Yoga is India’s gift to the world. It is India’s tradition, embraced by the world. Such is its global popularity that today, North America is the number one market for yoga merchandise, and yoga services like trainings and courses. In fact, the United States alone has more than 6,000 yoga studios. The popularity of yoga spans the European continent with a large following from people in countries like the United Kingdom and France. In the eastern hemisphere, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand also have swathes of daily yoga practitioners.
As per industry estimates, just the global yoga merchandise market was worth around USD20 billion in 2020, and is expected to double to USD 40 billion by 2028, registering a compounded annual growth rate of 8.4% between 2021 and 2028. This is a great opportunity for Indian entrepreneurs. Not just this, the ballooning number of yoga centers across the world will require certified trainers. India has the potential to supply these qualified and certified yoga trainers to the world.
India can do wonders in yoga. This is our turf, and it is waiting to be explored in its entirety. We must seize the opportunity and run with it. India is the birthplace and cradle of yoga. Our policymakers have also done a lot, especially over the past eight years, to promote traditional Indian medicine systems.
Since its inception in 2014, the Ministry of Ayush has left no stone unturned to promote the Indian traditional medicine systems of Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, Homeopathy and Sowa Rigpa. The opportunity is huge and requires to be tapped by the Indian youth. India was the country that proposed to the United Nations in 2014, celebrating June 21 as the International Day of Yoga. The Indian Prime Minister’s proposal was supported by a record 175 countries. We have ever since, celebrated the International Day of Yoga with gusto. This year too, the prime minister will lead International Day of Yoga celebrations at Mysuru, participating in a live yoga session with 15,000 people. A two-day physical-digital exhibition has also been organized to showcase the latest developments in Yoga, and other Indian traditional medicine systems Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, Homeopathy and Sowa Rigpa. There is also the concept of ‘Yoga: The Guardian Ring’, which will be implemented this year as government channels will broadcast yoga sessions from various Indian missions across the world, starting with Fiji and moving westwards through the day. As the International Day of Yoga 2022 falls in the year of ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’, the Union Government has, in the ‘Whole Government’ approach, deputed 75 union ministers to perform yoga at 75 iconic sites in the country, to promote yoga among the public.
The theme for this year’s International Day of Yoga is ‘Yoga for Humanity’, which sends out the message that in a divided world, yoga unites people. It does not discriminate and in fact just brings people together in a shared pursuit of physical and spiritual wellbeing.
Speaking of the economic opportunity of yoga, today, there are thousands of manufacturers and suppliers of yoga clothing and equipment in India. But few have been able to scale up to the global level. What we require is for Indian manufacturers to rapidly upskill through technological innovation and scale up operations to be able to integrate themselves in intricate global value chains. That then will provide a quantum leap for Indian yoga equipment manufacturers, which will bring them great prosperity in a sustained manner. The present and the future of business are about global value chains – and integrating one’s enterprise into these. The sooner Indian manufacturing companies realize this and adapt their processes, the better it will be for them.
What is also needed is innovation for India and for the world. This innovation can come in the form of process orientation or design-related innovation. Technology is changing rapidly, and Indian manufacturers must not just keep up but innovate to stay ahead of the curve and supply novel products to the global market. North America remains, by far, the world’s biggest market for yoga equipment and clothing, followed by Europe, Japan and Australia and New Zealand. Manufacturers must therefore keep an eye on these markets and analyze trends here to serve up the best possible products that are both appealing and utility oriented.
India is making rapid strides in taking yoga to the world, and in becoming the holistic wellness capital of the world. We as Indians must also do our bit. Yoga has truly emerged as an important avenue of commerce, employment generation and entrepreneurship development. It is time the Indian youth took to exploring all aspects of yoga so we could contribute to lasting global peace and economic prosperity.
Dr. Abodh Kumar, Professor, Department of Economic Studies and Policy, Central University of South Bihar, President of India awardee