The Challenges of the Yoga Industry During and After Covid 19

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The Covid-19 crisis has seen unprecedented steps being taken globally by governments to protect their populations from the deadly virus. At home in India, this has resulted in the drastic measures meaning lower number of Covid-19 cases reported. In addition, the World Health Organisation has admitted that there is no community transmission in India. This means that India is one of the few countries to still (as of the writing of this article) be in Stage Two in the war against Covid-19.

 While the ongoing fight means that the interlinked travel and yoga industries are temporarily in a state of suspension, our success in containing the outbreak to clusters means that we should be able to recover quickly. In light of all this, yoga studios and yoga ashrams are not functioning in the traditional manner but taking the opportunity to innovate and lead the way forward. So how is India leading from the front in providing examples and solutions through the yoga industry and beyond? Read on to find out. 

Quick Action 

With India’s borders being closed to foreign travellers coming into the country, the Covid-19 crisis has hit the yoga travel industry. This industry heavily relies on foreign yoga aspirants who come to India to take Yoga Teacher Training courses or to live in ashrams to understand the yogic way of life. While this industry also welcomes domestic yoga enthusiasts, it thrives on the dollars and euros of the international travellers who want to learn yoga in its land of origin. 

However, the very fact that India has closed its borders means that we are working quickly and smartly to flatten the curve. Given that countries with smaller populations have seen a much quicker spread of Covod-19, India’s quick actions and strict measures means that recovery will be that much more swift, as well. 

Shelter in Place

In light of all this, self-isolation has been recommended as a preventive measure to flatten the curve. This means that an industry such as yoga, which relies on teachers correcting students’ alignments through touch, has become something that students are currently avoiding, at the request of the Government of India. 

However, there is a significant upside. This being that India is ahead of many countries in the flattening of the curve. The World Health Organisation, as per the World Economic Forum,  congratulated India in mid-April for its timely and effective stringent measures to help contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Again, it bears repeating here that community spread has so far not been detected in India, which the WHO has also agreed with. As per the Hindu Businessline, this means that Indians are optimistic about a quick recovery. More than half of them are expecting a speedy return to normal with a willingness to put in the hard work to get there. There is optimism and a feeling of community among the Indians surveyed during a study, that illustrates this attitude. As per the Economic Times, the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, Shaktikanta Das, still predicts positive growth for India in this fiscal year, though it is subdued at 1.9%. In heartening news, he predicts that the growth will skyrocket in 2021-2022 to 7.4%. While a lot of other nations are seeing negative growth, this is good news for India and those investing in India. 

Leading the Way Through Yogic Cures

While India’s government has acted fast to contain the threat of Covid-19, they are also welcoming alternative therapies that might help immunity or prevent the virus from taking hold. In April, the Indian Department of Science and Technology opened itself to proposals that show the effectiveness of yoga and meditation in battling Covid-19. India has always been at the forefront of yogic practice. Here, it is again leading the way by investigating how the ancient yogic science might help prevent this new threat to human life. This is also an interesting new avenue for investors to consider. Significantly, India has helped the USA with medication on the latter’s request to help in the USA’s battle against the virus. Thus, India looks ready to help friends across the world with therapies, traditional and allopathic, to help contain this threat. 

Lockdown Lift

Since India took on the Covid-19 crisis head on, the lockdown is also scheduled to be partially lifted in certain zones. From April 20th, certain industries are going to resume their operations, with strict hygiene and safety protocols in place. Sikkim will be partially lifting lockdown. 

In Kerala, there will be an implementation of the odd-even rule for traffic to continue restrictions in the interest of safety and containing the spread. In fact, Kerala was one of the hardest hit states and has very successfully countered the spread as well as provided stimulus packages to cushion the state economy. Kerala is also a state with a rich yoga tradition, so visitors to India can take heart that this state, as well as the rest of the country, will fight hard to make sure this threat is contained. 

Both state and central governments have been working diligently to make sure that the virus does minimum damage in India and have, so far, succeeded very well. Visitors to India should be able to return to their yogic journey in the subcontinent very soon.

Investing in Innovative E-learning

India is an emerging tech hub and combining yoga with tech is one way to bring together all of the subcontinent’s strengths, new and old in order to deal with the Covod-19 crisis. Taking skills and services online is one way the yoga industry in India is rising to this opportunity right now. Since people are sheltering in place in their homes, they are looking for ways to reach out for yoga services digitally. So an online course or school is the way to go. Many practitioners have already taken the opportunity to divide this up into a number of different innovative and lucrative ideas. These are:

  • Theory based learning
  • Online video courses or classes emphasising asanas through self-practice
  • Meditation courses or modules
  • Online Yoga Teacher Training courses

In fact, apps like Mind.Fit (which is the app for the fitness and wellness juggernaut Cure.Fit) were ahead of the curve. They are now offering online and phone counselling in addition to the existing meditation packages that were already available on the app. Given the rise of these services, there are a lot of new avenues for investors to pursue, especially those interested in innovation in alternative therapies. 

In conclusion, India is going to recover quickly from this crisis and come back with innovative solutions. We have tech solutions and alternative solutions being actively hunted out. Like the lotus flower symbolises rising to bloom from the mud, we can rise from the darkness and create opportunities. In India, we are using this period as a time to rest, reflect, re-learn and reset. History has always seen periods of crisis, so this is not out of the ordinary. It is how we act that will define us. This is why India is acting thoughtfully and making it count. 

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