Like most of us, 2020 hit Allison Hart hard. Her mom passed away suddenly, her 25-year career was over, and her 10-year relationship ended abruptly.
But her commitment to a niyama lifestyle – five personal practices that keep you focused on your relationship with your physical and psychological self – helped her get through the devastating loss and drastic life changes.
It also led her to her next “thing,” transitioning her passion project Niyama Sol – the studio-to-street activewear that she co-founded – to her full-time focus. And you’ll be glad she did. The line is built on individuality (bold, funky prints), sustainability (made of recycled plastic), and serious style (uber-flattering fits) and is meant to go from barre class to the board room (with the addition of a blazer, of course).
We caught up with the entrepreneur and fitness enthusiast to talk following your gut, the J.Lo effect, and the self-care practices that get her through really tough times.
WHAT A YEAR
2020 was a tough year for everyone, myself included. My mother passed away suddenly and my 25-year profession as an event designer changed drastically (and ultimately ended), and a 10-year personal relationship ended abruptly. With that, I personally thrived during quarantine because I was able to go through a lot of emotions and different ways of healing. I was able to focus on what is important to me – my teenage son, my 3 dogs, my 3 cats, my friendships, my relationship with my two sisters, new ways of healing (physically and mentally), and nurturing my 108 indoor plants. As cliche as it sounds, I was reminded that the only thing constant is change, the only way out is through, and letting go is a form of healing.
LIVING HER BEST NIYAMA LIFE
For me, practicing the first niyama, saucha (which means cleanliness of body and purity of mind), is fairly easy because I eat clean and recycle. At times, my potty mouth isn’t so clean, but I keep my life, mind, and body pretty clean. (Taking a cleansing bath is a nightly ritual.)
Practicing santosha (which means complete acceptance and contentment) is all about self-care and self-love, which I make time for with recess, meditation, and crystal healing.
Tapas (which means fiery self-discipline), ignites my passion to keep creating things that fill my cup and inspire me.
Svadhyaya (which means self-study), is where I take time to teach myself guitar and ukulele and read and learn more about myself and things that matter to me.
Lastly, Ishvara Pranidhana (our connection to a higher power) is my connection to the earth, the universe, and the spiritual practices that I enjoy… playing crystal sound healing bowls, practicing yoga, and taking care of the 108 plants in my home.
STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF, ALWAYS
Trust. Your. Gut. If a person or a situation doesn’t feel right deep down in your soul, it probably isn’t. Trust yourself more than you trust others. Take care of yourself, because no one can take care of you better than you. Align your chakras, specifically your sacral and solar plexus, and channel your intuition (your 3rd eye chakra). Take time to meditate. Embrace the concept of being anti-fragile. Being fragile means you break beyond repair, being strong means you don’t break, and being anti-fragile means that you may break into a million pieces, (which we all do at times) but when those pieces form back together, you’re even stronger than you were before. Phoenix rising from the flames, lotus flowers growing through mud, and believing in the goddess that you are!
I drink a lot of green tea and coffee, and I indulge in dark chocolate pretty much daily. If my body tells me I “need” french fries or ice cream, I eat it. With quarantine, I started baking and my house is usually well-stocked with chocolate chip cookies, homemade fruit cobblers, or creme brulee. I try to eat a mostly pescatarian diet, but I do eat a burger (with those fries) on occasion.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
I juggled two careers for over five years. Creating one-of-a-kind events and leggings was both exhilarating and challenging at times. With the onset of Covid-19 and parties coming to a screeching halt in Vegas, I was able to switch gears and give my side-hustle, Niyama Sol, all of my energy.
INSPIRATION IS EVERYWHERE
The inspiration for our designs comes from all over – my days in Art and Fashion Design school, my love of travel, the great outdoors, my obsession with music and pop culture, my interest in spiritual healing practices, and architectural and textile design influences from around the world. Combining fitness with fashion and creating leggings that can be worn day to evening is important to me because that’s how I wear them. I pair our leggings and bras with sneakers, sandals, and boots and top them with tank tops, sweaters, and blazers.
THE J.LO EFFECT
As soon as we started to see Jennifer Lopez frequently wearing our leggings, we designed a pair in her honor called Icon, which was an homage to that epic Versace dress she wore to the 2000 Grammys. The legging sparked a collaboration with her that celebrated her music, movies, and some tidbits from her personal life. Having Jennifer as a brand supporter and collaborator has been amazing for us.