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 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.
Arthur Murray has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and The Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, The Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Clients who arrive to lessons partnerless will be paired up with other classmates as the instructors assess their current skill level and make recommendations on the most appropriate program. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
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.
The trainers at Canton Club work as a team to motivate and guide clients through their fitness programs. Panoramic views of Baltimore's Inner Harbor probably don't hurt, either. In this positive atmosphere, exercise regimens combine holistic and functional-fitness training methods, all of which are constantly updated to keep participants' health evolving and their muscles from slowly turning into stone. Small group and team-training programs alike include ample individual attention for every member. Between scheduled meetings with advisers, these custom programs plunge clients into Turbo Kick, Zumba, TRX suspension training, suspension-based aerial yoga, and other group classes. Some programs also offer workouts designed in-house, like XPF, which includes high-intensity interval training and kettlebells.
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.