Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Free Yoga In Baltimore, Plus A Prize!

In my yoga teacher training program (and all over the Instagram, the Facebook, and the Tumblr) there has been a conversation started about to whom yoga belongs. Who gets to do it?

If you believe most advertisements (still), it's wealthy, skinny white women in Lululemon, attending retreats in exotic locales, floating effortlessly up into handstands, or contorting their lithe bodies into pretzel-y shapes.

If you read the Hatha Yoga Pradipika

"The Hatha yogi should live in a secluded hut free of stones, fire, and dampness to a distance of four cubits in a country that is properly governed, virtuous, prosperous, and peaceful." 

So in other words, according to one of the most ancient, foundational yogic texts, no one in this day and age should be able to practice yoga. Who really lives in a virtuous, properly governed country?

Well, I call bullshit. The people who should practice yoga are anyone who wants to practice yoga. Young, old, skinny, fat, white, brown, rich, or poor. Stiff or bendy. Strong or puny. Injured or healthy.

The economics of yoga is where it gets tricky, but luckily, Baltimore has a plethora of free or donation-based yoga classes offered throughout the summer. Here are just a few.

This class is held in Robert E. Lee Park off of Falls Road just north of Northern Parkway (easy access from I-83). The class is led by Dave Martin and is located across the bridge by the riverfall.

Bentalou Rec Center, Fridays, 6 p.m. and Hunting Ridge Presbyterian Church, Sundays at 4 p.m.

This free yoga class at the rec center (222 N. Bentalou St) is just one among many free fitness options offered through Healthy West Baltimore. The Friday class is a beginner class, while the Sunday class is for more experienced yogis. The calendar may change after July 2nd, so bookmark that link for current free classes.

Brick Bodies offers a free weeknight yoga class at Pier V (711 Eastern Avenue) in partnership with Waterfront Partnership, Inc. Register on their website in the link above, and check out their other free offerings (like kayaking). This class may change based on availability of instructors, so if you are set on yoga, definitely plan ahead.

Charm City yoga offers a free class every Sunday at West Shore Park in the Inner Harbor (501 Light Street). Expect a flowing class, as most Charm City Yoga classes focus on vinyasa. Also offered by Waterfront Partnership, Inc.

Taught by Adam Kantelas and held outside at Baltimore Free Farm in Hampden. Pick up some produce or tend your community garden plot at the same time!

Vinyasa (flow), Sundays, 10 a.m.

For you late(r) risers, Baltimore Free Farm also offers a 10 a.m. Sunday vinyasa class taught by Hina Ahmed. This is a pay-what-you-can class, but if times are tight bring whatever you can.

The American Visionary Art Museum on Federal Hill offers free movies on Thursdays during the summer. Come early on August 6th for free yoga with Charm City yoga. Yogis of all levels from novice to pro are welcome. Grab a quick bite in the new cafe (and your the museum for free!), then stay for a free screening of Awakenings.

East Mt. Vernon Place Square, Saturdays, 8:30 a.m.

A free weekly, yoga class in the shadow of the monument.

While not entirely free, many Baltimore yoga studios offer community classes for $5 (Yoga on York) or $6 (Baltimore Yoga Village) or new student specials like 30 days of yoga for $30 (Yoga on York, Charm City Yoga, Baltimore Yoga Village).

Yoga is truly a practice for every body. 

But wait, you say. I don't have a mat, and these free classes require that I bring my own.

Well, friends, you are in luck. Welcome to our first inaugural giveaway. 

I love giving stuff to people. It makes me happy. I also love helping people win stuff. So a giveaway is perfect. 

So I am giving away a yoga mat.

Not just any yoga mat. This one. With a strap, delivered to your home. You win, you get a mat, you do yoga for free, everything is awesome. 

You can earn one entry for each of the following:

1. Subscribe to this lovely blog by adding your email address in the little box. When I write something, you'll get an email. If I don't, you will get no email. Simple.

2. Share this blog, and post the link in the comments. Share on Twitter, Facebook, wherever.

3. Leave me a comment and tell me about your yoga practice. Do you have one? Do you want one? 

If you do all three, you get three entries. Three chances to win. Winner will be chosen randomly, and this contest will close at midnight, EST on July 4th.  Winners do not have to live in Baltimore, but the giveaway is restricted to the U.S.

Thanks for coming along, and good luck!


  1. I will attend your class when I come see you! 2 months!

    1. Can't wait! We'll get you into a good one!

  2. The reason I love my yoga studio is the variety of people: young, old, all colors, skinny, fat, all abilities. All treated equally with respect and love. Great idea BTW.

  3. I don't have one. I could use a very basic one as I would like to work on my core and my flexibility.

    1. This is a good one! 100% recycled, no PVC. Basic, but good for you and the environment!

  4. just fyi, I tried to go to the Baltimore Free Farm yoga 7/19 and a woman said they thought it was discontinued over a month ago ...

    1. That's not good news! They had it listed on their site when I wrote this.

      I have heard some talk about Free Sunday yoga starting soon in Patterson Park, so keep your eyes open for that!