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.
To symbolize the raw energy and intensity of their training program, Donna Pierce and Lauren Bunney named their gym?named "Baltimore's Best" by Baltimore magazine in 2010?after Costa Rica?s active Arenal Volcano, which relentlessly spews hot smoke and molten lava. Lauren and Donna use more than 37 years of combined professional fitness experience guiding clients through workouts of the day since 2007 opening suburban Baltimore's first CrossFit affiliate and then establishing Arenal Fitness in 2010. The fitness team turns up the heat of their fitness routines with the CrossFit regimen, which transforms bodies through simple, rigorous, no-frills workouts. Exercisers won?t find circuit training strength machines at both of Arenal?s 5,000-square-foot facilities. Instead, they use free weights, medicines balls, and kettlebells to sculpt the physique you have always wanted. All students start out learning the proper form of CrossFit's functional movements before taking on the exhilarating workout of the day. Sessions can be scaled to meet the fitness level of each participant, but always keep muscles guessing with varying reps, weight levels, and surprise trust falls.
Designed by founder and renaissance woman Lynne Brick and her accomplished husband, Victor, Brick Bodies and Lynne Brick's health clubs share a fitness cornucopia of group classes, personal-training sessions, and women’s health tips. They stock their workout facilities with premium cardio and strength-training equipment, as well as offer amenities that may include pools, childcare services, and volcano-free saunas. Each of the seven locations sports its own personality, including the Owings Mills and Belvedere facilities, which operate as all-female communities.
The Brick's also employ a team of certified instructors, who lead more than 30 types of group fitness classes, allowing students of all skill levels access to sessions that range from low-impact workouts, such as BodyVive, to more intense courses, such as the kickboxing-inspired BodyCombat classes.
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.
With chiropractic doctorates that crown undergraduate educations in human biology, Doctors of Chiropractic Jarrod Lippy and Joshua Levin bring wisdom and experience to their practice and to their philosophy, which integrates the health of both mind and body and centers around preventative care. The duo perform their back-mending services with the latest in high-tech equipment, including computerized spinal analyses, electrical muscle stimulation, and hydromassage, during which patients lie fully clothed inside a water-massage bed or beneath white-water rapids as pressurized jets assuage tension. The doctors focus on each patient individually, employing their extensive experience in personal and work injuries, lower-back pain, and arthritis to properly diagnose maladies, perform adjustments, and refer patients to additional specialists if necessary.
While studying flute performance and classical dance at the University of Wyoming, Michelle Shaw's endeavors were hampered by constant back pain. She sought relief through massage therapy and yoga, and this holistic care soon developed into a passion, inspiring her to attend the Baltimore School of Massage. She now helps others revel in muscle relief at Mount Vernon Wellness. Within a private treatment room overseen by a serene painting of Buddha, she eases sports- and work-related injuries, which are often caused by repetitive motion, poor posture, and pole-vaulting over cubicles. To treat these ailments, she draws on an array of modalities such as Swedish, deep-tissue, and reflexology massage. She also employs traditional Thai-massage techniques, which incorporate pressure-point therapy, energy work, and yoga-like stretching to regain bodily balance.