I Tried It: Kid Yoga
Kids can enjoy a mindful moment at If I Was a Bird Yoga in Del Mar. Parents optional!
Photo by Jay Reilly
Donation-based practices on the beach, mommy-and-me yoga in the park with my newborn, hot yoga, hatha, vinyasa, restorative, studios with live music—I’m no stranger to yoga. If there’s a unique way to practice, I’m game. So I was curious to try a new style designed for children at If I Was a Bird Yoga, alongside my 4- and 6-year-olds. We are a high-energy family, so slowing down to be mindful was a good challenge. My daughter is a giggly free spirit, while my son is active and curious. He was also mad at me for making him try yoga.
When we arrive at the studio’s newest location in Del Mar for the 90-minute class, we find a clean, colorful, and inviting space. Yoga takes place in the back area, while the front is designed for art and snack time. After a short art project, we move on to yoga. Mats are arranged in a circle, and we start in child’s pose (how appropriate!). I decide to join the kids even though parental involvement is optional for this class. (The studio also offers mommy-and-me classes during the week.)
Using a ball that expands as you stretch it open, the kids are invited to say something they’re thankful for, take a deep breath, exhale, and then pass the ball. Getting into cat-cow poses, the kids make the respective animal noises. Then we blow leaves into the center of the circle to work on breath, and use feathers to tickle our toes. We line up against the wall and kick up our feet to create a tunnel that each child crawls through. As we get to the end of class, the lights dim, and we rest in savasana.
Owner Tiffany Gullberg comes around and puts a lavender cloth on our foreheads, offers foot squeezes, and places a blanket on each person (if the kids want). In this moment, my son rolls to his side, puts half of his blanket on me, and says, “This is really cool.”
To close out class, we move into a seated position, and the kids share how they feel: “Happy, peaceful, calm.” Then they eat a healthy snack of raisins and popcorn back at the tables. Upon leaving, both of my kids ask to go back. Kids are happy, mom is relaxed—that’s my kind of namaste.