I met Sylvia Daun in Mysore, India, in 2013. We connect over ZAHARA JADE jewelry, malas & Mala Workshops, as well as the non-profit project I began, teaching the terminally ill how to make malas, and then selling them in the yoga community. Mala Magic is the story and project that I plan to see through as I build out ZAHARA JADE.
Sylvia and my meeting was pure Kismet, indeed the very name of her gorgeous sustainable brand of yoga clothing, Kismet Yogastyle. At the time, neither of us knew what the future held or that we would connect a year later, having launched our conscious visions globally. I am beyond grateful for our connection, for Sylvia’s work in the world, and to be able to co-create with her in different ways as we both evolve.
Sylvia was kind enough to take the time to interview with ZAHARA JADE to give us some perspective into her story and the creation of her dreams.
ZJ: Sylvia, what made you start practicing yoga?
SD: It was really quiet superficial! I had put on weight and felt stressed out. I was looking for a proper workout and a kind of meditation and I came across Ashtanga yoga. I the sequence and after practicing regularly I became more aware of my body and myself.
I recognized that I had lost the connection to my inner self with my demanding lifestyle and job.
I started to ask the question who am I and what do I really want to do with my life?
It became more important to listen to myself rather than try to keep up with the expectations of others. I travelled the first time to India in 2010.
Sylvia on my rooftop in India, trying on Goddess Headpieces & other jewelry. We did not know then that our visions would evolve to where they are now. We were a couple of Ashtangis practicing, playing, connecting & dreaming.
ZJ: It sounds like a lot changed through your yoga practice. Do you remember the moment you made the decision to leave your management job – what went through your head, how you would do it, what you would do, was it a “light bulb” moment?
SD: No, it was definitely not a light bulb moment, it was a process.
I love Ashtanga yoga for the fact that you do the same practice every day. This allows me to concentrate on the breathing and on getting deeper into postures.
You don’t need to think when you already know the sequence. Some people say that’s boring I believe it gives space to listen to yourself.
The practice is my root and like a tree, which is proper rooted, it allows me to open up my crown.
I started to overcome my fears. Yoga became my life in many ways. Whenever I feel anger, fear, emptiness, etc., I step on my mat and after practice my day starts balanced. Yoga teaches you to deal with changes: the only constant thing in life. Your inner truth is the one thing, which I believe, doesn’t change but to know the essence of your personality is an exciting life-long journey and a very philosophical one.
ZJ: Can you share with us more about what it means for you to follow your truth?
SD: To follow my inner truth makes me happy and self-confident about all my decisions even when it is challenging. And it makes me free in many ways. It’s a big growing process and a great learning perspective for the rest of my life.
ZJ: Where did the idea for Kismet-Yogastyle come from?
SD: My father explained the word Kismet to me when I was a child. I love the sound of the word as much as the meaning.
The idea doing yoga fashion was in my head since I started practicing. Fashion was always a weakness of mine. When I began practicing yoga, I was wearing my old running pants and a shirt because I did not like the cotton pastel kind of thing that was available. I had lots of ideas in my head but since I am not a trained designer, I did not believe I could start in the fashion world. So it was just something in my mind for quiet a while.
When I decided to quit my job, my urge to follow my dreams was so strong that I had to do it. The idea and the name were already part of me, and I believed strongly I needed to get out of my routine in order for things to fall into place.
I started travelling and I was very focused in yoga, watching and asking yogis about their style, which clothes they like to wear, meeting charity organizations and the rest of the time focusing on Kismet (which means lucky/ destiny). In fact, things did begin to fall into place: I met people who inspired me and who believed in the idea and supported me.
ZJ: What is the bigger picture, your vision for Kismet Yogastyle?
SD: Yoga is not fashion, yoga is a lifestyle.
I would like to add some more products through sustainable production with charity impact.
I have traveled through many parts of the world. In many countries woman have no rights and no perspective if they are not married. The next Kismet project will be yoga bags made by women who have been mistreated or suffered during war.
My bigger vision is to give underprivileged women a chance to become economically independent and self-confident. I’m focused on helping women because I’m convinced when you help women you help children and the community as well.
ZJ: Are there any announcements or promotional events you would like to share, that we would love to know about!?
SD: Meet us at the OM yoga show 24 -26 Oct in London!