For Bikram Yoga Baltimore's Emily and Eddie Garner, yoga isn't just exercise. It's a dance that purifies the body and silent song that stirs the soul. Drawing upon intensive study with Bikram yoga's founder and Emily's years of ballet training, the couple fills 90-minute classes with 26 graceful poses that stretch and strengthen the entire body. Heated rooms in Cockeysville and Harbor East loosen students' muscles, making them as pliable as a gymnast made entirely of pipe cleaners. Calibrated for both beginners and advanced students, the workout boosts circulation, which can help ease chronic pain and oust pent-up toxins. In addition to hosting classes, each studio rents mats and sells energy boosters such as vitamin-fortified water and Emergen-C supplements.
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.
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.
Inside a practice space heated between 80 and 90 degrees, yogis Michele and Sean guide students of all ages and experience levels through the reinvigorating poses of Vinyasa power yoga. During up to two classes per day, the instructors help pupils master the style's breathing techniques and synchronized postures, which transition seamlessly into one another, much like a month of video-game playing leads to a Cheetos addiction. The heated room coaxes muscles into sinking into deeper stretches for increased flexibility and detoxifies bodies via sweat. A stock of free rental mats cushions guests throughout the session, and a free introductory course for new students allows novices to sample the Vinyasa style every Thursday night.
Ojas customizes its Body in Bliss massage session to the needs of each individual client in order to drain the body's tree trunk of its stress sap. The massage technician will start by speaking with you about your aches, pains, and anxiety dreams and will then use that knowledge to set his or her hand phasers to "relax." From there, simply lie still and bliss out as your tensions are massaged, stroked, kneaded, and occasionally garotted away. Body in Bliss incorporates a serenity-enhancing blend of essential oils that massage the nose as much as the body and uses warm stones to stimulate circulation and draw deep-set tension out of the body's muscles, joints, and field of glandmines. You'll leave Ojas's premises with your muscular fibers singing as harmoniously as a barbershop quartet, instead of screeching like the lead singer in a Norwegian death-metal barbershop quartet.
Scroll through the course descriptions to see options available to prospective Charm City stretchers. First-time students will find an especially welcoming atmosphere at Charm City. In Beginner Yoga classes, a slow pace and careful verbal instructions impart the basics of breath awareness, mental concentration, and dodgeball mastery. Charm City’s signature style will have you sweating peacefully and freely: its signature Hot Vinyasa courses take place in 90-degree rooms, designed to loosen up your ropey parts enough to make the stretches deeper, more effective, and much more impressive to any inflexible invisible friends you may have. Other styles taught at Charm City include Ashtanga, which emphasizes dynamic postures, Prenatal Yoga for those stretching for two, the party-atmosphere Rock ‘N’ Roll Yoga, and more. Charm City’s founder, Kim Manfredi, brings 22 years of experience to the mat. Her expertise has been recognized by some of Baltimore’s most athletic citizens—Manifredi has instructed the NFL Ravens since 2004.
With 24-hour access, aerobic and mixed-martial-arts group classes, and well-appointed facilities, Club One Fitness aims to be the ideal backdrop for any workout routine. The schedule of group exercise classes includes yoga, Pilates, and Zumba. Boxers spar with other members or against the gym's stash of weighted bags during boxing classes for adults and tykes, who learn the pugilistic art in an Olympic-sized ring that, according to the Washington Post, "bears no resemblance to the worn, dingy boxing gyms of Hollywood movies, even though some Gold and Silver Gloves fighters, and a few pros, have trained there."
The staff of personal trainers and athletes show new members the ropes with three complimentary orientation sessions sessions; during the first, staffers talk to new members about their workout history and goals, and show them how to use Life Fitness treadmills, LifeCycle exercise bikes, elliptical cross-trainers, and stair climbers. On the second visit, they explain how to use Hammer Strength and Life Fitness strength-training and toning equipment. On the third and final visit, staffers give members their own personalized workout program, calibrated to help them reach their goals. From there, members can forge their own fitness paths or buddy up with a personal trainer.
Staffed by trained personnel, the bright and roomy childcare center keeps young ones engaged with toys, a big-screen TV, and a PlayStation. After adults catch their own entertainment in the cardio theater that projects movies as guests decimate calories, they can relax in the sauna, hop into the tanning beds, or shower off sweat and punching-bag tears.
After another back-bleeding day at the leech farm, your body will be ready for a relaxing tune-up. Today's Groupon to Awaken Wellness gets you a customized 90-minute massage for $55, a $110 value. Retreat to the serene studio for an appointment Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. or Friday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cozy lounge is outfitted with oversized armchairs, and peaceful therapy rooms will keep you feeling calm with warm lighting and natural colors.