Vanakkam in the classical Tamil language of southern India, is a deeply meaningful and reverent way of recognizing the divinity of those we come in contact with. It is a beautiful way of conveying our deep respect and salutations. It is this attitude that yoga practitioners will bring to all aspects of their lives if they truly desire to make contact with that divinity hidden just beneath the surface. When we see Yoga for what it is – our vehicle of liberation – then this attitude naturally arises. Without this attitude of respect and humility the truth that we are seeking will be forever beyond our reach. ‘vanakkam means we are willing to accept people as people, our bodies as our bodies, yoga as yoga. Instead of grasping at what we think we want we are able to open the door for yoga as it is. Then, when we are silent and open, Yoga will come to us.
“We are not choosing yoga, actually we think we are choosing yoga, but when yoga chooses us, yogam — the quality of yoga — comes to us.” — Master Sudhakar
Broken down, vana stands stands for intelligence; the intelligence of Atman, which is the true self hidden beyond the ego, the lotus hidden in the forrest. Vana is the light that clears our ignorance and lights our path. This light, this intelligence is yoga.
When you improve the quality of your mind, when you find the lotus hidden in the forrest–the hidden truth of yourself, you find happiness. In Vanakkam ‘KA’ represents this happiness, pleasure, joy. Once you are able to welcome all things into your life with joy I-ness and My-ness dissolve. The result is Kaam — love.
We have created this school as an offering to the world, a remedy for the blindness that has left so many of us wandering aimlessly in the forrest. We humbly dedicate the Vanakkam school of Yoga to the great and accomplished Yoga Siddhas who have gone before us on this path.
The Vanakkam Yoga School was created to intelligently approach Hatha asana practices for any student to improve and integrate their physical, social, mental, intellectual, spiritual, and environmental health in all 6 dimensions. Instead of solely centering on the final posture as a goal or only one aspect to attain health, VYS embodies a methodical progressive practice emphasizing the benefit of asanas as stated by Swami Svatmarama in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. In the sutra,Kuryattadasanam Sthairyamarogyam Cangalaghavam, he defines that the true benefit of asana practice occurs when “stability is gained, disease is absent, lightness and wellness of the body is felt” in all levels of health. Our school aims to instill a balance engaging all layers of awareness to attain multi-dimensional health in a manner that requires the least amount of energy expenditure. When asanas are practiced in this way energy will be gained instead of exhausted through force or unsteadiness of the mind.
Master Sudhakar’s teachings emphasizes sub-basic postures leading in and out of asanas in addition to the final postures as a way to attain a stable mind and body through inner power not outer force. Always focusing on a theme or intention where the attention is on awareness, overcoming fear, relaxation, and experiencing inner grace, this school of yoga will grant you with mindful experiences through asana practice to calm down your mind and invoke a renewed sense of self-awareness and health on all planes of life.
About Master Sudhakar
Born in the spiritually renowned temple city of Kancheepuram, South India, Sudhakar was blessed to have started practicing yoga at the young age of 11. Although initially sent for yoga practice to learn discipline because he was an unruly child, Sudhakar quickly embraced the wise teachings and spiritual education from his first guru Swami Chandrananda. Establishing a foundation in the yamas and niyamas (social and self disciplines) along with regular asana practice under his guru, Sudhakar transformed from a mischievous young boy to a creative talented yoga student. Under the advice of Swami Chidroopananda, who recognized Sudhakar’s talents and passion to share his master’s teachings, Sudhakar completed his teacher training at the International Sivananda Yoga Centre at the age of 15. As the youngest graduate, Sudhakar was notably awarded ‘Yoga Sharomani’, or ‘Best Teacher’ award.
In 2001, Sudhakar returned to Sivananda, in Kerala, to advance his teaching techniques. His talents as a teacher trainer, his innovative teaching style and commitment to his students, earned him the title, ‘Yoga Yogacharya’, meaning ‘Master of Yoga’. Sudhakar has since founded the Sree Narayana Guru Yoga Institute in India, offering yoga classes for teenagers and adults and has trained thousands of yoga students, many of whom have become yoga champions, both nationally and internationally. From 2006 to 2013, Sudhakar had been teaching in Hong Kong, sharing his school of yoga — Dheesan yoga. And now, he has created the Vanakkam Yoga School — where he is equipping students and yoga practitioners with the right tools to prepare them for their journey through Yogic Philosophy and their Hatha Yoga practice.
A blessing from his mother, Sudhakar was named Sudha, meaning the Sun, with the sincere wish that her son would realise the same light he had bought to her and would share this knowledge with others, transforming darkness to light. Always keeping her wish in his heart, Sudhakar has been committed to share the light that has been granted to him through the knowledge of ancient yoga techniques, gained from his own masters and siddhars. Realising that yoga teaching was a calling, a path chosen for him, Sudhakar has embraced the role of teacher and has taught his students, with the genuine wish that they receive the same life-changing gifts that he has witnessed through his own practice.