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.
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.
Every Saturday, local knitters congregate on plush couches within Lovelyarns’ sunlit shop and secluded back patio, chatting as they spin skeins of exotic and locally made wool. This weekly open house is one facet of Lovelyarns’ efforts to foster a community of crafters, which has earned the shop a slew of awards and recognition from sources such as the Baltimore Sun and Style Magazine. In addition to offering classes, instructors welcome knitters to drop by any time for help unraveling a tricky scarf or hopelessly tangled kitten. They also recruit knitters to join in volunteer knitting and crocheting projects that benefit local charities and global causes.
Morton Street Dance Center trains students from age 3 to adult in a barre-lined studio whose sprung floors absorb the shock of leap landings. The center’s creative movement classes develop motor skills in preschool-aged kids, then branch into diverse styles such as tap, jazz and Afro-fusion as dancers mature. To keep young minds fresh during the summer months, dance intensives take an in-depth approach to a single style, honing trained steps and graceful moves more effectively than an ostrich-riding lesson. As they improve, dancers aged 8–18 can audition for the studio’s ensembles, which showcase their unison moves at venues such as the citywide Artscape Festival and the Hippodrome Theater. Adult classes impart Afro-fusion and modern-dance techniques to movers of every level, allowing dancers to follow their passion through every stage of their lives.
After navigating through the plethora of weightlifting and cardio equipment, guests at 40,000-square-foot Meadow Mill Athletic Club stand before a glass wall protecting them from the ricocheting squash balls speeding back and forth on 16 courts. Meadow Mill’s team of squash instructors leads personal sessions and group clinics on the indoor racket sport for youths and adults, and more seasoned players compete in tournaments often held at the facility.
Just beyond the workout floor and racket courts lie separate fitness studios, in which guests tone their bodies in yoga, Pilates, and 17 spin classes per week, led by certified trainers, who also tailor fitness programs to meet clients' needs in one-on-one sessions. Youth and toddler programs introduce kids as young as 18 months old to fitness with playful movements in Mini Movers, basic skills in Ballet, and fitness-focused games in Toddlercise, such as Pin the Javelin on the Donkey. Furthering demonstrating a dedication to health and wellness, an onsite therapist treats overworked muscles with acupuncture, stretch, and massage treatments.
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.