Text by Bhumika Vikam
Ancient India gave us the gift of a vast number of disciplines and exercises in the form of Yoga. In Sanskrit, Yoga means having a union with the inner self and the universe. For the life we are living today, Yoga becomes a necessity not just for our body, but also for our mind and soul too.
The Lifestyle Portal is proud to share our conversation with 45-year-old National Yoga and Health expert, Gaurang Chandarana, an MMS certificate holder having 17 years of experience in the BFSI sector, and who actually made Yoga his life and career both.
Gaurang was nominated for training and projects at GE and became a green belt in Six Sigma Black Belt. Later, he was identified and nominated in HDFC Bank as one of the 12 organization ‘change experts as the National product manager for retail assets.
HDFC Bank then sponsored him for a full time intensive 3-month training program by Wipro at a cost of a few lakhs per head. This was followed by 12 projects (as the team leader), which delivered actual savings of INR 50 crores in those days. This was a 12-month process after which Gaurang was declared a Six Sigma Black Belt, with the highest ratings and scores in the country.
The training consisted of Soft Skills, Communication and body language, Leadership, Public Speaking, Conducting Meetings, Train the Trainer, Managing Teams, Statistics, Analytics, the works!
You must be wondering, why in spite of enjoying so many accolades at work, what prompted Gaurang to embark on an entrepreneurial journey where he launched two health companies.
How did it all begin?
Since the age of 13, Gaurang has been practicing Yoga and over the years, he has done strength training, cardio programs, spinning and many more. Gaurang was extremely weak as a child and had severe asthma. He cured himself of this as well as high BP without any medication. “I have always been a health and wellness enthusiast for the last 30 plus years,” says Gaurang.
“Since my junior college days I have been contemplating to do a business in the Yoga and wellness field, but I never quite got around it. So, in the meantime, I tried a couple of other businesses and failed. I then realized, my forte is in health, wellness, lifestyle and human connect disciplines. I went through a series of physical and mental health challenges and overcame them. This finally put me on to the right path,” smiles Gaurang.
The launch of Abhisti in 2012
He further explains how he started Abhisti in the year 2012, “I was given this global license for Abhisti because of my professional background and the fact that I was identified as the National Yoga Expert on the First International Yoga Day on 21st June 2014 and interviewed by All India Radio.” It was a matter of great honour and credibility for Gaurang to have got this license, being a pure startup.
Initial Investments and Branding
“I have spent close to INR 20 Lakhs so far, over the last three years for these two brands – Abhisti and Wellzee,” says Gaurang. “In Sanskrit”, explains Gaurang, “Abhisti means a ‘guide for a noble purpose’; and at the back of my mind, I always wanted to do a business which also helped people to improve their lives.
He continues, “Wellzee is a yoga brand owned by Abhisti Health & Accommodation Pvt. Ltd. It is a global, contemporary brand to promote Yoga in a modern way, which I always wanted to for a very long time. I brainstormed it with a friend who created the Wellzee platform and he suggested the name Wellzee.”
“If we talk about Abhisti,” adds Gaurang, “it is the exceptionally slow pace at which things get done at some of the Government departments. It took me over three years to get my approval and even now, I am being held back at every stage due to bureaucratic hurdles. Maybe this is because I have never dealt with Government departments before and I need to learn the same. In the case of Wellzee, the biggest challenge has been the acceptance of a Yoga based digital health portal.”
As Gaurang further explains, People are yet to understand and harness the power of digital delivery mediums, especially in India. We have grave challenges in terms of time, stress, consistency, subjectivity and credibility. We are unable to utilize digital channels beyond social networking, some communication and entertainment. In the Western Markets, entire programs, teaching and delivery are done online; including for Yoga. The other reason is an excuse not to do something. Indians and South Asians have been found to be the laziest on Earth by credible WHO and UN surveys. When we say, go to a gym or Yoga class, they do not have time. When we say, do it digitally, the reason given is how can we practice by learning online? So, I guess it is a mindset issue. However, things are changing gradually.”
What makes Abhisti and Wellzee unique?
“Abhisti is the only certification body which has been started by Yoga and wellness experts. We intend to work deep in the Yoga space exclusively and be the world’s most credible Yoga brand, which is a brand by Indians and from India. Abhisti has the most qualified and experienced team of over 25 people. This team is actually the best in India and probably in the world. The only aim we all have is to deliver quality and credibility,” shares Gaurang.
In the case of Wellzee, adds Gaurang, “It is the world’s first holistic yoga-based health portal with ‘customized programs for health challenges, women’s issues, and other groups’. It combines Yoga based nutrition plans and success, stress and sleep management programs; all available online. All our content is researched, registered and created solely by us.”
Products and services at Wellzee and Abhisti
Abhisti is an accreditation agency for Yoga, which will soon be bringing in quality standards across the World in Yoga education. These are laid out by the Government of India through the Ministry of AYUSH and the QCI.
Gaurang has now been made part of the National Yoga Committee which will be determining global Yoga standards.
There is also a new physical product named ‘Pregnancy Plus’ on Wellzee, which contains Yoga programs for all three trimesters of pregnancy, nutrition plans, ancient Indian pregnancy advice, fun things for ‘to be’ moms and pregnancy diaries.
Gaurang’s official website has 2 free e-books :
1) Stress Management Handbook, which has been published after having counseled and trained over 4,000 people.
2) Indian Religions and Philosophies, which gives a basic understanding of the core eight ancient Indian philosophies to appeal to the contemporary and educated mind.
Programs and Camps by Abhisti/Wellzee
The following camps have been conducted by Gaurang, under the Abhisti and Wellzee banners:
1) Cardio – metabolic diseases is the most popular
2) Weight Loss – is fast gaining popularity
4) Respiratory Issues
These programs are available online at Wellzee, which has over 64 programs and nutrition plans. He further adds, “In the physical mode, I have conducted workshops in association with various bodies, Yoga Institutes and also the department of AYUSH in different states. I have also trained Government of India school teachers to teach Yoga and taught in tribal areas. The workshops cover asanas, practices, nutrition, health tips, activities and so on.”
How Abhisti will help aspiring Yoga Professionals
For aspiring Yoga professionals, here is a comprehensive training plan by Abhisti:
1) Get trained in a structured manner
2) Get certified
3) Become Master Trainers and/or examiners
4) Provide management inputs to commence and run a successful Yoga Business
5) Provide employment opportunities with various organizations in the wellness space
6) Provide cutting-edge research and new developments in the field
7) Assist in being entrepreneurs or self-employed professionals
“We intend to be the world’s most credible and inspiring Yoga business. We also intend to span the entire Yoga space and be one of the world’s largest Yoga companies. I have mapped seven large verticals in the Yoga space for the first time and will commence them, one at a time, over the next three to five years. We intend to operate and grow through collaborations, partnerships, revenue shares and stock options; the more the merrier. I want to organise and structure this space into an ‘Industry’,” adds Gaurang.
Response so far
“I have been stunned by the response I have received so far, especially after my recent challenges. It is almost as if people want to be with me and want Abhisti to succeed. The best of experts are reaching out to work with us. The QCI gave me a license – the only small start-up company. Highflying professionals are signing up with me as Directors, Management Team and Board advisors. People are now approaching me, asking if I need money to grow. Ashrams are felicitating me already. AWESOMENESS ALL AROUND,” smiles Gaurang.