Baltimore may not be the travel destination hot spot for most of the world, but I had come to enjoy my yearly Trade Show visits to this disparate city that represents extremes of a socioeconomic nature within the space of 4 city blocks. For me the 12 hour drive is well worth the chance to spend time at Charm City Yoga -Midtown
I found their flyer while eating a gargantuan piece of Chocolate Vegan Cake at Liquid Earth, and I liked the playful depiction of Ganesh, plus I was intrigued by the “Hot Yoga” class (previously my experience with heat and yoga only involved a local Bikram Studio and that was not my path).
The studio has white washed brick walls, small ornamental windows, durable carpet and a overhead heat lamp system – but its best feature is the feeling you get when you open the building’s front door.
My first experience here was when my husband dropped me off after our long ride to Baltimore because he felt I needed to stretch – that’s a nice way of putting his thoughts. I wasn’t sure where we were going, but I did see a few lithe looking women with yoga mats strapped to their backs coming out of an alleyway. I asked if Charm City Yoga was nearby and got the reply “Go in the door with the painting of the elephant on it”. What a great reply for so many reasons to me – very Alice in Wonderland for starters then there is the underlying truth that yoga has been co-opted by mainstream westerners who have no idea of its roots or who the “elephant” truly is. Perhaps they thought I didn’t know.
I walked up a flight of old hardwood stairs and right into the waiting area to a sign of “cash only” and luckily I had some. Cubbies in the front for shoes and belongings, two adjacent studio spaces, and an ample bathroom with showers where what I could make out. The feel inside the studio space was like coming home. For the first time I was not self conscious coming to a new class, a new studio or an unknown teacher. I didn’t speak to a single person but the vibe was somehow far different from the one I get at local area studios, especially snooty local hot studios where pretension seems to be more important than letting go of tension. There wasn’t a competitive feel, or insider/outsider “clique” feel, it just felt like a safe place to explore another facet of my practice.
The room gets to about 90 degrees, class is taught based on the teacher’s agenda, not set postures (though I believe there are some foundation type asanas in their teacher training because year after year there are only slight variations to the class I take when I am in town).
This September, since we no longer own a comic book shop, and the Trade Show has been moved to Vegas, I have missed my trip to Baltimore. Even my seven year old son started wondering when we were going to pack up the car and go – maybe next year.