The best things that Srinivas Murthy had heard about India was from his colleague in South Africa, when he was employed with Coca-Cola. “Two best things India has made is Chicken Tikka Masala and yoga,” Murthy remembers the colleague telling him.
Back in those years, Murthy laughed, but those words had a lingering effect on him.
Soon Murthy shifted from Coca-Cola and joined Snapdeal, but didn’t stay there for long. He wanted to be an entrepreneur. “I had realised that offline was the thing,” Murthy said.
Yoga on the other hand was going global. In India, Baba Ramdev has built a Rs 10,000 crore consumer goods empire that started with teaching and preaching yoga through his Aastha television channel.
Murthy is no Baba, neither can he bend his body like Ramdev. “But I practice yoga every day,” Murthy said. He still has a little fat to lose before he gets those perfect abs.
“We want to put yoga at the centre of the modern world,” Murthy said. “There is the pracheen (old) yoga practiced at gurukulas and ashrams, and then there are these corporate parks and the mobile generation.”
Murthy’s first centre, of Karma Spark to teach yoga to the mobile generation is in DLF CyberCity, between the corporate towers housing dozens of companies. “Yoga is the new gym,” Murthy said.
“People think that yoga is a mix of physical, mental and emotional exercise,” Murthy adds.
Being in the offices’ vicinity, helps the members to keep the timing flexible. Murthy wants to be the person who took out yoga from the ashrams and put it as part of the corporate fixture.
To teach the members, Murthy has hired eight trainers, from traditional yoga schools like Bihar School of Yoga (the only school whose certificate gets the holder a job in Europe as a yoga faculty).
Within three months, the centre has added 300 members, and is growing fast. “We will become cash positive by June,” Murthy added. In the next one year, Karma Spark will outsource its brand to 10 other such centres in different parts of the country, but all these will be run by Karma Spark.