Sonya Luz Hinton Costanza was born in Mexico, where her father’s family had long ties to the Mining Industry, but she grew up here in Taos, on Lama Mountain.
Her childhood was spent mostly in that Bohemian/Utopian enclave, and it wasn’t until High School that she literally came “down the mountain.” At fifteen she got a job and rented her own apartment in town before being sent to Boarding School in Arizona for two years. Outwardly she appeared to be product of the decade she came of age in; the Grunge/Punk attitude of the early ’90’s may have influenced her style, but her spiritual nature and deep authenticity was clearly coloured by the large and free-spirited family and community dynamic she was raised in. A year in Amsterdam further informed her sensibilities. When I first met her, she and her long-time close friend, Salon X’s Delta Cosette-Bayer were making extraordinary (Magic) hats which they sold here and there around town. For a time, a lot of the cool kids in Taos were walking around in those hats. Sonya still makes hats in her spare time.
Sonya put on a different hat when she began practicing Yoga in 1988 and teaching Yoga in 1996, after one of her teachers, Jose Santos encouraged her to do so. Sonya is a practitioner of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. Besides Santos, her teachers Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, and his senior student Annie Pace have each informed her practice and teaching style. She also includes the Iyengar method which she studied with Elise Miller, to address her own issues with scoliosis, and assist others with back/spinal challenges. Having a back problem can often be a huge issue for people. It can affect their lives so much that they are unable to do what they want. For more information on how to treat things like scoliosis, you can check out this website here.
Since her early years discovering her path to peace through Yoga, Sonya has traveled extensively in Europe and the Americas, and has spent time in India where her practice has been enriched by the place of its origin. In 2001 she opened her first Studio in El Prado with fellow Yoga Teacher, Jennifer Ammann. After 5 years there she opened a private studio at her home in town. She has been teaching at Shree Yoga Taos since Suki and Genevieve opened the Studio, and says she loves teaching there and is grateful for the opportunity and space to do so.
A naturally curious soul with a scholarly bent, in 2012, she received her B.A. in Cultural Ecology (a branch of Anthropology), which drew her to the Andes via an interest in Environmental and Indigenous Rights. Since then, Sonya has made seven trips to Peru, five of them have included leading Yoga workshops and retreats. There is another planned for May of 2017 and you can discover more about it by visiting Sonya’s site linked below this post.
Sonya is married to musician, David Costanza of Art Of Flying and other musical incarnations. David, a man of many talents, was for sometime a pastry chef at Chokola, and currently works at Shank. I’ll do a profile piece on him soon. The couple do travel quite frequently for David’s music and to visit far-flung family members, but Sonya maintains a consistent schedule for her many devoted students. One of Taos’ most aware and accomplished Yoginis, Sonya teaches three classes at Shree weekly. For more information about her schedule and the classes themselves, please visit Shree’s site linked below this post.
All photographs c/o Sonya Luz