It is often difficult to be able to gain all of our nutrients from a standard diet. This week we spoke to Jillian Mariani, founder of Niyama Yoga Wellness, on how her company can help us gain the nutrients necessary for clean and active living.
What is your business called and what does it do?
My small business is called Niyama Yoga Wellness. We make natural health supplements inspired by yoga and clean, active living. All Niyama products are vegan/plant-based, non-GMO and made in Canada. They are free from gluten, soy and sugar with no artificial colours, flavours, sweeteners or preservatives.
What made you want to do this work?
I was incredibly fortunate to have spent my 20+ year corporate career in natural health supplements – working with some of Canada’s most loved brands – both small and large. I’m a total nutrition and supplement geek, so being able to work on something that I was so passionate about, and was such big part of how my family and I live our lives was a privilege not many people get.
I also love yoga, and have practiced for almost 23 years – with varying degrees of frequency of course! I also teach part-time. When I left my last corporate role as VP Marketing & Innovation at Jamieson, I saw an opportunity to combine my love for yoga with my expertise in natural supplements, and create a new line of exceptionally clean, natural wellness products that would appeal to people who practice yoga, and other forms of movement.
What problem does this solve?
I found that even with so many amazing products and brands on the market in Canada today, there wasn’t exactly what I wanted to support both my demanding yoga practice, and maintain those benefits in my off-mat life. I was always mixing and matching single ingredients and nutrients to get the benefits I wanted. And that was both complicated and expensive, and not something that most “normal” people would want to do. I wanted to create something perfect for yogis – from both a functional and a philosophical perspective – that would have true therapeutic benefit, be easy to use, and also really enjoyable. Because the number one problem with supplement use is compliance – these products don’t work if you don’t use them. Niyama products work really well, so the benefit is there and that encourages regular use. And the powder products (plant proteins, a clean pre-workout, and a post-exercise rehydrator) taste absolutely amazing, so our tribe actually look forward to using them.
Who are your clientele/demographics?
It has been so interesting because we started in early 2019 targeting only people who do yoga. But since then we have organically expanded well beyond that core, as our products and ingredients are suitable for anyone who just wants super clean, natural supplements to support active living. Our clientele is predominantly, but not exclusively, women, and the ages range from mid-twenties to 65+. While we offer clean pre and post workout supplements, we also have amazingly well-reviewed products for stress support and sleep, as well as inflammation. So it really isn’t confined to a specific age group; it’s more about a “clean, healthy living” state of mind. Because we are Toronto-based, the majority of our clients are still in Ontario, but we have partnered with some amazing retailers nationally, and are also available online direct, so I’m grateful to say we have Niyama customers all over Canada.
How does your business make money? How does it work?
Niyama is available online on our website directly and we ship free anywhere in Canada on orders over $50. Niyama is also available in select Natural Health & Specialty retailers, both in store and online. And we are also in a few Yoga & Movement Studios as well.
Where in Toronto can we find your profession?
In Toronto, you can find us at: The Big Carrot, The Detox Market, Peaches & Green, Ambrosia, Nature’s Source, Nature’s Signature (inside select Metro locations), Herbs and Nutrition, 889 Yoga, The Yoga Sanctuary, YYoga, and Spirit Loft. We were working on expanding distribution, but that has been a lot more challenging during COVID-19.
What is the best question a prospective customer could ask a member of your profession when comparing services? Give the answer as well.
I get this question all the time: Is Niyama only for people who do yoga?
And the answer is: Absolutely not! Although Niyama was inspired by yoga, our products are completely suitable for anyone looking for top quality natural health supplements made with clean, plant-based ingredients to support wellness and active living. Approximately half of Niyama’s loyal consumers actually do yoga. Others use our products to help with reducing stress or inflammation, improving sleep, or just adding more high-quality protein to their diets. Many use our After Practice and Green Energy before, during, or after gym visits, HIIT workouts, SPIN, running, cycling, as well as for daily nourishment.
The other one I get is “What does Niyama mean?” Niyama is a Sanskrit word that loosely (and briefly) translates to good habits. Niyamas are one of the 8 limbs of yoga, and comprise the daily habits or rules that a yogi would observe personally, to better their lives.
What is the best part about what you do? What is the worst part?
The best part is hearing from Niyama users that they are both enjoying and getting meaningful benefit out of our products. During this pandemic, we have had so much interest in our Daytime Zen and Sleep Like Buddha products, and hearing that these two supplements are helping people cope with the increased stress and uncertainly brings me so much joy and gratification. It really makes all the hard work worthwhile.
What is your favourite joke about your own profession?
That my “boss” can be a real hardass LOL!
PAY IT FORWARD: What is another Toronto business that you love?
I live with my family in the Beaches (or Beach – this is an ongoing debate) neighbourhood in Toronto, and Tori’s Bakeshop on Queen St East is a magical bakery cafe that creates delicious vegan and gluten-free treats. I also love Nutbar, which recently opened a location in Leslieville, our former ‘hood and super closeby. Can’t wait to visit and support both of them as we get into the “next normal”.