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Baltimore Goods

Best Yoga Instructor

Sarah Ittmann, Bikram Yoga Hampden

911 W. 36th St., (410) 243-2040,

In some ways, teachers of Bikram yoga, a strictly regimented modern form practiced in a room heated to 105 degrees, differ less from one another than do the teachers of other types of yoga. All have been indoctrinated by multi-millionaire and professional megalomaniac Bikram Choudhury, and all have a habit of repeating the same phrases, even those that make little sense. (They invariably tell you to fold your body so from the side “you look like a Japanese ham sandwich,” a singularly unhelpful metaphor.) But a teacher’s attitude makes all the difference when you’re hyperventilating, sweat is pouring into your eyes, and the room is spinning. And Sarah Ittmann, the ?ber-friendly owner of Bikram Hampden, is unfailingly cheerful and encouraging. She learns your name and notices you in class, telling you to drop your shoulders here, lock your knees there. You get the feeling she knows exactly which discouraging thought has popped into your head and precisely what to say to dispel it. The feeling of well-being that follows a class with Sarah is only partly due to the endorphins.

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