Black Swan Yoga expands to offer other fitness classes

Kate Dannenmaier

Black Swan Yoga’s donation-based model and community atmosphere have made it a favorite for UT students looking to relax. But the laid-back studio has just been acquired by Onnit, a local fitness company focused on exercise it calls “maximum human optimization,” which combines Black Swan’s yoga classes with other fitness routines.  

Yoga instructor Jaimee Hart said not much is going to change at Black Swan. Its classes will still be donation-based and customers will now also have the option of buying a membership. The studio is going to add a few Onnit fitness classes to its schedule of yoga sessions, and it will soon start selling Onnit dietary supplements and apparel.

“We want to start incorporating and using Onnit
fitness equipment, the stuff that they’re really famous for: their steel maces and their kettle bells and their big wall ball things,” Hart said. “We also have a couple of Onnit- certified trainers teaching our FIT classes, so, if anything, they’re a little more professional than what we had.”

Black Swan FIT classes offer a bootcamp-style workout followed by 15 minutes of yoga. J.J. Pepper, a trainer for these FIT classes, said they’ve already begun to add Onnit equipment to the curriculum. “They are a legitimate fitness company that cares about their products as much as their people, which is rare and refreshing and just plain genuine,” Pepper said.

Advertising sophomore Julia Waicberg said the last class she went to at Black Swan felt more like an ab workout than
a yoga session. 

“While it wasn’t a relaxing practice, I felt incredible afterwards,” Waicberg said. “Yoga can be a calming exercise, but it also can be a practice that tests your limits and shows you what you’re capable of.”

Former Black Swan instructor Megan Ridgeway said Black Swan’s recent emphasis on fitness is probably good for everyone in
the long run.

“I think it can be a beneficial partnership if it’s utilized in the right way,” Ridgeway said. “But I also think that it takes the Black Swan brand in an extremely different direction than it’s ever been. We’ll see if the more historical Black Swan community can support it.”

Hart said the goal of the acquisition isn’t to change Black Swan’s yoga practices. It will just start appropriating new methods to reach a
wider audience. 

“We’ll always be Black Swan Yoga,” Hart said.