Sarvesh Shashi - CEO, Zorba Yoga Studios and his mission to help 7 billion souls. [Part 1/3]
Sarvesh Shashi, 25 is the CEO of Zorba Yoga Studios. He is millionaire CEO with his life devoted to Yoga. ATG had the opportunity to interview Sarvesh about Zorba and what motivates him in his life.
How did Zorba get started? Can you share any incident you remember during the struggle days of setting up Zorba?
Sarvesh: Between 17-21 with my background with all due respect and dignity, I have gone silent for 10 days, 40 days. I left a lot of things that I was entitled to have, rather, and and all things like that, you know. I did a lot of South America. And at 21 when my dad said ‘Sarvesh, you have to get into my business, which I wasn’t very keen on, the only reason I could give was I was starting my own. And I thought what better to start than something that I believed in, that is, yoga and I started the yoga company – a yoga studio rather and in the next 15-16 months. 18 months ago we had 73 studios.
Wow! That is really fast, really nice. Sarvesh, can you share any incident, maybe during the struggling days of Zorba or during the initial days of Zorba, you know, which might interest us, like any incident where you struggled and you learnt a lot?
Sarvesh: [Chuckles] Every phase is a beautiful struggle. I will not say anything has been very easy at all. Everything has been a struggle but a beautiful one - something that I learned from. I would say that the most struggle-struggle part would be in the April-Dec. In about 5-6 months’ time, we made decent enough money which kind of hit my head as a 21 year old and I left out of Chennai to the airport asking the people here to manage saying that ‘Abhi to kaam ho gaya hain. Hum to paisa kar rahe hain. Aap log dekh lijiye, main jaa raha hoon’. I left and that kind of hit a very bad snag. We went minus negative balance. A lot of drama happened and I had to come back from wherever I went. And then I kind of set it all up in the next 45 days. I ran like a mad dog. I used to come back, I used to take a class, I used to clean the studio, I used to go outside, do the valet parking, come out to the studio, register somebody, and then go take class again because we didn’t have enough money to even pay an extra instructor.
Sarvesh: I haven’t taken any monetary support from my dad apart from real estate that he provided us. I said ‘let me see what I can do’ and that’s what happened and the whole idea is still a struggle, because my aim was to get yoga to the youngsters, to get yoga to people who are in the age group of I would say 13 to 21/25 was the major goal, so I started with 25 forms of yoga which did excite a lot of people.
I’m trying to break the myths of yoga that yoga is only Surya Namaskar and meditation, yoga is only for old people, yoga is only for women, yada yada yada. So I’m saying ‘listen, yoga is a lifestyle'. You and me talking right now is yoga because yoga means unification of brain, body and soul. ‘Yog’ means to unite.
That’s really great, Sarvesh.
So my next question is - How do you see Zorba in about 5 years’ time?
Sarvesh: Saurabh, you might think that I’m answering very stupidly. I think I’m bred not to think too much about what needs to be done but yes if you ask what is your vision in 5 years, I would say connecting 7 billion breaths. I know whether we go brick and mortar or whether we go digital, in some way or the other, what Starbucks did to coffee, zumba did to dance, Zorba wants to do with yoga.