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New Yoga, Meditation and Mindfulness Platform Allows Users to Study with the Masters From Home

Developing a new, health habit in 2022 is easier than ever with this startup’s streaming classes for yogis and beginners.

By Sandra Guy and Jennifer Fortney

If any time in world history has brought us back to the basics, it’s been the past 22 months. For many, it’s proven to be a startling awakening that simple things can be the most important and meaningful aspects of life.

Who would have thought that the most basic aspect of our lives — breathing — would become such a hot topic that a book, “Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art (2021),” by James Nestor, would make The New York Times’ best-seller list?

The premise enlightens:

We have lost the art of fully breathing. We don’t even realize that we pant like dogs much of the time.

Be honest. Haven’t you found yourself literally panting when you’re anxious, irritable or panicking? If you’re an entrepreneur, the answer is YES!

Sixty to 70 percent of the world breathes though the mouth. When you start breathing through the nose, the higher part of your brain gets activated, reducing stress.

Truth is that proper breathing pours healthy oxygen into your bloodstream, increasing your circulation and boosting your immune system, and helps reduce stress.

The very thing that we take for granted — breathing — is a vital tool that, when we choose to use correctly, can boost our energy, help us sleep, relieve pain, and improve our overall health. The book’s author, Nestor, even delves into the little-known role that each nostril plays.

The key is breathing slowly (five or six seconds per inhale and per exhale) to align with your metabolic needs; breathing through your nose, and being aware of the importance of optimal breathing.

How can we busy Americans, especially entrepreneurs, calm down for 15 minutes each day using this lifesaving change in breathing, without having to spend a fortune or sacrificing hours in a grueling commute to attend a renowned yogi’s studio?

Enter Shvasa.

Shvasa Instructor

The word Shvasa means “breath” in Sanskrit — breath that’s absolutely vital to life and connecting body and mind.

Shvasa is the first streaming yoga and meditation website with live classes led by some of the world’s leading yoga teachers in India. Take one class and you will learn that the practice really is about breath.

“We focus on breath first because immunity soars when your blood is oxygenated,” said Arunima Singhdeo, 47, CEO of Shvasa and mom to a 12-year-old son.

Breathing, in practice, is when the real health benefits of yoga start. But Shvasa is so much more.

The tagline promises: Conscious Breathing. Real Fitness. Mindful Living.

The benefits of yoga on the body are well known from core strengthening which reduces lower back pain and increased flexibility from stretching to stress reduction that comes from regular exercise, but Singhdeo says it’s really the breath that is the flow of yoga, the flow of life and the secret to reduced stress, mindfulness and real health.

“Yoga masters study and understand the power of breath. Something we all do without conscious thought, but when used correctly it can have profound effects on health and well-being.”

Personal Attention Deepens the Practice

Today, streaming workouts have become quite the norm, but they are often jam packed with more people because accessibility to the class is easier and less limited by physical classroom space.

The Shvasa platform was custom-built to provide features that allow for engagement with the instructor as needed, chat and music, however the one thing that students will notice is the limited class size and focus on personal attention that other platforms do not offer.

Shvasa offers 14 to 20 classes each day across every time zone, however they’re continuously adding more classes and anticipate offering more than 100 by the end of 2022. Classes include various forms of yoga from slow restorative and faster-paced vinyasa to breathing techniques, pranayama and daily, 30-minute live meditation classes.

No more than 10–15 people are allowed in each online yoga class so that the teacher can offer personalized instruction to each student. This focus on each student’s form — making corrections and giving insights — allows students to advance and see results in optimal time, deepening their practice.

Students say that this personal attention makes the value of each class worth so much more, not to mention the ease of jumping from home office to yoga mat in minutes.

“Shvasa is not just a yoga class,” says Singhdeo. “It’s about you taking control of your health and habits for a healthier, fuller life.”

More Than Streaming Fitness. Create a Lasting Habit

Everyone has the best intentions when they set a “resolution” or promise to themselves for the new year. Those one or two — or more — goals you want to accomplish in the next 12 months. However, a majority of people stop or give up on their resolutions by Valentine’s Day.

The reason is because most people think about really big goals such as losing 50 pounds, but experts say that those big goals can begin to feel like major mountains and the reason most will give up before they are even a small way up the trail. Instead, setting smaller, more realistic goals can motivate through a feeling of accomplishment and keep you moving forward to achieve the goal.

It’s about forming a healthy habit.

Habits are usually formed when there is an action and a reaction and then a reaction to that reaction (Hook’s Law). Shvasa helps students form a relationship with a teacher who expects to see them in regular classes, holding participants accountable.

Singhdeo says that Shvasa was built to make it as easy as possible to create and maintain a lasting healthy habit through short-term milestones that lead to long term benefits.

Used by yogis around the world, Shvasa teaches the concept of sankalpa” the superhuman power of resolve — determination — to achieve anything they desire.

“I’ve given up a lot of my bad habits and started good ones using sankalpa,” said Singhdeo. “Decide to start a new habit. Set an intention to do that one thing for 40 days. Act on it by saying ‘I will do this for 40 days’ and watch your mind become stronger and your desires become a reality.”

Shvasa’s dedication to helping students build a lasting new habit and practice goes one step further. The platform tracks each student’s journey and progress from Day 1. Singhdeo said that this simple offering is the key to a student’s success in achieving their health goals.

“When you see that you’re making progress — just a little each day, each week — then you’re more likely to stick with it and see it through. It’s the best motivation to stick to this new habit.”

Building a Global Community

One of the more unique experiences this writer had during my free trial of Shvasa was the interaction with people from all over the world in the same class.

From Toronto, Chicago and San Diego to India we were all amazed that we were talking with one another and practicing together. That kind of energy created such a powerful feeling in the class, and I felt my practice elevate.

“We have a unique opportunity to build an inclusive community of people from around the world,” Singhdeo said. “That’s been an unexpected benefit of Shvasa.”

Shvasa plans to expand on this with future features that allow people to interact on the platform from around the world. Singhdeo says the opportunities are endless.

The Power of an Experienced Team

At the end of the day, to create an innovative streaming platform featuring one of the world’s oldest, most revered practices requires mastery and a lot of experience.

So, it’s no surprise that Shvasa instructors, including Singhdeo, a successful entrepreneur, have spent thousands of hours of practice and intense study to become master yoga and meditation instructors.

Singhdeo leveraged her technology expertise to raise the bar for the Shvasa experience. She co-founded and served as chief operating officer of a fashion and baby ecommerce website babyoye.com, which raised $20 million in funding from Accel Partners and Tiger Global and was later acquired by The Mahindra Group. She was also a vice president at Infoedge India — a successfully listed Internet company.

Shvasa’s global head of yoga, Pradeep Sattwamaya, spent two years living at Gangadarshan, a traditional Yoga gurukula along the banks of river Ganga in Bihar. He completed the first 12-year phase of his discipleship with his guru, Paramhamsa Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati, in 2016.

Pradeep has more than 21years of experience teaching yoga as well and has trained teachers around the world. He has also practiced and closely studied the Mysore Ashtanga Yoga and Iyengar Yoga.

The co-founder and chief technology officer, Vikalp Jain, suffered chronic throat infections and allergies until he started practicing pranayama — breath regulation practice. After a few months, his throat improved, and after six months his allergies disappeared. That was 15 years ago. He graduated from IIT Mumbai and founded Acadgild — India’s leading skilling platform.

Don’t let the team leaders’ expertise intimidate you. Let it inspire you. Singhdeo concedes that it took eight months for her to perform yoga poses when she started practicing just seven years ago.

“I couldn’t do anything,” she said. “Be consistent. Just come to class. You start breathing through your nose. It’s about finding that right inspiration. You change one thing at a time.”

She kept trying, and urges everyone to just start attending yoga class, even if it’s one class per week.

“In yoga, the teacher and the technique are central,” Singhdeo said. “There’s a saying: ‘Instead of going around in a field looking for the coin, the teacher can tell you where the coin fell.’ This is where you are. This is the next step and the next. It’s a vital component for you to reach that higher level of who you really are.”

Singhdeo speaks from experience, since she has advanced to master teacher level herself.

“What I’ve experienced is so phenomenal,” she said. “Everything you wish for happens.”

And that seems to be proving true.

Since the company’s launch in fall 2020, it has seen a 100% month over month increase and 500% increase in subscription growth so far in 2021, with a staggering 99% subscriber retention rate.

You can experience Shvasa with a seven-day free trial. A monthly subscription for one class per week costs $59 (U.S.); class twice per week is $79, and an unlimited class subscription is $99 a month or a little more than $3 per class. One on one, private sessions are available for $40 per class, also allowing two family members or friends with a similar body rhythm to practice together. www.Shvasa.com.

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Jennifer Fortney

TrepSess Host/Editor; Cascade PR-Story Agency; global startup->small enterprise marcom & growth expert. Author, speaker, contributor. Music is my coffee.