Ayurvedic Yoga: This ex-banker is using her corporate learnings to run her wellness venture
After years of treadmills and exercising bikes, Indians are now going back to age-old practices of yoga. Especially as gyms shut down amid the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, many turned to yoga to not just keep themselves fit but also to deal with the uncertainty of life and anxiousness.
Allied Market Research states that the yoga industry generated $37.46 billion in 2019, and is expected to generate $66.22 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 9.6 percent between 2021 and 2027.
With players like Cult.fit and SARVA taking the digital route, yoga practitioners and yoga teachers have also taken to social media to conduct live classes.
One of these is Mumbai-based yoga practitioner Namita Piparaiya, who is tapping these online yoga enthusiasts to rekindle the adaptation of yoga in its land of origin.
When Namita was offered a promotion at the MNC he was working at, which would eventually escalate her career exponentially, she refused it. “It was a great opportunity, and probably the best thing that could have happened to me professionally. But instead of feeling excited, I felt weighed down,” she says during a conversation with YS Weekender.
Accepting the offer would mean committing to growing a business that Namita had no particular passion for. “I decided to let go of the security of a monthly paycheck and decided to invest my energy and resources in what I believe the world needs today more than anything else — peace of mind,” she says.
After serving as a senior corporate executive at MNCs like Citibank, Aviva, and Generalli, Namita founded her true calling — yoga. She completed over 700 hours of Yoga Alliance certified training in Hatha Yoga, also studying pranayama, Ayurveda, and yoga philosophy.
In 2018, she took the entrepreneurial route and founded Mumbai-based Yoganama Wellness LLP, which brings yoga and Ayurveda under one roof with the objective of making ancient practices accessible and relevant to all.
Best of both worlds
Having spent more than a decade in the corporate world, Namita took her professional learnings and converted them into powerful assets in developing Yoganama. Goal-setting and being customer-centric are only some of the lessons from her life in the corporate world that she makes use of in her entrepreneurial journey.
“When I first started Yoganama, I wrote down my vision, mission, and five key priorities. Every year, I do a goal-setting exercise supported by a strategy note that I keep continually updating with changes in environment or new experiences. This helps bring a structured and focussed approach, which can be hard when you’re self-employed,” Namita tells YS Weekender.
To incorporate customer-centricity into her business, she ensures she never shows up for a workshop without a set of feedback forms.
She says, “I regularly connect with students, clients, and social media audiences, listening to their queries and needs to identify gaps where support is required.”
Namita has been trained in some of the most reputed institutions and teachers globally. This includes courses and workshops across Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, Cambridge Summer School, eCornell, The Himalayan Institute (US), David Frawley’s American Institute of Vedic Studies, Chinmaya Mission, Indea Yoga, Paulie Zink (Founder of Yin Yoga), and BNS Iyenger of Mysuru.
Combining yoga with Ayurveda
“Ayurvedic Yoga is a lesser-known concept, but one that can truly transform your practice,” Namita says.
She goes on to explain that just how Ayurveda recommends a specific diet, herbs, and lifestyle based on an individual’s unique personality type, it also recommends yoga postures and styles that are more suited for one’s needs.
Namita explains, “It allows you to customise your practice, which increases its effectiveness and relevance.”
When she conducts group classes, workshops, or retreats, her choice of postures and sequences are influenced by the seasons and the prevalent environment at the time.
“Within a week, I conduct a mix of Hatha, vinyasa, and restorative classes to ensure a balanced week that addresses the needs of all three doshas,” adds Namita.
“To me, Yoga is synonymous with mindful living. What we practice on the mat translates into how we live off the mat,” Namita explains.
Her goal with Yoganama is to make yoga, Ayurveda, and philosophy accessible and relevant to everyday life. She does this by creating accessible content, having meaningful interactions, and providing handy tools to support people on their journey.
Namita conducted her first workshop with Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Limited in Bengaluru, where she spoke to hundreds of people on Office Yoga.
Today, her videos are available on multiple platforms, including TataSky, Voot, Disney+ Hotstar, and Cure.fit, reaching lakhs of viewers.
Apart from social media platforms Instagram and YouTube, Namita uses her website to reach yoga practitioners. She also uses social media, email marketing, and referrals to onboard more clients. She has over a hundred students from around the world who have registered for and/or regularly attend her online classes on Zoom.
Additionally, Namita works with corporates in the financial services, advertising, fashion, and legal sectors. Some of Yoganama’s corporate clients include Aditya Birla, Future Generali, and Togglehead. The company is also extensively involved in content creation for media houses and publications such as Rediff, AajTak, FitTak, Tata Sky, Voot, Femina, Time of India (eTimes), and others.
Going ahead, Namita wants to increase Yoganama’s reach through useful content. She is also keen on introducing a comprehensive yoga training programme, which integrates traditional Hatha Yoga techniques with the understanding of modern anatomy and movement science, combined with ancient mindfulness practices supported by current scientific research.
“I am in the process of monetising some of my content through subscriptions and advertising models. Workshops, classes, consultations, and brand partnerships are other revenue streams for Yoganama,” Namita says.
She is now in the process of launching a new yoga platform, and is keen on scaling it up to include other skilled yoga teachers in India. “I’m also exploring alliances for a range of co-branded Yoganama products,” she adds.
Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta