One of the yoga’s most prominent contemporary voices, Sarvesh Shashi, is not just a yoga entrepreneur, but in his own words, yoga is his life’s purpose. A nation-wide network of yoga studios, started when this 17-year-old attended a yoga class “by chance and not out of willingness”.
With actor Malaika Arora onboard as a partner and celebrity clientele, the modern yogi’s mission is as strong as ever – “connecting seven billion breaths’. Ahead of the International Yoga Day on June 21, the founder of SARVA and Diva Yoga speaks to IANSlife about his journey.
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It started at 17 with a yoga class that you didn’t even enroll in yourself. Must have been some class?
Shashi: That’s quite right. I started doing yoga at the age of 6 and practicing mindfulness at the age of 17, that too by chance and not out of willingness. I loved cricket and my primary reason to consider yoga was to get better at cricket and play for our country someday.
My first class was with a man who looked very much like a yogi. During my class, I asked him if he can enlighten me to which his answer was, ï¿½Sarvesh, if you think I can enlighten you then you are a fool and I’m an even bigger one.’ That marked the onset of my journey into yoga.
How did your relationship with yoga evolve over time?
Shashi: I think it’s safe to say that yoga became my life’s purpose. I’m sure this is not something you’d expect a then 17-year old to say but it quite did. What started out as a practice that helped me change as a person, went on to become a mission that’s now my life’s purpose – to change as many lives as possible with the help of yoga, mindfulness, and beyond.
What’s your current yoga routine like? Your go-to asanas?
Shashi: I don’t have a routine per se. To me, yoga is being aware of your mind and body at all times. Every breath I take, every morsel I eat, is yoga. But I do make it a point to start and end my day with basic breathing practices or Pranayamas.
Tell us about you founding a yoga studio, developing it into a chain, training celebrities, and collaborating with Malaika Arora.
Shashi: SARVA and Diva’s story is nothing short of a journey. SARVA was founded in 2016 and Diva, in 2018, along with Malaika Arora. I started SARVA because I wanted to take my experience with yoga to the world and hence, its mission became ï¿½Connecting 7 billion breaths’. I’ve been very fortunate in finding partners like Malaika Arora and many others, early on in this journey. Not only does she bring credibility as a practitioner but also a very sharp creative business mentality, understanding of the consumer and market, and the consumer. Over these years, several others from the entrainment, fitness, lifestyle industries, etc have taken to the yoga and they are some of our regulars!
Shashi: SARVA’s future is digital. Much before this lockdown, we were on our way to launch a digital app and a little over 8 weeks post-launch, we’ve already crossed 200K downloads. This goes to show the number of people who want to practice yoga no matter the physical limitations, and that’s always a good thing for us. We’ve only been seeing an increasing trend in our app numbers, our LIVE portal live.sarva.com and also our Instagram sessions.
And not just this, we’ve had people write in to us about how much they like the classes, our instructors, and how despite such hectic schedules of working from home, they’re seeing tangible results.
Your thoughts on the fitness ecosystem of the country and the increased attention yoga is getting.
Shashi: It’s been said enough and more times, by fitness entrepreneurs like myself, by the Honourable PM and worldwide – that yoga and mindfulness have to be a part of your daily lifestyle.
When the entire world went under lockdown for over two months, mental and physical health became of paramount importance – drawing more and more attention to holistic practices, immunity-building habits, clean eating, and a positive state of mind – all of which yoga can help with. And it’s only going to get more important, widespread and easily accessible, thanks to apps like SARVA, voices like our PMs and digital mediums.
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Finally, your advice to yoga beginners of all ages?
Shashi: There’s no advice as such apart from the fact that you’re never too old, too young, too flexible, too stiff, too fat, too thin, or too anything to start yoga. Just begin with 20-30 minutes a day, keep at it, and you’ll see changes. You’ll start feeling more flexible, you’ll have more energy for your daily chores, you’ll start sleeping better and just feeling more positive about your day. But don’t take my word for it, it’s something you’ll see and believe for yourself. (IANS)