International Day of Yoga: What are brands up to

From selling yoga kits to launching special apps, brands are investing heavily to encash the day

e4m by Anjali Thakur & Nafisa Shaheen
Updated: Aug 21, 2019 4:42 PM

For many of us, yoga is equivalent to mental and physical well-being. But for a growing tribe, this ancient Indian discipline has turned into a source of income. The craze for yoga is growing on the back of a boom in the wellness & fitness sector. And since the inception of International Day of Yoga (IDY) on June 21, 2015, yoga has received a leg up.

IDY celebration has roped in an astounding number of brands internationally with healthy well-being as its epicenter. With the ever-changing time and advancement in technology, yoga has also evolved as a brand and is now a humungous industry. Brands are investing heavily to encash this day. Popular brands such as Khadi, Nike, Puma and Zivame have come up with yoga kits as their marketing and sales strategy to increase the sales.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s inclination towards yoga and IDY celebration, a lot of celebrities and prominent personalities have come forward to support this practice and make it popular across borders. It has become a business proposition for brands and paved way for entrepreneurs to come up and utilise this opportunity.

Speaking to exchange4media, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Ayush, PN Ranjit Kumar, said, “The wellness industry has grown up to Rs 90,000 crores/annum. It has grown exponentially during the last five years. The enrollment of teachers as yoga trainers has gone high by a remarkable 400% over the last five years. The public interest in yoga has grown due to the idea of celebration of International Day of Yoga by the honourable Prime Minister of India. IDY is being celebrated at every level, from gram panchayats to the corporates. The earlier conceptualisation of yoga as a practice for the older people has been out-rooted and now it is practiced by the people of all age groups.”

Celebrities too put a great deal of effort in keeping them in good shape by adding a lot of exercise in their routine. Many have also included yoga in their daily regime of workout. The name that tops the list of bollywood celebrities practicing yoga is undoubtedly Shilpa Shetty Kundra. Ahead of the International Day of Yoga, the actress launched her fitness app, SS. The app has a section for dietary counselling as well, because just working out or practicing yoga is not enough.

Another popular brand, Fitbit, is also investing greatly for this day. The platform delivers personalised experiences, insights and guidance through leading software and interactive tools, including the Fitbit and Fitbit Coach apps, and the Fitbit OS for smartwatches. It has also come up with fitness apps for the yoga day such as Fitbit Versa Lite, Fitbit Inspire HR & Fitbit Inspire for easy tracking of heart beat and exercise modes.

Viacom18 is organising a session for its employees, Yoga for Peace. The company is engaging its employees to come and experience yoga along with an acapella session of music. The session will be attended by top management leaders along with other employees, performing yoga together to promote the importance of health and fitness at work. 

Talking about the yoga industry in India and other parts of the world, Saurabh Uboweja, international brand expert and Chief Executive Officer of Brands of Desire, said, “The yoga practiced in India is starkly distinct from the yoga practiced in the US and other western countries where it is largely commercial in nature. In the US, yoga is part of the popular culture, very fashionable and works as an industry. It is also not in its same original form; it's a blended form based on the reason to do yoga. This blended commercial form, like other pop cultures around the world, is now ubiquitous in some Indian urban markets as well.”

So, what is the size of this industry and how has yoga become a global phenomenon?

“More than 8% of people living in USA practice yoga in one form or the other for a fee, compared to less than 0.5% of people in India. India is also not the largest commercial market for yoga where it is largely perceived as a spiritual pursuit. It is more of an industry globally than in India, with the total yoga and yoga-related products market likely to touch $14b by 2020,”explained Uboweja.

Harish Bijoor, brand expert and Founder of Harish Bijoor Consults Inc, said, “Yoga is India's biggest soft-export. India has exported yoga without branding it really. The branding of yoga is happening at its destination country of use. Yoga, to an extent, is an open domain brand. Everybody uses it and no one entity makes the money out of it.”


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