Branding Indian Yoga - Why Early Bird Couldn’t Catch the Worm?

Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 4121 , Published on 15 December 2013
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Indians have gifted many wonderful inventions to the world, from the discovery of Zero to ‘Jugaad’ desi ideas. Being Origin land for ancient Yoga, Today India has lost its control over its asset. The original yoga which was developed on Indian land more than 3000 years ago now has become a mere business.


Not giving proper respect and fame to the brand Indian Yoga, Globally, Yoga gurus have developed their own yoga centers, earning lot of money and claiming to develop yoga themselves and practicing wrong yoga which are far away from Mental peace. You may be twisting your arms, stretching the body, but there is no meditation or state of mental peace involved in it i.e. the real consciousness.


Image Courtesy: ponsuwan; freedigitalphotos.net


While reading a book about How to brand a product, one question arose in my mind – Can we brand anything and everything? And then I’ve started recalling some un-common products/services which are being branded & are of course very known famous, also generated an awful lot of revenue for businesses. Yoga is one of them. A person, Mr. Bikram Choudhury, the owner and founder of very famous Bikram yoga in America, who became popular & patented his yoga style (Which is actually Indian Yoga).


I see a hundred thousand men capable of destroying evil… all of us are Gods… On a mission to destroy evil” (an excerpt taken from the Immortals of Meluha).


Age Old Saga and our personalities

Yoga has been a pivotal part of Hindu ancient culture, a unique and profound way to restore the lost consciousness and integrity of human beings. Our sages have said to be practicing yoga for maintaining their super vitality, strength and vigour.


To recall any personality, who has given a pivotal contribution in Indian Yoga Culture, I cannot forget the two names. They are: Patanjali (Yoga Sutra), Mr. K. Pattabhi Jois (Asthanga Yoga) and  B.K.S. Iyengar (Iyengar Yoga ). A small brief about their contribution-


Patanjali: Patanjali of 2nd Century is one of  the 18 siddhars in the tamil siddha tradition. He’s the real compiler of entire yoga sutras, the yoga we know and practice today is derived from these yoga sutras only.



(Exhibit 1 : Different levels of Yoga; Source: SwamiJ.com)


Mr. K. Pattabhi Jois: Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, popularly known as Ashtanga Yoga, is a style of yoga founded and propagated by Mr. K. Pattabhi Jois, and which is often promoted as a modern-day form of classical Indian yoga. Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga got its name after the 8 limbs of yoga which were mentioned in Yoga Sutras of the Patanjali.


B K S Iyengar :  B K S Iyengar has founded the Iyengar Yoga. is considered one of the foremost yoga teachers in the world. Iyengar has written many books about yoga practices and various philosophies like , Light on Pranayama, Light on Yoga and Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Iyengar yoga classes are present across the world. He is one of the first students of Swami T. Krishnam acharya Ji, who is referred to as "Father of Modern Yoga.


Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga which is one of the oldest style of Yoga was originated and traditionally taught in Mysore, and today popularly known as Mysore style (supervised and sophisticated mental practice, which was named after this india city where the Ashtanga was originated)


Principles of Indian Yoga

The core value of Yoga lies within the Vinyasa. The Vinyāsa turns the physical asanas into a dynamic flow of alignment between our mind and body.

bandha, or muscle contraction, which focuses energy in the body and is closely tied to our breath. Daily and regular practice is highly emphasized in Ashtanga Vinyasa. This is traditionally taught in Mysore style ( which is named after the city of India where Ashtanga was originally developed).


(Exhibit 2: Seven Chakras of Asanas ; Source: kaymayoga.wordpress.com)


Pursuit of Money (Commercialization of Yoga) - Since Yoga has become a mere business, the list of the types of business offering their services is very long. We can include Pure Yoga, Strala Yoga, Bikram Yoga, The Iyenger Yoga Institutes across the world. In recent years, the yoga has become a growth industry, now it’s a 7 Billion USD per year business. A few years ago The Wall Street Journal estimated the stock market value of the international yoga industry at 42 billion dollars.


Now, when Yoga is seen as a commercial thing, then let’s assume Yoga as a product, then like every product it has three levels:

i)- Core

ii)- Actual

iii)- Augmented

CORE

ACTUAL

AUGMENTED

Mental Peace and Physical Fitness i.e. Mental Relaxation, Stress Reduction, and more calm & stable state of mind


Asanas or other physical exercises (Calisthenics).

Believed benefits of Pranayama, dhyana, mudra which are mind control and meditative benefits.

(Exhibit 3 : Three Level of Yoga as Product for Commercialization)


The CORE product is is Mental Peace and Physical Fitness i.e. Mental Relaxation, Stress Reduction, and more calm & stable state of mind.


The ACTUAL product is the tangible, physical product. Thus, the actual benefits of Yoga could be the Asanas or the HATHA YOG part of Yoga which is only related to physical form of exercises and its not different from any other calisthenics set of exercises which can include a large set of activities like Gyms, Aerobics, and Samba exercises which people do for their “physical fitness”.


The AUGMENTED product includes the believed benefits of Pranayama, dhyana, mudra which are mind control and meditative benefits.

How to get the Moved Cheese? Is there any way to get the identity back?

So, Let’s talk about some essential steps and helpful tips to get our Moved Cheese back:


  • Balance between Tradition and Innovation (The only way to enjoy competitive advantage is to get it): Our traditional techniques like Patanjali yoga and Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga (originated in Mysore and known as Mysore style) are originative benchmark for today’s so-called western yoga styles. No doubt, Traditional styles of yoga (such as those taught by our yoga legends K. Pattabhi Jois and B.K.S. Iyengar) have intrinsic Indian values based on their form & mental benefits. Branding just for the sake of being seen as different serves a little purpose; there has to be some substantive value to the modification as per current needs of people in this era of dramatic distraction, as well as it should serve sufficient adherence to typical Indian tradition.


  • Beware of zealing promotion: Abstaining from overstatement builds in a certain modesty, refraining from promotions can help in the desire for recognition to stay proper to yoga's essence.
  • Focus on Typical Indian yoga: The more dilute you make a homeopathic medicine, the more effective the medicine becomes. But Not so in yoga.


  • Typical Indian Yoga Branding: If we want to make Indian yoga a global brand, then Indian yoga services should be legally protected. For example, original works related to yoga, such as a brand name (Hatha yoga, Mysoore Yoga), should be afforded a legal protection through trademark, copyright and other law tools. Also, consider the rules and ethics of business practices such as franchising yoga studio, or franchise fee submission when someone openes his/her own yoga studio, using Indian yoga practices.


Last Words

This the right time to claim before it’s too late.

Before the market gets saturated with plethora of so-called yoga brands and all the best & real brands are taken by yoga lovers or may be the yoga students grow distrustful of new yoga brands.


We’ve seen that Globally, Yoga is branded in a way that only actual benefits are being derived out of it, today everybody is health cautious, people need to do some kind of physical activity to stay in shape and also maintain their vitality and strength. Yoga should be branded in a way that the augmented benefits are more and more propagated.


Yoga is branded in a way that only its actual benefits are being derived. Yoga should be branded in a specific and original way so that its augmented benefits are more and more utilized and propagated. Perhaps the single most pivotal tip is to allow and give respect for the teachings of yoga.


Every Indian must do yoga, Not just for physical and mental health but as a tribute to our legends like Iyenger and Patanjali.


This article has been authored by Devendra Singh Rathore from Amity Business School, Noida



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