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May, 16 2016


Yoga being one of the fastest growing industries, still has major untapped opportunities for dedicated players who motivate health and fitness enthusiast both on the consumption level as well as on the investment level towards this segment.

Yoga originated in India almost 5000 years ago. Critically acclaimed all over the world, Yoga is one of the fastest growing industries with a global worth of $80 billion. However in India it shares its space within the Ayush sector with other alternative therapy segments such as Ayurveda, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy to reach a collective market worth of Rs.120 billion. There is untapped opportunity for sure. But more importantly, there an urgent need for dedicated players who motivate health and fitness enthusiast both on the consumption level as well as on the investment level towards this segment.

THE eight practices of Ashtanga Yoga - Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi summarised all that is needed to lead a healthy life. But with time and social development, we have left the core value of Yoga far behind. Rather we have reached a state where Yoga has to be repositioned once again to justify its relevance in our day to day life.

Where there is a gap, there is an opportunity

Yashwant Saran, Founder & Managing Director, 136.1 Yoga Studio: “The customer demographic can be segregated into four categories: one who wants yoga for fitness, one who takes it as a therapy, one who approaches it as a spiritual practice and one who wants it as a way of life Vipasana. It is a very non-judgmental model. So even though the market is fragmented, here is the scope for the retail consumer structure to come and address an unprecedented and unmet need which can serve the community.”

WOW factor

Even though yoga originated from India, the current Indian standards are falling short in front of the global standards. To keep up with the global pace, the best Yoga studios invite yoga teachers from different parts of the world. That makes the model very unique because it is a global craze right now.

Sarvesh Shashi, Founder & CEO, The Zorba- A Renaissance Studio says, “If I say hatha yoga to people, they might not come. So I had to commercialize yoga in a way that would be exciting to them... should get that wow factor in it.”

Saran says, “You don't have to educate the people about yoga. All you have to do is that you have to factor the retail model and be present in the vicinity and neighbourhood with a high quality classroom. So when a good location and a good retail model are in place, people will come.”

On getting organised

The market is fragmented. Unlike in other education sector, there is no governing body for yoga which is considered as a free knowledge especially amongst Indians. It is very difficult to achieve consistency across the country. Saran says, “We have to accept that the market is fragmented and try to find a niche in that fragmented market through a retail consumer model where you connect with the different strata of society by offering them different forms of yoga. And once you find that niche and get the engine humming for you, just fabricate this across the country.”

Shashi explains, “We need to unify all the individual yoga instructors with a common agenda which is world over common for yoga which is uniting people and making them happy. It can only be achieved when there is a governing body exclusively for Yoga.”

Franchising helping to put the fragments together

Franchising has been instrumental in getting the industry organised. The F&B, Retail, Preschool, Gyms, Salons and many more industries have got a distinct shape and goal through franchising. It benefits the brand who wants to expand, the investor who can grow under the mentorship of the brand and the end customer who can trust an established brand. When we talk about getting a governing body, franchisors can play their part in this regards within their own capacities.

For a brand who wants to expand, Saran says, “It keeps the cost of acquisition and the cost of investment low. It offers tremendous opportunity to become entrepreneur especially for women who make up for 80 percent of the yoga practitioners in India.”

The right choice of franchisee

Saran: “The prospective franchise partner should have a very strong entrepreneurial. They need not be about yoga but passionate about entrepreneurship. The yoga part is our job.”

Shashi: “One has to have the passion for Yoga as well as the ability to run the franchisee. They should also own very good real estate.”

Training and support

Saran: “A complete start to finish support - from selecting the location to managing the studio. A specific 4:6 ratio between expats and local teachers is maintained. We train the teachers and other administrative and managerial staff. We educate the partner about the demographic and typographic of the target customers as a part of the training. We lay particular emphasis on the look and feel of the studio. Thereafter, we start the pre-sale marketing, social media marketing, events and road shows within 2-3 km radius of the studio to boost the walk-in rates.”

Shashi: “We have an unique plug n play model where the investor pay the money and we do all the infrastructure, interior, software everything and 45 days of marketing free. After that he just needs to manage the studio.”


In a unique alliance fitness major Talwalkars Better Value Fitness Limited acquires 50 percent stake in Zorba. This would enhance their wellness offerings through Zorba and improve revenues by tapping into the rapidly growing Yoga sector. Shashi says, “We get a ready space at about 100 odd locations and their registered database. The Talwalkars had a readily available gym, and they wanted to bring fresh air into the gym. Now they cater to the physical level and Zorba caters to the mental level and a more holistic level.” Currently, Zorba is present in 60 TBVF locations.

How to start a Yoga Studio

Investment: Rs 45 lakh to 1 crore depending on the model

Expected breakeven: on an average 18-24 months

Existing market: Metros

Emerging markets: Tier 2 cities

Location: Upmarket neighborhood with matured retail culture

Target Customers: People with high purchasing power/ corporate

Franchisor’s take: It is an excellent way to promote woman entrepreneurship and create jobs for individual trainers


Well trained teachers, excellent infrastructure, equipment's, and perfect ambiance to impart a holistic experience.

A good understanding of the demographic and typographic of the target customers

Deployment of innovative promotional and marketing techniques to attract and engage prospective customers

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