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The Business of Breathing


Take a deep breath.


Evidence of yoga dates back to 2700 BC and meditation to around 1500 BCE. Ancient mind and body practices that originated from Eastern religious or spiritual traditions are now mainstream practices and reap benefits at no cost (other than your time and a membership fee perhaps). Can you believe that?


How mainstream are we talking?

  • Specialized boutique studios have opened all over major cities
  • Website businesses
  • Podcasts
  • E-books
  • Apps
  • Corporate wellness programs
  • Colleges



What are Complementary/Alternative Health Approaches?


The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) recently shared The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). This survey is considered the main source of information on Americans’ health. The results validate the popularity of ongoing trends and potential megatrends in the realm of health and wellness.


Wait, what are complementary health approaches? I’m glad you asked. According to the NCCIH, if “a non-mainstream practice is used together with conventional medicine; it’s considered “complementary.” Some examples of complementary practices include yoga and meditation. The NCCIH are the people who conduct scientific research studies on these mind and body approaches. Cool, huh? I think so.


*The NNCCIH is the Federal Government’s lead agency for scientific research on complementary and integrative health approaches. *


Why are they so popular?


Remember that survey I mentioned? It revealed Americans are implementing various complementary health practices now more than ever. The practice of U.S. adults engaging in yoga has almost doubled from 2002 to 2012. Meditation resulted to be one of the top five most frequently used complementary practice throughout the year 2002, 2007 and 2012.


NIH scientific studies reveal evidence that meditation decreases blood pressure and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. It has the potential to alleviate depression, anxiety and help people who struggle with insomnia.


Studies on yoga reveal similar results such as relief from stress, depression, insomnia and low-back pain, to name a few.


Both these practices have a common purpose, mindfulness, awareness. That awareness is only reached with hours of engaging in the techniques and methodologies. A commitment to awareness is required. But how do businesses create awareness about awareness?



Marketing mindfulness


I think it’s worth the time to analyze the macroenvironment of this mindful industry because it has signs of a megatrend which will potentially influence social, economic, political and technological changes. This significant shift could offer opportunities and strengths. Some strengths may include but not be limited to, marketing communication modes such as word-of-mouth. Yoga and meditation devotees may spread the word to their families and friends about their improved moods and pain relief. This promotes the authenticity of the practice in the most authentic way. I think public relations would be the next best mode of communication to employ. Building relationships with media concentrated in the health and wellness industry could help craft valuable insight to their niche audiences.


On the contrary, some Americans are skeptical of the benefits and have a misconception about the practice itself. Photos of people practicing advanced yoga pose on mountain tops or sitting in lotus pose under a waterfall often depict an unrealistic picture of a typical yogi or meditator. That being said, this misconstruction could also be an opportunity to educate the community about the simplicity of these practices. It could be an opportunity to aggressively re-brand yoga and meditation. The threats will be featured in the upcoming article in November.


The business behind these mind and body practices facilitate the goal of marketing due to the apparent mutually beneficial and healthy exchange relationship existing in these happy-hormone producing practices.


The challenge stands to provoke behavior in an untapped market segment. 


I challenge you to be aware of your breath today. If you catch your breath and acknowledge it, you have practiced awareness, one of the most integral parts of yoga and meditation, my friend.


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