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.
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.
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.
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.
While all of us spend each day moving, it takes an analytical awareness of self to become a movement expert like Jayne Bernasconi. The owner of Yoga on York leads a double live as dance faculty member at Towson University and an Aerial Dancer. She combined the aerial silks of her dance career with the asana of yoga, debuting her newly invented aerial yoga at the Aerial Dance Festival in Colorado in 2002. Her original creation represents but one of nine types of yoga taught at her studio, and stands alongside classic sequences, yoga and Pilates fusion classes, and yoga for kids.
The body sculptors at Universal Fitness put their yoga and personal-training experience to work, leading fitness fans through 60-minute stretching, strengthening, and heart-pumping group workouts. Exercisers can follow choreographed moves in the high-energy Drums Alive class instead, or demolish around 400–800 calories with one session of Kombat Kickboxing. Diva Bootcamp swivels hips and twists torsos into a triad of physical fitness with ticker-charging belly dance, muscle-toning strength training, and traditional yoga stretching for increased flexibility. Yoga Blast, with rigorous, breath-focused moves modeled after the Vinyasa style, stretches limbs to a nimbleness that cooked spaghetti would admire. For a gentler stretch, Sivananda yoga combines 12 sun salutations with meditation and chanting, and Rush Hour Yoga bends bodies out of road-rage gestures and into traditional hatha stances to encourage relaxation and balance.