Meet the entrepreneur whose yoga studio is backed by J Lo and other celebs

“I think it’s safe to say that the Eskimos are loving the ice,” Shashi quipped in response to my comment that he’s managed to repackage and resell yoga to Indians, before exporting it across the world. “I think we have the right combination to connect seven billion breaths through Yoga,” he said, quoting Sarva’s mantra.

That’s pretty impressive considering his very first yoga studio was run as a one-man show, with him wearing several hats as instructor, receptionist, handyman, and cleaner.

“I didn’t have any work experience prior; I had the opportunity to join my family business, but had made up my mind that I wanted to start a yoga studio. My parents supported the decision as they themselves practise yoga and have benefitted immensely from it,” he said, sharing that his father is an entrepreneur running 17 businesses with an annual revenue of about US$200 million, while his mother is “CEO of our home” with interests like yoga, alternative healing, meditation and fashion. The oldest of three children, Shashi’s younger sister is a photographer and yogini, while his younger brother is a psychology student.

His first encounter with yoga was when as a child, his father had to rush off halfway through a yoga class and bade Shashi to complete it on his behalf.

“The year 2020 marked the end of physical studios as we knew it, and the statistics around COVID-19 have been just as alarming,” he noted, quoting figures such as how more than 264 million people of all ages suffer from depression (World Health Organization); between 10 per cent and 30 per cent of adults struggle with chronic insomnia (Sleep Foundation); approximately 463 million adults (aged 20 to 79 years) are living with diabetes (International Diabetes Federation); one in 10 women suffer from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), with 40 per cent of PCOS sufferers at risk for depression and self-esteem issues (Voyage Healthcare); and how worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975 (WHO).

“Stress, anxiety, and obesity are all becoming a global epidemic and what better time to start yoga than now, as yoga offers a solution for all of these? It’s not just us saying it; the whole world realised this in the short period of 18 months since nationwide lockdowns in March 2020. Global fitness trends dictate what users want: Better health, better fitness, better nutrition, better appearance, better sleep, better mindfulness,” he declared.