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Youth-focused yoga studio soars in Hillcrest

Posted: April 10th, 2015 | Feature, Featured, Health & Fitness, Lifestyle | No Comments

By Lucia Viti

If I Was A Bird Yoga Studio teaches the art of yoga to kids, tweens, teens and their families. Signature classes, designed by owner and founder Tiffany Gullberg, combine yoga postures with themed, educational artistic crafts that highlight global cultures and landscapes. Children embark on worldwide excursions filled with playful, yet challenging, yoga sequences; creative and musical props; and arts & crafts, which include painting, sand art, texture art, hand painting and sculptures.

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Tiffany Gullberg of If I Was A Bird Yoga (Courtesy of Tiffany Gullberg)

Classes underscore postures by tying them into the class theme of a national bird from foreign cities and countries, or exotic animals and their environments.

“Classes, designed with love and precision, support a child’s development through the eyes of yoga,” Gullberg said. “Through sequences of Vinyasa and Hatha yoga postures, children practice yoga as play, song and dance to embrace an imaginary journey that stimulates the mind, body and sensory elements. Classes blend art, exercise and nutrition with crafts and healthy snacks for a truly holistic experience.”

Gullberg, herself a mother of two, is a seasoned CorePower Yoga instructor. But after teaching a yoga class to preschoolers, the entrepreneur instantly realized her calling. Gullberg opened her first kids yoga studio in Point Loma followed a year later with If I Was A Bird Yoga in Hillcrest. The studio is named after her daughter’s favorite song, “If I Was A Bird Today,” noting that most yoga postures are named after birds and elements of nature.

According to Gullberg, this upbeat environment infuses educational elements with yoga, creative movement and music to “encourage children of all ages to move, play, laugh, and learn how to build a foundation for a lifetime of joy and good health.”

Classes accommodate family members or serve as an independent yoga practice for each child. Students are allowed to use yoga straps, blocks and the facility’s yoga wall. The Cardio Strength Flow class even couples small hand weights with cardiovascular movements.

“Props provide support which is essential for growing bodies,” Gullberg said. “Yoga is extremely beneficial for active, athletic tweens because it relaxes the muscles already tight from sports. And our highly trained and qualified teachers provide hands-on adjustments to support instruction and safety.”

Gullberg noted that many physicians now recommend yoga for children to relieve stress and anxiety.

“While yoga nurtures growing muscles, stimulates brain function, and fine-tunes motor coordination, it also encourages self-confidence, mindfulness, kindness and compassion,” she said. “And kids who practice yoga sleep better.”

Gullberg added that “If I Was A Bird Yoga has an open heart for little ones who like to wander off and explore. With consistency, even 2-year-olds can learn to focus on their mats and follow class.”

Additional specialty classes include Baby & Me, toddler, family, teen & tween, prenatal, and yoga for students with special needs. Events include teacher trainings, birthday parties and yoga workshops. Outside events take place in schools and community venues. Children under 3 must be accompanied by adults. If I Was A Bird Yoga also stages an annual themed play. Kids are requested to bring a yoga mat and a water bottle to class.

“Our mission is simple,” concluded Gullberg. “If I Was A Bird Yoga Studio offers children the opportunity to build a solid, peaceful foundation for happy and healthy lives. Yoga helps children grow strong, healthy bodies and essential lifestyle coping mechanisms. With regular practice, children can cultivate a sense of calm, joy, and creativity while creating friendships in a safe, loving, and stress-free environment.”

If I Was A Bird Yoga is located in the Hillcrest Uptown District Shopping Center. Classes coincide with CorePower Yoga’s schedule to offer parents the option of coordinating a parent/kid yoga schedule. Two-hour parking is available underground and throughout the shopping center. For more information, visit ifiwasabirdyoga.com.

—Contact Lucia Viti at luciaviti@roadrunner.com.

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