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”.
Active in politics, Sundaram participated in the “Quit India” agitation against the British as President of Bangalore chapter of the Congress party.
Sundaram was also deeply involved in Scouting and was a Scout Master, winning the prestigious Mysore Kings flag.
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 classical 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”.
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 me when I gave the excuse of being busy for not performing my asanas was – “only a busy man finds time”.
Principle instructor and teacher under Yogacharya Sundaram, Taught at “Sundara Yoga Sala” for over 30 years.
Shri. Suryanarayanan was a prolific teacher of Yoga in Bangalore. He started a Yoga school called “Patanjali Yoga Center” and taught Yoga for over 4 decades.