PIMPRI: People in Pimpri-Chinchwad are getting more aware about the physical, mental and spiritual benefits of yoga exercise. This has given birth to a lucrative business opportunity in the form of Yoga retreats and centres that have mushroomed across the country.
Chitra Sonaikar, 64, former president of Yog Vidya Dham, said, “Most people working in the IT sector, especially in air conditioned offices, having a sedentary lifestyle are facing health issues. Mostly, they suffer from cough and spondylosis. Orthopedic or physiotherapy treatments are costly in the market. So the 20+ to 70 age group is turning to yoga. More females are learning this art as it helps to maintain fitness and to regain the fitness post-pregnancy.”
She added, “We started our first batch in 1988 at Bajaj Company premises for training their employees. Later, several other companies like Tata Motors, LIC, Century Enka and many others followed and are still subscribing for such training.”
Service And Business
According to business observers, the investment in this business is minimal unless one aims to spend money on their own studio with amenities. Sonaikar, for one, has constructed a spacious hall in their bungalow located in Pradhikaran. “Our initial aim was to spread awareness. Earning was not the priority. In 1990-91 we were charging Rs 30 per month. Now, we are charging Rs 500 per month per person. People don’t mind paying more but we aim at awareness,” Sonaikar added.
Speaking on the business, Bilil Babu, Yoga Trainer for the past 12 years in Nigadi said. “Talking particularly about Pimpri-Chinchwad region, the business is growing by 50 percent and more young people are getting attracted towards it. The charges range from Rs 600 to Rs 15,000 depending upon the frequency of training. Competition is not a major issue but getting the right person is essential.”
The trend to learn Yoga is rising in general but the thrust is more on learning Desktop Yoga or a set of simple Yoga exercises and postures that can be done in home or office to remain physically active.
Renu Mahtani, holistic physician and consultant, Yoga therapy explained more on Desktop Yoga. “One can try to avoid sitting in the same position for more than 30 minutes. Getting up to fetch files, a glass of water or catching up with colleagues help a lot as muscles get tired after sitting in one particular position, so we tend to slouch and slump. Practicing right work-place ergonomics to correct the posture is an effective way to do things with more energy, less strain and fatigue,” she said.
Pramod Niphadkar, centre head, Yog Vidya Dham, Pimpri-Chinchwad said that normally the charitable trust charges around Rs 300 per month per person. “Learning Yoga has become a necessity. Some of them even prefer to have personal training at their homes. For them the charges are Rs 300 per hour per day. Several companies call us for training and we are paid around Rs 500 to Rs 1000 depending as on the number of employees and their policies. Apart from this many organisations pay us about Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 for presenting awareness lectures,” he said.
Niphadkar added that people now have more belief in Yoga and Ayurvedic treatments. “We have been conducting 24 hours training on weekends where we take the participants to Lonavala on Saturday evenings and return on Sunday evenings. We charge around Rs 1500 including overnight stay and food. This batch has people working from IT,” he said.
Many Yoga teachers are finding internet as a useful tool for reaching out to students. Niphadkar informed, “People visit our website for Yoga queries that has enabled us to connect with people. We can respond to their queries, post them online that can be seen by anyone everywhere.”