Actress Malaika Arora and Entrepreneur Sarvesh Shashi’s yoga start-up SARVA recently began a unique campaign titled #StartTohKaro. Through this campaign, instead of talking about their brand, they are promoting their competitor wellness brands like Cure. Fit, Calm, headspace, Simple Habit, Meditopia and a host of others, because both Arora and Shashi believe that during a pandemic, it is more important to be united by empathy than being divided by competition.
This kind of ‘mindful’ propagation of wellness has helped SARVA carve out a niche for itself in the wellness business since its inception in 2016. It also doesn’t hurt the brand that its co-founder is Arora, indisputably one of India’s most popular yoga icons.
Arora has made Yoga an aspirational practice for the masses. Paparazzi gather in swamps to click her photos as she enters the gym, and her yoga videos get thousands of views. She obviously adds the glam factor to this 5000-year-old practice, but she doesn’t stop there. One casual scroll through her Instagram profile will let you know that she doesn’t propagate Yoga as only a physical practice but often talks about its far-reaching impact on an individual’s mental and emotional health.
In an interview with News18.com, she said, “Yoga has always been a crucial part of wellness. I think the realization is occurring now because people have started taking health seriously. In the hustle of daily life, we completely disregard the need for self-care. These two years have taught us this. The role of Yoga has grown multifold. Not only to help people cope with the emotional and physical stress of the health crisis, but it has also helped people be active while being stuck at home and improved immunity."
Arora pointed out that Yoga has helped in her day-to-day activities as well. “Yoga not only aids me go about my day and still have a lot of energy towards the evening but also supports me in times of stress. It has been a boon to be able to meditate and simply be able to sit calmly. Especially with the pandemic, it has been tough to cope with the emotional turmoil every single day," she added.
Arora’s business partner, and founder of SRAVA, Shashi, said that Yoga could only be thought in conjunction with mindfulness, an essential meditative practice that has helped many navigate through this health crisis.
“It’s a misconception that mindfulness means doing things better. Mindfulness means being present at the moment, and that is the core philosophy of Yoga as well! People have started thinking “mindfully" about their health now. They have the intent to make change because they’ve seen what happens when they don’t. And it’s a welcome change that mental health has become a phenomenon that has garnered international attention in Sports, Entertainment, governance and so on," said Shashi.
However, despite the ‘mindful’ attention to health, the wellness industry took a big hit as the pandemic stretched for more than one and a half years. Many businesses were forced to shut, and others had to get creative to stay afloat.
“SARVA has been a creative brand since inception. SARVA has been offering a fully digital array of services during the pandemic, from live classes to personal training to classes with celebrities! And the fun element is added with the 25 forms of Yoga, 122 different types of meditation, 14 different types of Pranayamas," said Shashi.
“So many different intensities, various health goals, and authentic yoga forms with props, one runs out of excuses to not try Yoga," he added.
Currently, SARVA has 1500+ hours of content on the app, and Arora plans to take the platform to an even greater height. “The broad goal is to connect 7 billion breaths with Yoga through SARVA and revolutionize how people think about wellness and set high standards for accessibility as well as modernity," pointed out Arora.
Currently, SARVA has many famous patrons such as Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodrigues. In the list of famous patrons is also Mira Rajput, who is a partner at SARVA. Rajput told News18.com that her reason for associating with SARVA was that it keeps Yoga’s authentic roots and makes it accessible.
“I believe in the philosophy of Yoga, which is a union of mind, body and soul. It is deeply rooted in Indian culture yet is accessible to people the world over. It goes beyond a superficial exercise regimen, and I was glad to see SARVA making Yoga accessible to everyone equitably and easily, in the palm of their hands. Sarvesh’s passion for Yoga aligned with mine, and we also hit it off at a personal level. I hope to take the true form of Yoga to the world with SARVA and preserve Indian culture for our children through it," she explained.
Rajput pointed out that she had benefitted from Yoga tremendously, especially post her second pregnancy. “After my second pregnancy, I felt the need to be strong from within and nourish my organs and my entire internal system that had given from itself to nurture my babies," said Rajput.
“Yoga has a unique way to address internal health holistically by recharging it from within; using the body to heal the body. It works on your strength, hormonal balance, oxygenation and blood flow, organ health, circadian rhythm and mental well-being. It’s a healing experience, and I’ve been hooked ever since," She explained.