The latest news* regarding Dahn Yoga and its cult accusations is disturbing to me as I do not desire to see a shadow cast upon the Yoga community here in Northern VA, or anywhere else for that matter.

Teaching and practicing Yoga in such a diverse area as Northern Virginia offers many forms and varieties of Yoga styles such as Hatha, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and others. Yoga is a mind-body, physical, as well as spiritual practice focusing on breath control (Pranayama) while holding or flowing through poses (asanas).

Speaking to people in this area—drawing from the Springfield, Fairfax, Burke, Chantilly, Centreville, Herndon, Reston, Manassas areas here in Virginia—I am pleased to know how many people are familiar with Yoga. Some newcomers do express concern as to the religious affiliation of the internal arts. My response is to inform that while the internal arts such as Yoga, Chi Kung (Chi Gong, Qigong), and Tai Chi (Taiji) can be a spiritual practice, it is not religion-based, nor is it by nature a cult.

As an instructor, we put in many hours and invest considerable time and money in training for ourselves and yes, we do deserve to command a reasonable investment for the classes we offer, but gathering extreme amounts of money and taking advantage of students and creating “followers of your cause” is not Yoga.

To give readers an idea of what to expect to pay for internal arts classes (Yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong, Meditation, etc) in the Northern VA area—as well as online—I have noticed group classes being offered anywhere from $8 to $25 per one-hour class per person on average. This depends sometimes on the experience of the instructor, the location, what the instructor has to pay for space-use, if you register for a multi-week session or drop-in, technology investments, and various other things. Some instructors also teach by donation and personal one-on-one instruction is, of course, a higher fee. Workshops and special training are often higher as well.

My advice…Find an instructor that you like, a location and time that is convenient, balance that with the investment you are able to make to take the classes, and a style that suits you. Different people are drawn to different styles and forms. Stick with the practice that is right for you, your health, your well-being, and your spirit. If you feel uncomfortable with a practice, style mentality, or instructor, seek out different options. You will find someone who is right for you. Go forth and practice.

*Note: this post was published in 2009 as a reply to an article published in the local news in 2009. There are many styles and teaching methods of Yoga, Tai Chi, and Qigong. It is important to find a style that you resonate with and is right for your body and mind. The comments and responses to this post are not necessarily a reflection of the opinions of Just Breathe Tai Chi.