Written by Patsy Montoya, Black Swan Yoga General Manager
Hello and Namaste!
It is with great pleasure and enthusiasm that I write this letter to some of my favorite people in the entire world. It comes with sincerity and gratitude for the opportunity and honor to connect with you.
I’d like to begin by sincerely thanking you for your support of Black Swan Yoga and being a part of our incredible community. BSY relies on the donations of the people we serve to survive, and it’s because of you that our community has been able to survive, grow, and thrive over the years. We literally do this from the generosity of people’s hearts and from the bottom of mine, THANK YOU. It is because of you that we are able to keep our doors open, lights on, and teachers paid during this time.
Next, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Patsy Montoya. I have been a yoga teacher for fifteen years, and on the BSY team for the past six. Like many of you, it was the sense of community and inclusivity that attracted me to Black Swan Yoga. Well, that and the amazing murals and fun lighting in the studio space. But seriously, I love that it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, or how much money is in your pocket – we want you to do yoga.
Yoga helps us heal and helps us to feel better about ourselves and the world as it connects us to others. Because of this we do not believe finances should get in the way of that magic.
My journey with yoga began when I was 13, thanks to my aunt who teaches yoga to people with MS in Los Angeles. Yoga has saved my life in many ways. It constantly reminds me of who I am, and how to pray with my feet.
After I graduated from Texas State University in 2010, I decided to travel India for a summer where I lived in an Ashram and studied traditional and very disciplined styles of yoga. I moved to Austin in 2011 with my boyfriend (now husband) and fell in love with him and this city. I knew I wanted to teach at BSY even before we moved from our small town of Tyler, TX. Before leaving one of my students told me “you HAVE TO check out Black Swan because you will fit in perfectly.”
The thing about BSY is that EVERYONE will fit in because we don’t have any expectation of who you should be. We don’t have a dress code, or a standard of how to act as a yogi. BSY is a melting pot: come as you are and know you are welcome exactly as yourself.
I have taught at many lovely yoga studios around town and have the pleasure of knowing most of the owners, managers, or teachers. I love our Austin yoga community. I knew I wanted to teach at Black Swan Yoga when I met teachers and could tell that they were happy and proud to be part of the studio and community. That’s the most important aspect about BSY: our teachers are our heartbeat and soul.
In 2016 I had the honor of joining our Teacher Training team and decided it was time for myself to have more education under my belt. I spent the following three years traveling back and forth between ATX and NYC to obtain another 300 hour certification from Laughing Lotus in Manhattan. All together, I have over a thousand hours of education, and I will continue to grow that number as I am a firm believer in being a student first.
I have been part of our management team for the past 2½ years and in June was asked to be the General Manager.
This is the greatest honor of my life.
To our students: I promise to always offer donation-based, inclusive, and friendly yoga from exceptional yoga teachers. The caliber of teachers that our team has is unmatched. Our teachers are kind, knowledgeable, respectful, and always wanting to grow and learn. They are my friends, my teachers, my colleagues, and they have my utmost respect. I promise you a safe experience to heal, to connect, and to grow. I offer you community to meet your new best friends, to have people in your life that will inspire and support you, and to have somewhere you can call hOMe.
To our teachers: I promise to serve you. I offer space to always listen and to support you. I promise to respect you and to give you fair opportunities for growth and development. I have your back and I will always give you the benefit of the doubt. I offer my trust to you. I trust that you will serve our community of students to the best of your ability, and that you uplift the spirit of BSY with your own authenticity and freedom to share the practice. I promise to offer a space that you can teach from your heart, and teach in your own way. A space where you have freedom to be exactly who you are, where you are.
Now is the time to come together. As the Austin community, we need yoga and each other more than ever before. We need our friends, our students, our teachers together. We crave that magic to heal and the energy of the community to help us get through this difficult time. We can do so safely.
Opening the doors to any business is a tricky situation in the middle of a pandemic. However, it’s not impossible, and it can be done in a safe way. Which is exactly what we did. When we were deciding how to open the doors again, we went above and beyond what the city and state were asking us to do. And as long as we can practice yoga safely and responsibly together, then we will keep our doors open.
People are not supposed to be separated from one another, and we need human connection to survive. The mental health of our community is one of my main concerns right now and BSY is a tool to help us all heal. I have a dear student who says she only goes to HEB and BSY because of the precautions we have taken and the time spent preparing to reopen our doors again. Your safety is our number one priority, and that includes your mental health. Please do not allow fear to swallow you up or to freeze you. There are many outlets to stay in touch with us. We offer online classes, studio classes, outdoor yoga, podcasts, as well as BSY.TV. The main objective is to take care of yourself.
I am giving all the air hugs and air high fives these days and we at BSY are keeping the magic alive. We cannot wait to see you again, in a safe and responsible way. We love you and we thank you for your continued support and making Black Swan Yoga what it is today.
Feel free to reach out to me anytime! I would love to hear from you and how your practice is going with us either virtually or in the studio!