When doctors recommended surgery to treat Jennifer Heinstadt's painful scoliosis—a condition in which the spine forms a lateral "S" or "C" curve—she began researching alternative healing methods to avoid going under the knife. Her search led her to Elise B. Miller, a yoga guru who focused specifically on treating scoliosis. Miller taught her how to get in touch with her body through the ancient practice of yoga, helping her to arrest the spinal curve, correct postural misalignment, and diminish the pain altogether. Heinstadt was so affected by these techniques that she wanted to share her positive experiences with patrons suffering from similar afflictions, eventually following in Miller's footsteps and studying yoga for scoliosis.
Today, she and her staff lead pupils of all ages, skill levels, and body types through a wide range of therapeutic yoga styles, including shanti flow, yin yoga, and Vinyasa. Amid a tranquil ambiance, each class centers around gentle movements, and many include meditation practice to help free students' minds from the 21st century stresses of working long hours and raising families of bionic androids.
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.
Xpose Fitness transforms its students into fit, confident divas with sultry exercise classes that have been featured on TLC and CNN. Certified instructors lead 50-minute workouts for all fitness levels, pairing muscle-lengthening stretches with isometric exercises to build strong, svelte muscles throughout the body. Floor and chair sessions blend yoga and Pilates poses into a dance routine that makes sexy props out of everyday objects such as desk chairs, loveseats, and throw pillows shaped like Grover Cleveland's moustache. In pole-dancing classes, the teacher imparts basic spins with step-by-step instructions and a steady stream of encouragement. Exercise modifications are available at each workout, helping new exercisers and injured participants move safely and comfortably. Consult the class schedule for times, and visit the FAQ page for a list of items to bring along.
The volunteer-based school banks on the enthusiasm and passion of its dedicated instructors. Located in Baltimore County in Owings Mills, Maryland, the 3,000-square-foot studio features two training rooms plus changing areas for men and women. Calligraphy and paintings line the wall space of the spirited studio. Its Tai Chi program also emphasizes the Tien Shan Pai motto, "Virtue, Wisdom, Humility, Martial Arts," and is suited for students of all age and skill levels. Group classes are offered Saturday mornings and Tuesday and Thursday evenings. View a complete course schedule here. Studies have shown the unhurried exercise can help prevent or ease aging ills and may be beneficial for an exhaustive list of medical conditions including heart problems, high blood pressure, and arthritis. Call ahead to schedule your first session.
A former cheerleader for the Canadian Football League’s Baltimore Stallions, Samantha Satchell has racked up plenty of experience in both the dance and fitness worlds. The trained dancer has choreographed half-time shows for the Baltimore Blast, a Major Indoor Soccer League team, and the Baltimore Skipjacks, a minor professional ice-hockey team, as well as taught various fitness classes, such as pilates.
In fact, according to the Baltimore Sun, it was during her time teaching dance fitness at local health clubs that Samantha decided she wanted to start her own class, one that “would give her more freedom to mix things up, incorporate new moves, and have more fun.” She now helms the Maverick Dance Party class, a 60-minute class that, much like a musical about Muscle Beach, combines a healthy mix of fitness and dance.
Samantha puts her choreography skills to work once again as she creates original moves that she teaches in a party-like environment. With its low lights and pulsating beat, the dance party resembles a Saturday night out with the girls, rather than a boring fitness class, and participants both torch calories and tap into their individual sexiness while performing moves from styles such as hip-hop, Latin dance, and swing.
Co-owners Paul Davis, Catherine Chasen, and Brandon Chasen are highly qualified trainers and have a lot in common: they all played sports in college and they’re all CrossFit Level 1 instructors. Catherine and Brandon have even competed in the 2012 CrossFit Games as seen on ESPN. At their fitness studio, CrossFit Owings Mills, they and their similarly fitness-minded staff will challenge you to a slate of constantly varied, high-intensity, functional workouts that utilize everything from weights and pull-up bars to ropes, running, kettle bells, and sleds. The program pushes its followers to the limit, but also offers them an encouraging group environment and the dream of someday having a body as chiseled as the Statue of Liberty.