Saurabh Bothra Talks About Combining His Passion for Yoga with Business to Promote Healthier Habits and Supportive Communities

Saurabh Bothra Talks About Combining His Passion for Yoga with Business to Promote Healthier Habits and Supportive Communities
Saurabh Bothra, CEO and Certified Yoga Instructor at Habuild

In this exclusive interview, StartupTalky talks with Saurabh Bothra, CEO and Certified Yoga Instructor at Habuild. Saurabh combines his passion for yoga with business to help people develop healthier habits and create supportive communities.

Through Habuild, his goal is to make yoga accessible to everyone and promote sustainable living. Join us as Saurabh shares his journey, the challenges he faced, and his vision for a healthier world on this International Yoga Day.

StartupTalky: What inspired you to combine your passion for yoga with entrepreneurship to create Habuild?

Mr. Bothra: Habuild wasn’t intentional - it was born from a realisation.

The lockdown was an eye-opener for me. Watching my mom tirelessly manage the household made me wonder if she ever took a moment for herself. I realised many women, like my mom, mistakenly see household chores as sufficient exercise. This was our ‘eureka’ moment at Habuild.

But I instantly realised that the only way to encourage more people to practise yoga is to help them cultivate the habit and not quit. Yoga is a medium to reach out to the community, but our bigger goal will always be around helping them stick with whatever they start.

StartupTalky: Could you share a highlight from your journey as a certified Yoga instructor that significantly shaped your approach to wellness?

Mr. Bothra: One key realisation has significantly shaped my approach to wellness - motivation is not enough!

People are aware of the benefits of taking certain actions for their health, and these benefits often increase motivation. However, while the focus is too much on the results, one extremely important thing goes unnoticed - THE POWER OF CONSISTENCY.

That’s when I understood that building habits is more important than just having motivation. This insight shaped my approach to wellness, focusing on helping people create lasting habits rather than just short-term goals.

Saurabh Bothra Certified Yoga Instructor and CEO, Habuild
Saurabh Bothra Certified Yoga Instructor and CEO, Habuild

StartupTalky: How did you start the initiative to connect 2.4 million people to yoga for 21 days, and what impact did it have?

Mr. Bothra: Connecting 2.4 million people to yoga for 21 days was never our initial aim. Initially, we offered only free sessions, which later transitioned into paid ones. During the second week of COVID, we went back to offering free sessions before switching to paid again. This approach worked exceptionally well in terms of referrals and reaching more people.

We realised that in India, the freemium model is incredibly effective. The principle of "pehle istemal karo fir vishwas karo" builds trust. In India, people need to experience something before they understand its value.

StartupTalky: How does Habuild approach habit-building through yoga and meditation, and what strategies have you found most effective?

Mr. Bothra: I talk about habits in three simple terms:

  • Make it Simple: Break down routines into manageable steps.
  • Create a Support System: Surround yourself with a supportive community.
  • Trust in Yourself:  This is extremely important if you seek lasting change.

By focusing on these three simple steps, we've found that our approach to habit-building resonates deeply with our community. It makes yoga and meditation easier and helps everyone feel more confident and accomplished.

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StartupTalky: Can you explain Habuild's commitment to environmental sustainability, such as the tree-planting initiative based on referrals?

Mr. Bothra: In 2024, the world witnessed one of the most intense and longest heat waves in the past 100-120 years. At Habuild, we believe that a healthy planet is essential for our well-being. This is why sustainability is at the heart of our mission. We asked our participants to invite 5 friends and we will plant a tree on their behalf. 

While planting 50,000 trees may not directly impact us, it's about each of us doing our part, no matter how big or small, to create positive change and inspire others to do the same.

StartupTalky: What are the common challenges people face in sticking to wellness routines, and how can they overcome them?

Mr. Bothra: A common issue people face is going all in at once or doing nothing at all. 

While motivation is great, it needs to be paired with consistency. It's essential to take things one step at a time and not rely solely on motivation. Start on a day when you're least motivated and do as much as you are capable of. When you commit to doing a small amount consistently every day, you will see the results. This approach helps build lasting habits and ensures steady progress.

StartupTalky: How does Habuild's program for diabetes use yoga and lifestyle changes to tackle health issues in India?

Mr. Bothra: Diabetes is a lifestyle issue. While many rely on medications which suppress symptoms, it's crucial to tackle the root cause. At Habuild, we focus on improving lifestyles, starting with yoga. It's not just about poses - yoga is a way of living that aims for a balanced lifestyle.

Once your diet is in place, your metabolism is better, your mind is healthy - you will develop a potential to tackle or manage lifestyle disorders like diabetes.

Additionally, we also offer resistance training, Habuild Kitchen, and diabetic-friendly recipes to support diabetes management.

StartupTalky: As both an entrepreneur and a wellness advocate, how do you balance these two roles? What lessons have you learned from integrating wellness into a business model?

Mr. Bothra: Balancing these two roles is something I haven’t done before - everything’s been new to me.

And starting afresh brings stress, discomfort, and quite a lot of challenges. But I believe it’s a learning journey. I handle difficulties by practising what I preach.

Yoga has been my rock - it keeps me grounded and resilient. Balancing business and wellness is easier when I stay true to my yoga lifestyle. I always tell my students to focus on the process, not the results. The same rule applies to me - it makes the journey less challenging and more rewarding.

StartupTalky: What are your future plans and goals for Habuild, particularly in expanding its impact in wellness and yoga?

Mr. Bothra: Our goal at Habuild is simple -  do as much as we can. I often repeat during our sessions, 'jitna ho sake karte raho' - it's our mantra. This applies to both me and our organisation. We're committed to making a difference in people's lives.

Our focus is not solely on achieving specific milestones or targets but on consistently taking action to positively impact people's lives. The milestones we achieve along the way are considered to be the by-products of sustained efforts and dedication.

StartupTalky: Can you share a personal story that shaped your perspective on the power of yoga and wellness in entrepreneurship?

Mr. Bothra: As a yogi, I've learned the importance of having a balanced life and a flexible approach. Applying this to my business, I strive to maintain a balance between ambition and playfulness at work. It's one thing to be flexible on a yoga mat, but the benefits of yoga extend far beyond physical flexibility. Yoga has taught me to be mentally flexible, better preparing me for the plot twists in this journey. 

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