Why India should Explore Business Potentials in Yoga

The wellness industry in India has evolved rapidly from its unstructured beginning in the early 1990s to a broad ecosystem today
Why India should Explore Business Potentials in Yoga
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Founder, Chairman, Course Director, Akshar Yoga
6 min read
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India, a country which is popularly known for its traditional health practices like yoga, Ayurveda as well as many other alternative medicines, over the years as evolved in the field.

Shift in Focus

With rapid changes in lifestyle and a desire for social acceptance, wellness players have responded to this change through a paradigm shift in their focus point. From traditional offerings like curative healthcare and value-oriented mass products, today the emphasis is on new generational offerings like preventive healthcare, luxury products and personalized services.

Wellness Industry is a Well-developed Ecosystem Now   

The wellness industry in India has evolved rapidly from its unstructured beginning in the early 1990s to a broad ecosystem today. Moreover India is slowly becoming a hub for medical tourists from around the world. To promote this change, government has set up a dedicated Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) with the aim of providing impetus to these ancient healthcare systems with a targeted thrust. Furthermore, the Indian wellness industry is to hit a whopping 1.4 trillion rupees by 2020 according to various reports and surveys. The sector has a potential to generate over 3 million job opportunities.

India’s Vast AYUSH Infrastructure  

Being the second largest exporter of Ayurvedic and alternative medicine in the world, we have over around 6,200 indigenous herbal plants and the country has developed vast AYUSH infrastructure comprising 6,86,319 registered practitioners, 26,107 dispensaries and 3167 hospitals in public sector, 501 undergraduate colleges with annual intake of 28,018 students, 151 centers for post-graduate education with annual admission of 3,504 scholars and 8,896 licensed drug manufacturing units. Currently, the industry comprises a range of segments — alternative medicine, nutrition, preventive and personalized health, workplace wellness, yoga and fitness. To be more precise, the key sub-segments in the sector are beauty care and nutritional care which constitute the maximum industry share at the moment and this is likely to continue.

Business Opportunity

Fitness centers and alternative therapies are catching up and rejuvenation too constitutes a small share in the market. With significant scope for penetration in areas like nutrition, rejuvenation and fitness, the Indian wellness market is a huge business opportunity waiting to be harnessed. Be it physical wellness, emotional wellness or social wellness, the sector is evolving in its various dimensions.

India’s Rich Heritage

India has a rich heritage supported by its ancient systems of medicine which is a treasure house of knowledge for both preventive and curative healthcare. We also have a vast infrastructure with a dedicated Central Council of Indian Medicine, Central Councils of Homoeopathy (Regulatory Councils) and five Central Councils for Research, one for each AYUSH system. There are seven National Institutes (two for Ayurveda and one each for other systems), two north-eastern institutes to cater to needs of a specific area, two Pharmacopoeia Laboratories, one Pharmacopoeia Commission for Indian Medicine, a National Medicinal Plants Board and a public sector undertaking for manufacture of standardized Ayurvedic and Unani medicine.

What is Driving India’s Wellness Industry

The wellness industry is being driven further by a range of factors, including India’s young population, rising disposable incomes and an increase in the occurrence of both communicable and non-communicable diseases. Strong economic growth in the past few years has resulted in a transition in dietary habits, which has led to a steep rise in lifestyle-related ailments. According to a report released by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), one in four Indians is likely to die of non-communicable diseases by the age of 70. Never before have Indians been more conscious about how fit they are and how they look. Changing lifestyle patterns and nutritional status have been contributing factors to bringing the wellness industry to the forefront. Rapid urbanization is further fuelling this trend. India’s urban population, as per census 2011 was 31.16% growing at a CAGR of 1.2%.

India’s Holistic Approach Towards Healthcare

The Urban infrastructure is being re-vamped with the government planning smart cities. And as mentioned earlier, India’s holistic approach towards health care is also gaining popularity with each passing day as more people are turning towards these alternative sources of medicine instead. India has conducted international exchange programmes, seminars and workshops on AYUSH. MoUs for ‘Country to Country cooperation in the field of traditional medicine’ have been signed with China, Malaysia, Hungary, Trinidad and Tabago and is in the pipeline with Serbia, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Mexico.

What do the Figures Say?

Coming over to the figures, the AYUSH sector has an annual turnover of around INR 120 Billion. The sector is dominated by micro, small and medium enterprises, accounting for more than 80% of the enterprises, located in identifiable geographical clusters. The products market is worth about INR 40 billion with over-the- counter products such as digestives, health food and pain balms, constituting almost 75% the segment. India has 9,000 units engaged in the manufacture of AYUSH drugs. The biggest markets for Indian herbal products are Western Europe, Russia, USA, Kazakhstan, UAE, Nepal, Ukraine, Japan, Philippines, Kenya etc. India has over 8,000 medicinal plants found in the Himalayan region; around its coastline, deserts and rainforest eco-system. More than 32 million people are practicing yoga in the USA alone. The demand for yoga across the world is growing exponentially.

The growing wellness industry has attracted a large number of domestic as well as international investors. Companies are actively seeking public and private equity investments to fuel their growth. The established ones are pursuing revenue maximization through product and service diversification and are exploring new global and domestic markets. Franchising is emerging as a popular option for scaling up. Also 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is permitted in the AYUSH sector.


Along with all this the Indian government is also launching a number of other programmes to promote the wellness industry of India. The Make in India initiative is pushing the wellness as well as other industries much far ahead so as to bring much more investments and opportunities to our country. Ancient practices like Yoga and Ayurveda is India’s contribution to the global map. Therefore, concerted efforts should be put in to consolidate these sectors further and convert the business potentials to achieve maximum benefit for the country.

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