Is Yoga today a status symbol for high class and middle-class families?

Yoga – Going all hot on this less discussed yet certainly an overwhelming topic of this age-old system and keeping long things short, the answer has to be yes- it has been converted into a status symbol. Taking into perspective not only how Yoga has evolved from a daily practice in Indian households to a 'delicacy in action' by some so-called 'rich' households of INDIA to how it turned into a commercialized market in the United States, we go through some facts to reach a somewhat obvious consensus.



Some facts

Putting the facts simply, in United States, for instance, there are the weekly classes at $30 a session, the $180-a-month gym membership, the daily $10 cold green juice, the highly expensive organic skincare products, and the piles of fresh produce and hard-to-find supplements from digestible grains, keeping aside some “for the rich only” packages ($500-an-hour trainers, $750 one time facials) and designer duds to complete the look. For the common masses, spending so much on staying fit and healthy would be something unthinkable and out of question once applied, but for a growing percentage of individuals with high income, “overt” and “conspicuous” has become an important part of their “under construction” luxury lifestyle.


The change

When the global market recession was at its peak in 2008, shoppers hunting for luxury items became more unwilling to purchase goods that overtly advertised their wealth. The phenomenon commenced in an era of discreetly luxurious brands and a label-less aesthetic that made it harder (for the unaware and the misinformed) to digest and predict how much a garment or handbag actually costs. Now, these people can be seen washing away their money into boutique fitness classes and expensive sportswear. If five years ago it was a Gucci bag, their status symbol for these days might just be a  sports manufacturer's hoodie and green juice with an umbrella-topped straw.

So, as a part of the preliminary conclusion, exercise has become another arena to compare and contrast your personality, expenditure levels and lifestyle with others.

These days in India, especially in big cities like Delhi, Pune, Bangalore, people who used to talk about where they’re going on holiday or what new restaurant they’ve tried or which next state temple they're planning to visit can be seen talking about what new classes they’re taking.”



So logically speaking, getting the body you want might be the end goal, but for some, membership to premium yoga trainers or coaching centers or a yoga boot camp alone might be enough. The psychological factor might be the indictment of the feeling that you are a part of an elite group has been a huge and long termed purchase motivator.

There are other factors as well. With income inequality at an all-time high (in a nation like India this is rampant and obvious to all) and obesity rates continuing to spike among individuals—even as this wellness culture flourishes among the priviliged—eating right can give the privileged class a sense of moral superiority. So more or less, this is it – when you spend big bucks on experiences that are supposedly good for you, there seems to be less guilt than when it is just a physical luxury item.

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