About School Of Yoga

What is the School of Yoga?

School of Yoga is a Yoga resource which seeks to become a complete knowledge center for classical yoga, as was developed by the ancient seers of India – to be a tool for fitness, health and spiritual development.

Introduction to School of Yoga:

Yoga caught the imagination of the world in the 1960’s. It was fueled by the great social changes unleashed by prosperity of the post-World War 2 boom. First, it started as an experiment by a few practitioners with meditation. Soon, many a school of yoga were started for teaching this aspect of Yoga.

Initially, early practitioners were adventurers venturing from the west to India to practice an exotic oriental practice. Then, when results became visible, more practitioners started getting interested in Yoga and its various techniques. Slowly, this trickle became a wave as more practitioners came to India for knowledge of Yoga. Simultaneously, Yoga teachers from India, started going to various parts of the world to teach Yoga and establish schools for teaching Yoga. 

Yoga, as a subject has metamorphosed in the past 10 years. What was initially an exotic idea has transformed into an essential component of modern lifestyle. However, this has come at a cost – Yoga has moved away from its classical yoga base to many random variations, some that skirt the very definition of yoga.

School of Yoga seeks to bring focus of Yoga practice back to its ancient roots.

About School of Yoga:

School of Yoga site follows the Yogacharya Sundaram method of classical Yoga. Yogacharya Sundaram was a pioneer Yoga teacher, author, composer and Yoga therapist. He began teaching and practicing in the early 1920’s. School of Yoga is started and managed by his family of 4 generations of classical Yoga teachers and practitioners to whom practicing Yoga is as natural as breathing.

At School of Yoga, we try to collate all material available on classical yoga, resources all theory available on the subject, invites contributions from writers, publishers and other thinkers. Also, School of Yoga connects with practitioners, teachers, therapists and dieticians so that visitors find the most contemporary solution. 

Hence, School of Yoga is a site for you! Here, your Yoga experience is valued and we would like you to share and enrich other practitioners with your experience.

Some significant contributions of the family of Yogacharya Sundaram to Yoga:
  • Second oldest family of Yoga masters, teachers, researchers, writers and therapists.
  • Second oldest Yoga class started by Yogacharya Sundaram in 1921
  • First English manual on Yoga (Yogic Physical Culture) published by Yogacharya Sundaram in 1928
  • First to publish Yogic Physical Culture in Kannada – 1930
  • First Tamil manual on Yoga (Ananda Rahasyam) published by Yogacharya Sundaram in 1938
  • First to write on Yoga in an English periodical (Brahmacharyam – 1927) and a Tamil periodical (Ananda Vikadan – 1936)
  • First to start a printing press exclusively for Yoga (Yogacharya Sundaram and son Balasubramanian) – 1948.
  • First Indian female Yoga teacher and instructor – Jayalakshmi (daughter of Yogacharya Sundaram).
  • Composed and released audio cassette on “Yoga Nidra” and Pranayama – Acharya Ram (Sunderraman, son of Yogacharya Sundaram).
  • Prepared and published Yoga chart – Acharya Ram (Sunderraman, son of Yogacharya Sundaram).
Contributors to www.schoolofyoga.in:
  • S. Jayaram – Grandson of Sundaram. Supports printing and publishing.
  • Aditya Jayaram – Great grandson of Sundaram. Supports web design and services.
  • Vishwanath Iyer – Grandson of Sundaram. Manages site and content.
  • Akshara Vishwanath – Great granddaughter of Sundaram – UX support.
  • Priya Chittur – Great granddaughter of Sundaram. Supports content evaluation.

About the Yogis in the family of Yogacharya Sundaram:

Shri. Seetharam Iyer

Father of Yogacharya Sundaram practicing Sarvangasana in the 1960’s @ age 80+

Shri. Yogacharya S. Sundaram (25 Feb 1901 – 26 December 1994) –

Yoga pioneer, lawyer, freedom fighter, author, publisher and composer.

Sundaram was born into a poor Tamil Brahmin family which moved to Bangalore from Madurai, India, when Sundaram was very young. Initially, at age 11, Sundaram was taught asanas by a Maharashtrian lady. Consequently, with practice, he grew from a sickly adolescent to a healthy man. After passing Intermediate in Madurai, he moved to Bangalore. Here, he passed many exams and qualified as a lawyer, a profession he held for around 30 years.

Simultaneously, Sundaram started teaching Yoga to the masses through classes and public demonstration in 1921 – at an age of 21.

A keen author, Sundaram published the world’s first manual on yogasana, called “Yogic Physical Culture” in 1928 at age 27. Additionally, Sundaram also was a prolific writer in Tamil, writing many books and regularly contributed articles to a popular Tamil magazine “Ananda Vikatan”. Finally, around 1945, he started his own publishing establishment called “The Yoga Publishing House”.

Yogacharya Sundaram – the nationalist…

Active in politics, Sundaram participated in the “Quit India” agitation against the British as President of Bangalore chapter of the Congress party.

Evolution into Classical Yoga

Deep spiritual change came after coming into contact with his Guru – Shri. Ananda Giri around 1944. Thereafter, the tone and tenor of his living moved from material to spiritual. Sundaram spent more time in introspection and reflection of reality. Consequently, he changed his approach to a more classsical yoga path, using yoga as a tool for health and therapy with the final destination of liberation.

Sundaram was a prolific writer, writing and publishing books and articles in English, Tamil, Kannada and Sanskrit. He maintained his own printing press and publishing house specifically for Yoga literature in the form of books and quarterly magazines. Also, he published his own monthly magazine in tamil called “Sundarodayam” and a daily news paper called “Dina Tabal”.

Author:

Additionally, he composed over 1400 devotional songs or kirtanas and 500 hyms or bhajans, while finding time to treat patients for illness with asana without compromising on practicing of his own asana routine and meditation of 5 hours every day.

Indeed, his favourite advise to anyone who gave the excuse of being busy for not performing asanas regularly was – “only a busy man finds time”.

Smt. Jeyalakshmi – Yoga Teacher and daughter of Yogacharya Sundaram- (5 May 1922 – 19 May 2013)

Yoga teacher and daughter of Yogacharya Sundaram. Possibly, one of the world’s first female Indian Yoga instructor, started teaching in the 1950’s.

She follows Indira Devi, who after several experiments opened her Yoga Studio in San Francisco in 1947 and becomes the first female Yoga teacher in the world.

Smt. Jayalakshmi became involved in Sundara Yoga-sala activities in the early 1950’s when she was around 30. Her contribution came in two forms, first as a Yoga teacher for women and second as a Chef and dietician under Yogacharya Sundaram.

Sundaram’s technique of treating illness was through Yoga and diet. Dietary controls were stringent and each patient had a different dietary requirement. Since, many of the patients stayed at Sundara Yoga-sala, their meals had to be cooked in the family kitchen and this was controlled by Smt. Jayalakshmi.

Additionally, Smt. Jayalakshmi was an accomplished musician and she was pivotal in converting Yogacharya Sundaram’s Carnatic compositions into sheet music.

Suffice to say, Smt. Jayalakshmi’s contribution to Sundaram’s evolution in Yoga-therapy and music was significant.

Sri. S. Suryanarayanan (21 Sep 1925 – 15 Mar 2016) – Yoga teacher and son of Yogacharya Sundaram.

Shri. Suryanarayan was Sundaram’s eldest son. He learned asanas from his father at a very young age and joined British Indian Air Force in pre-independence India. Legend has it that he practiced even at the barracks.

Post this stint and after working in the industry, he started “Patanjali Yoga Center” at Bangalore in 1970, an establishment that he helmed for over 50 years.

Shri Suryanarayan’s classes were popular with both, professionals seeking regular health as well as people with illnesses seeking relief. His approach was holistic, with a combination of asana, praaNayama and dhyana with diet control. In fact, his attitude was that there must be a balance of “Mind, Body & Soul”.  Every student received personalized attention, guidance and a need specific diet chart.  Several of his students teach Yoga and run successful Yoga schools in India and abroad. 

In addition to being a committed Yoga teacher, Suryanarayan was a voracious reader of classical Advaita philosophy and practitioner of Gayathri-Upasana, practicing yoga and spiritual practices till his death at the age of 90.

Shri S. Balasubramanian (31 August 1927 – 15-4-2007) – writer, printer, editor and publisher.

From the beginning, Sundaram wrote all his books under the banner “The Yoga Publishing House”. By the early 1940’s the number of books that he’d written had grown as had their popularity. The pressure made printing a bottleneck and Sundaram decided to start a printing press – The Sundaram Press on St. John’s Road in 1948.

The press was managed by Sundaram’s second son, Balasubramaniam, who subsequently became a printer, writer and editor of note. Balasubramanian edited a Tamil bi-weekly paper called “Dina Tabaal”, a bimonthly magazine called “Sundrodayam” and handled many other printing projects.

Shri. S. Sunderraman (April 1932) – Yoga teacher and son of Yogacharya Sundaram.

Shri. Sunder Raman or Acharya Ram, as he was known, was initiated into yoga at a young age by his father, Sundaram. He then enrolled in the Indian Air force and served for about a decade!

Upon return in early 1960’s, he joined his father’s Yoga establishment and taught Yoga within Bangalore at various industries such as ITI, HMT and BEL.

His effervescent personality and superb communication skills made him brilliantly suited to personalised Yoga and he transformed himself into a boutique “Acharya Ram” Yoga brand.  

In the early 1970’s “Acharya Ram” started a Yoga and wellness center at ITDC Hotel Ashok, Bangalore, teaching Yoga and managing the health of the Hotel’s guests as well as many well-known personalities.

As the early 90’s progressed, when the IT boom was taking over Bangalore and IT professionals were facing work related stress, Acharya Ram developed a Stress management programs tailored for IT Professionals which he rolled out throughout Bangalore with Yoga lectures and demonstrations.

Additionally, he launched audio cassettes and CD’s on Yoga-nidra and PraaNayama which became very popular (Yoga-Nidra – available at the end of https://schoolofyoga.in/yoga-asana/shavasana).

Finally, he started his own Yoga Institute, called “Yoga Kendra” in Bangalore where he taught for over 30 years.

Smt. Sarada Krishnan (May 1941) – Yoga practitioner and daughter of Yogacharya Sundaram –

As a young girl of 7, Smt. Sarada was diagnosed with TB. This was at a time when TB was a killer disease in India. However, her father Yogacharya Sundaram ensured her recovery from the TB gland using Yoga and diet. She perfected the entire suite of asanas at an early age and supported Yogacharya Sundaram as a demonstrator, becoming possibly India’s first female Yoga demonstrator when she demonstrated asanas at 1950 @ Trichy.

Demonstrating asanas in the 1955.

Shri. G. Sundara Madhavan (October 1947) –Yoga demonstrator and grandson of Yogacharya Sundaram.

Taught Yoga under Sundaram for over 30  years.

Shri. G Viswanathan (10 April, 1953 – 13 Jan 1996) – Yoga teacher and grandson

Principle instructor and teacher under Yogacharya Sundaram, Taught at “Sundara Yoga Sala” for over 30 years.

Shri B. Sivasubramaniaan (April 1954) – Grandson of Sundaram

Yoga practitioner and printer of two of Yogacharya’s books from 1968-1977.

Smt. Banu Suresh (August 1962) grand-daughter, yoga teacher, demonstrator and practitioner

Yoga practitioner and teacher for over 20 years with her father, Shri Sunderraman (Acharya Ram)

Smt. Sujata Krishnan (Jan 1964) grand-daughter, yoga demonstrator and practitioner

Yoga demonstrator and instructor, Sujata participated in multiple events with her father and grandfather.

Chi. N.K. Param (Feb 1989) and Smt. Kritika (Sep 1991)

Great grandchildren of Sh. Yogacharya Sundaram – Yoga teachers, demonstrators and practitioners.

Acknowledgements and thanks;

Ø  To Shri. Harish R. – grandson of Sh. Sundaram,  for photographs and permission to publish them on this blog.

Ø  To (Late) Shri R. Balakrishnan – lead disciple of Sh. Sundaram and inheritor of The Yoga Publishing House for sharing the photo and permission to publish them on this blog. Also, you can find out about Shri. Yogacharya Sundaram’s books on – http://www.girinathyoga.org.

Ø To Shri. Balaji V. Nephew of (Late) Shri. R. Balakrishnan – current custodian of Shri. Yogacharya Sundaram’s works. He can be contacted at girinath_cbe@yahoo.com, balajiyoga@gmail.com, girinathyoga@gmail.com for Shri. Yogacharya Sundaram’s books.