discipline and spiritual focus of a South Indian ashram. Soon setting her mind to sharing the physical and mental benefits of yoga with others, she taught in private homes and underserved schools before opening her own pair of studios known collectively as Baltimore Yoga Village.
There, a team of certified yoga instructors oversees a supportive community dedicated to peace, health, and spiritual growth. Whereas many studios’ teachers spend too much time teaching students to knit their own mats, Baltimore Yoga Village’s programs focus on the ancient practice of Hatha yoga, which includes deep breathing techniques, yoga postures with attention to physical alignment, and guided relaxation. The staff also leads regular workshops in a variety of topics, from Thai-yoga bodywork to meditation through devotional songs.
The team at Charm City Yoga helps clients get fit, live well, and connect with the community through three simple steps; practice, thrive, and transform. Practice is attained at each of Charm City Yoga's 7 locations; where they offer a diverse selection of classes including their signature, Hot Yoga. Staffers help clients through regular practice to transform and deepen their knowledge of yoga, while also helping build muscle, improving flexibility, and quieting the mind.
After earning her Bikram yoga instructor certification from the practice's founder in 1999, Bikram Choudhury, studio director Sarah Ittmann traveled the world teaching the 26-posture practice throughout the United States, Canada, England, and Ireland. Now settled in Baltimore, Sarah, her husband Henri, and their team of certified Bikram teachers host daily classes in a 2,000-square-foot space. The studio also features ample free parking in the rear of the building.
Since the hot temperatures?which hover around the 100-degree mark?incite healthy sweating and detoxification, staffers regularly steam-wash the antimicrobial, nonslip floor to keep the studio as clean as Mr. Bubble's standup routine. They also provide men's and women's locker rooms equipped with showers, toiletries, and hair-dryers.
If instead of attending galas, Mr. Rochester and Jane Eyre joined a yoga class, the venue would probably look a lot like MV Fitness. Inside a Mount Vernon mansion, stationary cycles face floor-to-ceiling windows beneath a vintage chandelier that is warmly reflected in an ornately framed mirror hung above the fireplace. Enormous wooden french doors open onto rooms full of weight machines and cardio equipment, potted plants filling lungs with fresh oxygen as members get into shape. In between punching bags and wall-mounted weightlifting machines, pop art and stained-glass windows add to the antique space's genuine allure. As Baltimore magazine wrote in its Top Gyms of 2012 column, besides the personal trainers and drop-in group fitness classes, “you’d be hard-pressed to find a prettier gym out there.”
Ali True has been an All-American lacrosse goalie, trained Dolph Lundgren, earned a degree in kinesiology, and received Baltimore magazine’s 2009 Best Personal Trainer award. No amount of accolades, however, can replace her passion for educating and training others to lead healthy, fitness-friendly lives. To this end, she left behind her days of celebrity-sculpting to open True Balance Studio, a facility that welcomes students of all levels of health and fame.
Neat rows of black kettlebells sit in front of mirrored walls until one-hour classes fill the gym with grunts of effort and the whistles of kettlebells about to boil over. Standard strength machines sit beside flexibility-boosting climbing frames or gymnastics-style rings suspended from the ceiling. Oscillating between the classrooms and the gym floor, Ali and her trainers coach their clients on cardio equipment, offer nutritional advice, or coax one last rep from straining muscles.
Gary Ostroski was bored. He was tired of workout routines that followed the same pattern of arms one day, back the next, and so on. He wanted a challenge, and he found it in CrossFit. His first CrossFit workout left him drained, but it also left him with a new passion. He founded 410 CrossFit to help people like himself push themselves to new levels of fitness through CrossFit's ever-changing workouts. Each class showcases new challenges designed to balance muscle development and weight loss so clients don't develop bulky silhouettes or float away on strong breezes.