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. 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.
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. Calibrated for both beginners and advanced students, workouts boost circulation, which can help ease chronic pain and oust pent-up toxins. Each studio is now equipped with anti-microbial flooring and the Cockeysville women's locker rooms boast recent renovations. In addition to hosting classes, each studio rents mats and sells energy boosters such as vitamin-fortified water and Emergen-C supplements.
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.
The team at Charm City Yoga helps clients get fit, live well, and connect with the community through three simple steps; practice, thrive, and transform. Practice is attained at each of Charm City Yoga's 7 locations; where they offer a diverse selection of classes including their signature, Hot Yoga. Staffers help clients through regular practice to transform and deepen their knowledge of yoga, while also helping build muscle, improving flexibility, and quieting the mind.
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, which 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.