Last Yoga Studio Before the Border
IB Yoga is a new venture for B-Side Players’ Victor Tapia
Victor Tapia, a renowned percussionist best known as one of the founding members of Chula Vista’s own B-Side Players, is stretching himself in a new way: as a yogi and business owner.
He and his girlfriend of two years, Jaimy Wilkinson, have opened IB Yoga in Imperial Beach. The 1,400-square-foot mirror-less studio—in a humble building previously used as a set for both the HBO series John from Cincinnati and the movie Lords of Dogtown—is the most southwestern yoga studio in the United States. It’s also the only yoga studio in Imperial Beach.
Tapia and Wilkinson met at the Chula Vista Yoga Center, where they both studied and taught yoga. Both South Bay natives, the couple spotted the vacant property on their way to go surfing. The Seacoast Drive location was begging for a yoga studio.
“We would only do it in IB,” says Tapia, explaining that this stretch of Imperial Beach is in the midst of commercial revitalization. “IB used to be a little bit rough back in the day. It wasn’t the beach you took your kids to.”
The style of yoga at IB Yoga is called vinyasa, loosely defined as “breath with movement.”
“We want to bring a vibe and an essence to people. There’s no way we’re going to be able to encompass all of what yoga can offer. What we offer is a safe place for you to come and get to know yourself, get to know your body from the inside out,” Tapia says.
“We’re very non-dogmatic. It’s yoga for everyday people.”
His clientèle includes musicians and mixed-martial artists, seniors and surfers. He even teaches a restorative yoga class for people feeling “a bit out of whack,” something he can relate to as a long-time traveling musician.
“I spent a lot of time riding in a van. That’s not good for you.”
The music emanating from the yoga studio isn’t your typical nature soundtrack, either. Tapia prefers to play reggae, funk, and of course, the upbeat world music of the B-Side Players.
“I don’t know if there’s yoga police that come around and say, ‘Hey, you’re doing it wrong,’ but that’s how we found our groove and people like it. They keep coming back,” says Tapia.
He takes both his yoga and his music seriously. Both have a way of “opening things up” for their practitioners on physical, emotional, and spiritual levels.
“With the yoga and the music, it just went hand-in-hand. My music is also my yoga. And now my yoga is also my music,” he says. “My body is my instrument. I can express myself in such a way and grow.”
The B-Side Players have been around since meeting in an African drumming class at Southwestern Community College in 1994, and are a San Diego Music Awards favorite. Tapia is less active in the band right now because he’s made a commitment to grow IB Yoga and spend time with his children, ages nine and 12.
He grew up as a “border kid,” frequently venturing back and forth between Chula Vista and Mexico, has traveled worldwide, and lived all over San Diego. Now, at age 38, he’s ready to settle down.
“Before, it didn’t really matter where I lived,” he says, “because I was always on tour. Now I’m in a different space. It’s cool to get back down south. I’m staying put for now.”