A while back I wrote about how I went to a Dahn Yoga class as part of a Groupon and how I had more classes to use. I mentioned that I found the class kind of weird and not at all like “yoga” as I’ve come to know and love yoga. And then people started sharing with me concerning stories about it being a cult.
So short answer is, no… I did not go back.
At first I thought I could go back with an investigative reporter mindset. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I didn’t enjoy the environment all that much. The energy levels of the staff were all over the place, some of them seemed almost crazed they were so energetic and others seemed like they were pissed off at the world.
If it truly does have a cult tie (and I’m not saying that it definitely does or does not) I’d like to avoid that. I would want to assume that I’m strong enough to avoid a “cult” but who knows… most people who get caught up in those probably feel like they should have been strong enough to avoid that!
I didn’t like the way the class spent time at the start beating the abdomen. It wasn’t hard punching, just drumming on the abs… but it doesn’t seem useful or normal to me.
So… how about some other options for some REAL yoga, not weird-chanting-martial-artsish-pseudo-yoga?
Of course, there is always the option of finding a yoga studio. But how do you find the right one? Well, if you live in certain cities, you could buy a Passport to Prana pass. Once purchased, this card grants you access to one class at each of the participating studios in your town. So you get a little “passport” to tour the yoga in your world.
Sadly, they don’t have this available in Las Vegas yet, but they are in the following US cities as of this writing:
ATLANTA, BOSTON, CHICAGO, DALLAS, DENVER, LOS ANGELES, MIAMI, NEW YORK, PHILADELPHIA, PORTLAND, SAN DIEGO, SAN FRANCISCO, SEATTLE, TAMPA BAY
And the following Canadian cities:
CALGARY, EDMONTON, MONTREAL, OTTAWA, TORONTO, VANCOUVER, VICTORIA, WINNIPEG
Another option, that only requires a computer and internet access is Gaiam TV. I signed up for a 30-day free trial for this site at the end of 2011. (They offered 30-days free immediately upon launch to people who had purchased from Gaiam before. The standard for anyone right now is 10-days free.) There are a wide variety of videos available, not just yoga but ones from Jillian Michaels, Walk Away the Pounds series, Tai Chi, Kickboxing, etc.
I tried Kathryn Budig’s Aim True yoga class on there and was really impressed. So if you get on Gaiam TV or if you just find this DVD available, give it a try. She has a very clear manner for instruction and her voice is calming without sounding like she’s trying too hard to be new-agey.
In addition to fitness/yoga workouts, they have movies/tv shows/interviews with a wide range of authorities on a wide range of health-related topics. From environment, spirtuality, metaphysics, etc.
They have an iPhone app too, but when I used it the class offerings via the app were extremely limited and that annoyed me. Upon first launch, the app didn’t seem to offer much, but perhaps they’ve improved now. I’ve let my Gaiam TV trial lapse, but I’d consider signing up as a paying member at some point.
(I just didn’t earlier, because I had my Groupon to Dahn Yoga to use… and that really panned out for me!)
Check out yoga download.com
yogadownload.com is another great resource. I have a lot of their classes on my iPhone.
yogavibes.com is yet another option!
Oh I haven’t seen that. Thanks!!
Hi, I’m a Dahn Yoga teacher and I was interested in reading about your experience. I’m glad you gave the class a shot! Despite the fact that it didn’t turn out to be something you pursued further, it seems you tried to keep an open mind, which is great…
While I can’t comment on the energy or the instructors in the particular class that you experienced I would like to share a little about the warm-up exercise. In my experience, abdominal tapping is a GREAT way to improve breathing, digestive function, blood circulation, and it helps aleviate things like back pain, fatigue, and anxiety. 🙂 As you said, it’s not ‘hitting’ the abdomen but more of a drumming or tapping, which helps relax muscles and increase blood flow.
As an instructor I’ve found it critical to provide an adequate explanation of what and why we are doing this type of exercise. In my own growth as an instructor I’m constantly trying to find new ways to help practicioners understand things like abdominal tapping. 🙂
Anyway, keep up the good work with your ‘investigative reporting’! I am confident the Dahn Yoga practice will be a little better understood (and explained!!) in the future. Although it employs methods that sometimes look really different from other forms of yoga, it truly is a practice akin to the fundamental meaning of the word ‘yoga’ – ‘union’ – to bring the mind and body together.
Happy practicing, and best of luck in your work!
I had been wondering about whether you were planning to do more Dahn yoga! I’m glad you found a solution that works for you. One of the things about Groupon is that it gives you that chance to do things you wouldn’t otherwise do, and of course that doesn’t mean you have to enjoy it and keep going! I have been wondering about Dahn yoga though, after reading about your experience and then seeing a Groupon in NYC for Dahn yoga–$20 for 20 sessions? That just seems strange. And you have to spread it out over 4 or 5 different locations. Also kind of weird!
I’d certainly give http://www.myyogaonline.com a try. They have thousands of classes for 9.95. I am loving their studio classes. It feels as though I am practicing in NY and Vancouver, and LA like I am right there in the class with the teacher. And the support of their community is amazing.
Your yoga experiences sound interesting, but I love that you’re so willing to go out of your comfort area and try new things. I’m always so nervous to try anything where I would be out of my element.
I’m really interested in the gaiam TV. I am on a quest for better health in 2012 and that might be worth a look.
Dahn IS a cult. I’m losing my wife of over 20 years to them. I believe she loves me, but the group has taken her from me. None of the so-called ‘masters’ have partners or families–except Reverend Moon—-I mean Mr. Ilchi Lee, their demi-god who despite having superhuman physical, spiritual and mental powers, hasn’t learned a word of English in his decades here. That says something to me about the group. At the very least they are trying to emulate the Catholic Church in that regard. Just sayin’…..
That’s scary stuff, I’m sorry this is impacting your family!
I have been practicing at a center in NYC for the last six months. I have been a practioner of QiGong styles with different masters and backgrounds for many years. From an energy practice, what I have been taught there works. From a practice of how important it is to stretch the body, many exercises are similar to the basic stretches we all did in gym class in grade school. I always feel better when I leave class and I love the energy and calmness the studio has.
I was made aware of the lawsuit from a massage therapist the other night and found your site from a google search. I can’t say that many other yoga studios, or martial arts dojos, don’t also encourage people to take advanced classes, to go deeper into themselves and to consider becoming a trainer too. I have many friends who do teach different styles because they started out in a class, liked it and their teaches encouraged them to keep growing I their practice.
Their are bad apples in almost every barrel, especially if you look hard enough. I can say with knowledge there is no ‘brainwashing’ which has been done to me that the Master in my studio with whom I am close with has been a friend, a support and is a fantastic women, teacher and healer.
I hope people pick to try something, ask questions about why things are done, and make their own choices. Because following blindly without knowledge and understanding would place you in harms way of people that carry negative energy and desires in any aspect of life. Including following a bloggers opinion and not trying it for themselves – be it here, yelp, or anywhere else.
Hi. I would like to know where you practice QiGong in NYC because I have a friend who got very into Dahn Yoga and was doing great till she found out its cultish properties and hasn’t found anything to replace it. It sounds like you have a great take on Yoga and energy and your studio sounds similar but without the cultish properties that Dahn yoga has.
Hi Jill, in regards to Dahn Yoga/Dahn Hak: This practice is a cult where the so-called masters pressure people to “attain enlightenment” or “grow the soul” through money-draining classes and trainings and products. Initially, you feel good and very light. When you work there, you are expected to be at the center cleaning, out delivering brochures, and at every outreach class or staying late to stuff envelopes to bring in more members. Once they target certain strong individuals who have had past emotional trauma, the masters park outside your house to “send you energy” before you go on trainings. Weird ceremonies in their Sedona compound are of the dark occult but you are told it is to “free the souls or spirits of your ancestors” but it is more like capturing them for their false gods. Soul-sucking mind-thought-brain control coming through your cell-phone, computer, radio, or through group meditations to psychically suck your energy to help the family and lineage and higher-ups of the many umbrella organizations (including the brain institute in Seoul which teaches children ESP) of Il Chi Li overcome disease and to worship the Dongun golden statue thing and incubi/succubi/unclean spirits that visit at night to feed on you. Does anyone really know how many websites and full-time IT people they employ to track and electronically torture past and present members? Do you know why they ask certain members, “Do you accept Il Chi Li?” Aggressively driving people into debt and isolating them from friends, family, hobbies, etc. is how they control people and keep them confused or dependent and unable to think for themselves. Here’s an insidious group of mind terrorists Trump needs to send back to Korea as they are the enemy of the American people. Actually, the enemy of unsuspecting people with the “disease to please” or who don’t have strong beliefs. Stay away!