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.
I took Dahn classes for 3 years about 20 years ago. I found the exercises and the meditation helpful and the individual sessions with my instructor ( especially the first one who was from Korea) especially helpful
I stopped classes because of the travel associated with my job, but because of the instruction was able to continue my exercises and meditation on my own. It was very helpful with my travel schedule. I continue this regime today at 72, and since I am now retired hope to continue classes soon whether it is Dahn or some other practice
I have to disagree with some of these posts. For me, the Dahn center ruined 20 years of my life financially, health wise. & in every way possible. They do not practice yoga, positivity, or enlightenment. They don’t practice anything except control in whatever way possible. When I accused the Korean so-called Master healer that became obsessed with me of sexual abuse & they became vindictive & spiteful under the guise of love & so called good under a non-profit status. To me, that’s nothing but another controlling, obsessive, egotistical, piece of crap that doesn’t belong to walk free. May he & that organization get what’s coming to them. I’m not anti-anything. I’m not slamming the Dahn center. I am slamming the intent of the so called Masters of that place. Intent & willfulness is what makes people either walk in the path of enlightenment or darkness. My experience of that place is that their so-called Masters walk a path of darkness, obsessiveness, selfishness, spitefullness, vengeance. There is no loving or positive energy that runs through that organization.
I find it very interesting that my comment “The latest news regarding Dahn Yoga and it’s 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” would be taken out of context to mean that I am slamming Dahn. I said I am concerned about the news, not anti Dahn. Do you not find the accusations disturbing? I actually HAVE taken Dahn classes in the past and did not resonate with it like other forms that I continue to study. I did not slam, nor support Dahn. As with anything with good intent, there ARE those that will turn it into something it was not intended to be – let’s look at world religions for heaven’s sake. Please take some time to be a bit more open minded if you are going to comment in my blog in the future and please do not insult others. Blessings.
The post from Will above was a long time ago, but I just want to share he has his facts wrong. The Dahn Instructors (i believe they are not masters, but masters-in-training, and believe this is their view too) do not teach that yoga came from korea! That is ludicrous!! I have never heard such a thing. So are the accusations in the rolling stone article. They truly are. I support the yoga community, and the dahn yoga community, wholeheartedly (i too am in sedona). there is no need to follow the media’s ludicrous sensationalization for selling news.
I have been happily employed by Dahn Yoga for almost ten years, and I do not appreciate the slanderous and untrue comments made by various people who really don’t know what they’re talking about, and some who are being intentionally malicious and misleading. The people who make such negative statements about Dahn Yoga and its founder are, in effect, basically saying that the many employees and practitioners are idiots incapable of making their own choices. This is obviously untrue, as we can see that there are people who have chosen to leave the business and people who have chosen to stay. I have found Dahn Yoga employees and instructors to be highly independent yet harmonious people who are caring and wonderful to work with; we are aware of our connection to this Earth and our fellow human beings, and we are devoted to making positive contributions in our members’ lives. I just hope that people who have no direct experience of Dahn Yoga will not miss any opportunities to benefit from an excellent practice provided by dedicated instructors. It is truly unfortunate when various media communicate misrepresentative information and people assume without question that it is based on fact.
Dear Kris, if you are sincerely interested in protecting those who study and practice breath work, then I suggest you might study up on the situation with Dahn Yoga, and then take note. Perhaps you could start at dahnyogavoice.com , to see Dahn’s official response to the current situation. Then maybe you could read some of Ilchi Lee’s books and see his mind for this World. Maybe take a class or two. One would be a fool to only rely on the information of others, esp when it is coming from our so-called news media. Experience is everything.
I am a long time Dahn practitioner and my experience does not resemble at all the accusations made against it. Re: RS article–this is a regurgitation of information which the South Korean courts found to be libelous. Those propagating this information received sanctions by the South Korean court. The money trail led to christian churches in Korea. RS made a serious mistake in running that article and using that source material; RS most likely will be sued in the US court. As you may know, christian churches have a centuries long history of trying to destroy that which does not conform to its beliefs.
I would think you have reason to be concerned. And if you are sincerely concerned about the issue, why don’t you support Dahn? It is doing exactly the same work that all breathe practioners are doing. And no, it is not a big money maker, this is just one example of mis-information utilized to discredit Dahn.
Do you make money running your business? And if you were making money from it, do you think that other people are justified in questioning your integrity and sincerity in the work that you are doing? Do you have bills to pay in order to offer your services to the public? Do you need money to live? Wouldn’t you like to be able to offer your practice to as many people as possible? I hope you have the discernment to understand my point.
So, what exactly is your point in this blog? Are you defending those who practice breath work, or is this a slight-of-hand strike against Dahn?
Ask yourself sincerely.
Articles like yours and are needed more than ever right now. I work here in Sedona where the controversy has now centered and many of us here know all about the phony promises, and pressure selling of memberships that Dahn has foisted on well meaning people. Dahn Hak is NOT yoga but sadly now when people come here they see Yoga in the news as Dahn Yoga and shy away.
This is totally wrong and unfair to the many legitimate Yoga practitioners here. Dahn, and Tao, and Mago have usurped the good name of Yoga solely to dupe the public into thinking what Ilchi Lee’s organization offers is Yoga and to sell other courses at sky-high prices.
The Dahn organization took aspects of Yoga, LGAT, meditation – you name it – whatever sounded “new age”, then added pyramid sales techniques to create a financial empire. Fortunately they are now being exposed for what they are.
In my opinion the worldwide Yoga community must fight to defend what yoga really is, in the onslaught of such organizations who “bait and switch”.
Rolling Stone magazine exposed Ilchi Lee’s organization for what it is – that’s a start, but more needs to be done. Do you know that locally, at the Dahn center, the “Dahn masters” ( and I use the term lightly ) teach that yoga came from Korea and not India? Oh there’s lot’s worse that will eventually be made public.
In the mean time, sadly, the reputations of good people who teach and practice yoga, both here in Sedona and elsewhere, have been tarnished.
Thought you might like to know.
Without a doubt Yoga isnt the issue here. Yoga is done by millions worldwide. The issue is around cult behavior and that can occur in any group
So well said, Kris. I can’t agree more.