Today we’d like to introduce you to Constanza Eliana Chinea.
Constanza Eliana, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I was raised in Puerto Rico, where my parents are from and immigrated to the US when I was seven years old. I found it hard to navigate a new culture but assimilated as most immigrants do and tried to adjust to a new life and country. As I grew older, I realized this period of my life was creating the work I do today.
I began practicing Yoga as a way to heal the wounds of my experiences and became a Vedanta Yoga teacher in 2013. After a few years in the industry, I realized the market was highly saturated and didn’t reflect the diversity of my students. I experienced exclusion and racial bias from the very people who were supposed to know and do better. As a result of not being able to land as many teaching gigs as my white peers, I created an online Yoga studio called HippiesandGranola.com, where I could offer my teachings to students who loved my classes. After a while, I began creating my own Yoga apparel designs as well, with messages to remind women of color they are valuable and deserving of healing. I became really active in social justice and decided to start teaching about Diversity and Inclusion. I began centering women of color in my marketing, business, and trainings. I also created a panel of solely women of color to speak on topics that affect us as a community called WOC Spill the Tea.
The more lack of access I am exposed to the more passionate I become about creating my own opportunities. But it is this experience of being underprivileged that lights my social justice fire up, it makes it clear to me that we have a long way to go, and real work needs to be done.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
Yoga Teacher, Activist, Writer, Designer, Producer
Constanza Eliana is a Yoga teacher of color focusing on diversity and inclusion, tackling race and bias through powerful yoga sequences and meditations both in person and online. She has been teaching for over six years and devoted her work on centering Women of Color in Yoga.
She created the Embody Inclusivity program, teaching diversity and inclusion using Yoga and Meditation as a medium to deal with the discomfort that arises when discussing race and bias. She teaches the online course Unpacking Spiritual Bypass and offers resources to teachers and students all around the world.
She is currently creating a virtual yoga studio for women of color. Stay tuned for more details.
She lives in Los Angeles, CA, with her three dogs and partner by the beach. She is the founder of hippiesandgranola.com and https://www.patreon.com/hippiesandgranola.
Do current events, local or global, affect your work and what you are focused on?
My designs and handmade ritual products are a cultivation of my healing work with other women of color. I believe that art and design is divine work and comes from the soul, not the head. Women of color need to see themselves represented and valued. Social justice is seen as something that only affects underrepresented communities of color, but it actually is everyone’s responsibility, specifically those who create and are complicit to injustices in the first place. Art is a great way to amplify those messages in a visual way.
When I do a photoshoot with my designs on a Yogini of color, I am fully aware that she will be giving another brown and black woman the ability to see herself represented back and that she is welcome in this industry. At the same time, I am fully aware that anyone who looks at the images will get the message that brown and black women are here, and we are beautiful.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
You can find me at:
- Website: hippiesandgranola.com
- Instagram: instagram.com/eliana.chinea
- Other: patreon.com/hippiesandgranola