Hey India, shake what your mama gave you! Or as a Wall Street Journal article points out, at least start by taking a big bite of this gazillion dollar yoga sandwich, eh? After all, you started it, right? And everyone else is eating the cookies out of your jar. (is it lunchtime?) Lindsay Clinton takes on what we know as the birthplace of yoga and ayurveda with the simple suggestion: India, darling, now that you want to officially lay claim to yoga, etc., why not capitalize on your history and optimize your assets, for you know, loads of money? While we know the West has enough yogapreneurs to fill an Ashram the size of Texas, and companies like Lululemon making $19 million in 3 months on stretchy pants etc, why haven’t Mumbai and Calcutta become authentic hot beds for profit-yielding yoga?
Clinton, whom we should mention works at social development consulting firm Intellecap in Mumbai, explains:
We encourage India’s youth to pursue monotonous low-paying work in call centers when they could study and/or promote some of India’s finest assets.
These assets — yoga and ayurveda — are not yet fully valued in the market. If they were, it might be a more sustainable approach to improving the long-term wellness of India’s middle-income population. (It should be noted that the “unaffordable wellness” market has plenty of capital behind it and a growing number of people who can and will pay for it.)
We’re all for affordable wellness. Does she have a point here? Cause guess what? Contrary to stereotypes, a lot of Indians DO NOT practice yoga, or at least the asana form of it, and they could certainly use it. According to the National Family Health Survey, India has the second highest rate of diabetes in the world and 20% of urban Indians are obese.
There must be a way to provide more value to communities, bringing a social return, while also making a financial return by injecting more energy, clinical R&D, and capital into these assets. If an entrepreneur took on the job of spreading yoga in a way that retained allegiance to the philosophy and enabled practitioners to enjoy its health benefits, perhaps we’d see fewer patients end up in hospitals in the long run.
And then we’ll all find world peace, cure man’s diseases and live on sunshine and lollipops! In other words, ideal scenarios=fat chance. Granted we admit, words like “assets,” “financial return” and “market value” in reference to yoga make us want to barfasana, but can we really blame Ms. Clinton for suggesting the land of the yoga free take some business advice from the opportunistically brave? She means business. Some would say Ramdev already has a head start.