14 May 2019
#NewsBytesExclusive: SARVA, the Jennifer Lopez-backed Indian fitness start-up
Just as millions continue to battle stress, anxiety, and depression, SARVA, a Mumbai-based health start-up, is rising to help.
NewsBytes recently spoke with Shashi to learn about his work and vision.
Here's what he said.
Shashi started yoga at the tender age of 6
Shashi has been performing yoga since the age of 6, but his 'journey to SARVA' started at 17 when he met his Guru and found mindfulness by practising yoga as a disciple.
He says he meditated and performed several 'sadhanas' for years, which manifested various personal, professional, and social changes in his life, and inspired him to take wellness to others the same way.
Yoga as a lifestyle, for everyone
Yoga has been a part of the Indian culture for centuries, but Shashi customized it for youth and promoted it like a lifestyle.
"SARVA in Sanskrit means 'all' and we wanted to be all-inclusive, all-encompassing," he said. "We started different forms of yoga, mindfulness techniques, added a lot of color to the workout, with dance, music etc."
"We basically made Test cricket into T20."
Now, both youngsters and elderly are at SARVA
Since its start in 2016, SARVA has grown exponentially, setting up 91 state-of-the-art brick and mortar studios across Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru.
Shashi said the average age of SARVA customers kept declining, from 45+ three years ago to early 30s today; a lot of people started their classes and then a fitness studio of Chennai transformed into a community of fitness enthusiasts.
25 unique and comprehensive forms of yoga
Speaking about SARVA's offerings for wellness and well being, Shashi said they offer 25 unique and comprehensive forms of yoga.
"We've got programs for kids, adults, and every single day a different form of yoga is practised," he emphasized, adding that they don't repeat the same sequence in an entire year and do things differently to meet the needs of young and elderly alike.
And, people are liking it at SARVA
Shashi further added that people have received their yoga, meditation, and wellness programs very well.
Some 350 people at SARVA studios were asked what it meant to them, and they all gave positive responses.
"They all said SARVA means life, my happy phase, my second home," Shashi noted, while saying that's a sign of a community that he wants to continue building.
Now, the plan is to expand
SARVA has raised $6-8 million thanks to the backing of pop icon Jennifer Lopez, baseball legend Alex Rodriguez, actor Malaika Arora, and fitness brand Zumba.
Now, Shashi says they plan on investing these resources into expanding their footprint and setting up 500 physical studios in 15 cities by 2022.
They also plan to offer SARVA's benefits through a digital mode by September this year.
Mission to help people lead healthier, happier lives
"Yoga had changed my life and I wanted to bring this to 500 million people in India under the age of 30, where stress, anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, and obesity is becoming an epidemic," Shashi said, adding he wanted to help people lead healthier, happier lives.
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Digital offerings will make SARVA accessible to everybody
Shashi concluded by noting that their digital offerings will add a touch of modernity and make SARVA widely accessible, building a community of 100 million in a matter of years. Notably, they are also evaluating plans to expand to the US and UK.