Yoga as a Lifestyle and a Business

Million dollar investment rounds. Intrigue from Startup founders and Investors. Industry redefining pitch. International appeal.

All these facets when glossed over can easily be associated with any cool tech organization or startup. However, this keen growth and interest is associated with the growing influence of Yoga.

The increasing inclination of startup founders and investors towards Yoga as a lifestyle and as a viable business option gives us a glimpse into India’s soft power as well as the potential of the ancient lifestyle in the modern world. Here are a few practitioners that practice or market Yoga through their lives or their initiatives in the tech space –

Pascal Klein

Co-Founder – Asana Rebel

Probably the biggest Yoga startup in the world, Asana Rebel, a German startup, recently raised $17.4 million in a series B round of funding co-led by Greycroft and Founded out of Berlin in 2015, Asana Rebel offers a slate of virtual yoga workouts for people to follow in their own time through a mobile app.

Co-Founder Pascal Klein (the other co-founder is CEO Robin Pratap) says: “We found out that for the mainstream it’s much more attractive to see yoga from a modern fitness point of view (no yoga style, no spirituality, no gurus). Yoga Inspired Fitness is descriptive so users know what they can expect. On top of that, we make it as easily possible to work out. We have a lot of shorter workouts which you could possibly do during your lunch break, for instance.”

The approach gives credence to the channelization of Yoga instruction and technique through mobile apps is also being adopted by several startups in different parts of the world.

Ravi Virmani

Founder – Credihealth

“Entrepreneurs are always up to something big- all of the time and to have a vision, our minds and soul need to free up and clear of all negativity. That’s where mind-body exercises like meditation or yoga come in.” Considering his startup, Virmani’s adherence to Yoga does not come as a surprise. In addition to being a Yoga practitioner, Virmani advocacy of Yoga’s impact on self-awareness, and problem solving is another testament to Yoga’s adoption as a lifestyle among startup founders.

Rajat Khare

Founder – Boundary Holding

Head of the investment fund Boundary Holding, Rajat Khare has adopted Yoga as a means to bust stress and create a vibrant and active lifestyle for himself. A resident of Luxembourg, Khare attributes Yoga to have created a holistic and balanced outlook of life as well as managed the hectic lifestyle of an investor.

Into Yoga since 2012, Rajat Khare vouches for Yoga as a way for improving work-life balance and providing a mental acuity without the strenuous and constrained gym schedules. “Yoga albeit not that big in Europe right now is being seen as a beneficial addition to a hectic lifestyle by the common populace – and more so by time-poor investors and founders. That said, there are plenty of studios that have incorporated Yoga into their fitness classes and regimes in Luxembourg.”

Mckenna Rowe

Yoga teacher McKenna Rowe is very flexible indeed. In six short years, Rowe’s managed to stretch her Chakra 5 Yoga startup from a one-woman venture into a successful, multi-employee mobile yoga business that serves dozens of corporate clients across Los Angeles County. Considering the wide-spread adoption of Yoga in the United States, the leverage of small Yoga studios and increased peer inclusion gives Rowe’s business model a substantial market presence.

In addition to the general classes, Rowe also has presented corporate coaching – another segment, where companies are investing in stress-busting Yoga. Among Chakra 5 Yoga’s current and past clients are ABC, Disney, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, New Balance, Paramount Studios and Pinkberry frozen yogurt.

Sarvesh Shahi

Founder – Zorba

Featured in Forbes India, this young entrepreneur has had a tremendous

In just four years, the 26-year-old has made a thriving business out of yoga with his startup Zorba which has 72 studios across 41 Indian cities. Zorba, which in Greek means living each day to the fullest, operates a topline of $2 million – claiming to be the only chain of yoga studios in the country that offers 25 forms of yoga (including dance yoga and aqua yoga) – which in essence is another aspect that is big in the market. Remember Beer Yoga?

The benefits of yoga are not just limited to physical or mental health. Investors and founders believe that a session of daily yoga helps them think clearly, churn out better ideas, and feel an essence of stability and control of their work as well as thoughts. With so many new startups in the market and technology transforming into a new entity at every corner, it becomes imperative to have an analytical and sensible approach towards the where and why of investments. This is where yoga can step in as it helps an investor realize that it’s not just about money, the process/method/way of making it is equally important. Considering the hectic lives of investors, yoga plays a fundamental role in helping them focus on their passion and vision. With governments taking initiatives, premier investors and CEO’s practicing yoga, and even the UN declaring June 21 as the International Yoga Day, yoga is expected to be adopted by the masses in the upcoming years.