San Antonio's first-ever donation yoga studio strikes a pose in Tobin Hill
Alamo City's first-ever 100-percent donation yoga studio is saying "Namaste, San Antonio." Black Swan Yoga, an Austin-based company that offers high-quality, donation-based heated yoga classes, quietly opened its first San Antonio shop in early September.
The new space at 915 E. Elmira St. — just west of the trendy Pearl district — features the same industrial-cool style featured in many of BSY's other studios, as well as a stunning calavera-inspired mural by California-based artist Evee Tiger.
Since its founding in 2009, BSY has developed an almost cult-like following around Texas. Unlike other donation yoga studios, BSY built its model around creating beautiful spaces, curating classes around the needs of the community, and employing teachers that rival those at pricier places. Its success has led the company to expand to three studios within Austin's city limits, as well as outposts in Dallas and Houston.
For Jaimee Hart, bringing the BSY model to San Antonio was an opportunity to share the brand with her hometown. "San Antonio is my hometown and while I have been in Austin the past five years learning and growing with BSY as their [general manager], I wanted to move home eventually," she explains.
At the Tobin Hill studio, Hart is continuing to teach the all-level classes that made her a yogi favorite in Austin while expanding into a brand-new role: studio owner.
More than just moving back to her hometown or embarking on new career path, Hart says the city itself is ripe for this kind of practice. "San Antonio is booming with new developments, exciting businesses ... There also is nothing like it here," says Hart, who notes BSY is San Antonio's first donation-based yoga studio.
For now, the studio is offering a daily mix of Beginner, Flow, and Power classes. Flow, an all-levels vinyasa class, offers a counterpoint to Power, an advanced vinyasa practice complete with rigorous poses. And while the Beginner class is aptly named and rather self-explanatory, it's important to note that all classes are heated, so expect to sweat it out. Rates for Black Swan are donation drop-in (pay what you can, basically) or $88 per month for unlimited yoga.
Though it's only been open for a few weeks, Hart says BSY has already found a community in Alamo City. "The reaction has been amazing! Everyone who has come in has been very supportive and enthusiastic about us opening here," she says. "It always excites us when people come in having never done yoga before — which is often — because we are donation based. We are happy that we can provide them [with] this wonderful experience."