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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Dahn Yoga Franchise: A Horrible Business Framework

I was having lunch at a local Korean-owned sushi spot this afternoon when I saw a little shelf of Dahn Yoga pamphlets displayed next to the cash register. I thought it was a good reminder to write another blog post; it has been a couple months, after all.

This particular post, as with all the content on my blog for that matter, is entirely from my own observations and/or experience. And, while today I'll be sharing my opinions about Dahn Yoga from a business/operations standpoint, I will say that I have absolutely no firsthand knowledge of how things are actually run.

Disclaimer aside, I think that the Dahn Yoga franchise is an absolutely horrible trap for the studio managers. I've taken the following into consideration (again, just my own personal observations):

The Good:
1. Dahn Yoga center managers are their own bosses. They run their studio as a full turn-key business, planning and managing every single aspect of a whole corporate body.

2. The managers get to "work out" every day and literally practice what they teach and preach. Sound body, sound mind (at least in the beginning in the honeymoon stage, before the reality and nightmares ensue).

3. Relatively safe and pleasant environment. Unless the managers are blatantly taking advantage of their clients, they get to work in a serene studio with like-minded, health-conscious yogis and yoginis.

The Bad:
1. Dahn Yoga is a $$$$$ trap for business owners. I don't know what what buy-in costs are to own a franchise, but I can almost guarantee that anyone who sets up shop is already coming in with MASSIVE DEBT. Read the stories for yourselves. Dahn Yoga "master" training is expensive. We're talking about $50,000 to hundreds of thousands of dollars in classes, workshops, certification courses, and whatever other hurdles and hoops to jump through to get "accredited" to become an instructor. And again, we aren't even talking about (because I really don't know) the actual terms, conditions, and start-up capital and personal investments required to open shop.

2. Studio managers don't make money. I don't see how it's possible for any manager or instructor to make any money. Not only are they likely drowning in debt, but they are responsible for putting money in Ilchi Lee's pockets with ongoing franchise, advertising, royalty fees, etc. It's really no wonder that the instructors try so hard to cross-sell and up-sell seminars, conferences, books, and miscellaneous Dahn Yoga accessories (clothes, books, grip socks, etc.). They don't get salaries. These poor instructors/managers are working off of commissions of membership dues and seminar sales. Sad.

3. It's a never-ending, multi-hat wearing toilsome job. Most Dahn Yoga studios offer 3 classes a day. That means the manager/instructor is leading 3 hours of classes, preparing and cleaning up the mini tea ceremonies, signing up new members, upselling current members, working on customer retention, reporting sales activities and sign-ups to the corporate office, all while imagining how they will afford to pay the utilities for their center after all expenses are paid. These managers are stuck in their studios from early morning to late night running their day-to-day tasks as a one-man or one-woman show. One minute you're promoting Ilchi Lee's latest book or showing a prospective member some promotional YouTube videos. And then you're cleaning the toilets and mopping the sweat off the floor after each class. It never ends.

I will write more in my next post. I will focus on the aspect of conflict of interest. ie., studio managers are supposed to promote health, healing, and happiness through their services, but just how genuine can these intentions be when the machine is run by a money-hungry monster? After all, as much as you may desire for others to find relief from physical and emotional pain and wounds, at the end of the day, it is a business, and what matters most from that standpoint is the bottom line.

To be continued.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Transferable Spirits - Why do I reminisce on my Dahn days?

It's been nearly a year since I last wrote on this blog, but I wanted to share a bit about the title "Transferable Spirits" and how it applies to my experiences with Dahn Yoga.

It's not that I dwell, obsess, or reminisce daily on the days I attended Dahn Yoga classes back in 2010, but I admit that on days that my neck/shoulder pains especially flair up (i.e., today), Dahn crosses my mind.

As I've mentioned countless times before, I do believe that practicing Dahn yields positive health benefits. However, the cost to achieve temporary relief is too great. Sometimes, the path in which you seek a solution is not optimal on a holistic level. In the case of Dahn Yoga, yes, the exercises were alleviating my arthritis and inflammation (physical pain), but the stress of confronting the instructors' near daily mind-control and cult-recruitment practices took a toll on me mentally and emotionally. 

So yes, even though I know that Dahn is a cult, I can't help but think about them on this day - as my neck is so stiff that I can barely stretch it out in either direction, that my right shoulder is so tender and stiff that I can barely raise my arm.

When I used to take classes, I believe that the "spirit" of Dahn Yoga, the philosophy, the propaganda of Ilchi Lee and his followers were flowing through the classroom, and, for better or worse, into the students. Maybe this sounds hokey, but consider the concept of synergy, teamwork, and the collective conscious.

All of us either believe or acknowledge that we have a 6th sense - call it intuition, ESP, whatever. Think about a time when you walked into a meeting and the energy was tense. It just so happened that you walked in on an event that changed the atmosphere/mood of the people in the room (ie, maybe the boss humiliated or berated one of the employees, maybe someone announced that a family member had passed away). The same applies to positive events. Attend any social event, a party, a get together, and immediately you'll pick up on a vibe and it will mold your perspective on the situation and attendees.

Sometimes I wonder if the spirit or energy of Dahn is still attached to me somehow. How and why else do I keep reminiscing on the "good ole days" when I'm simultaneously repulsed by the "love bombing" from my creepy instructors?

I don't think I am being unreasonable. Maybe this is also akin to:
- The high rate recidivism among freed prisoners.
- Thinking about past, abusive relationships. No, you will NOT go back, but they do cross your mind from time to time.

I would love to hear your thoughts. If you have also left an abusive organization, environment, or relationship, do you find yourself reflecting on the past? Have you ever gone back after vowing you wouldn't return? How was it the "second time around?"

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Dahn Yoga and Language Barriers

One thing I find interesting about Dahn Yoga is their ability to communicate their business so effectively to non-Koreans. I'm not hating on Koreans (remember, I'm a Korean-American and the darnest proudest one ever), but I am curious that a non-native English speaking business is able to manipulate the masses on an international scale.

I'm not just talking about the outrageous news reported on CNN and other media outlets. I'm talking about the everyday business that's conducted at your local Dahn center.

For example, Dahn offers a ton of seminars, workshops, and training courses outside of the yoga classes.* Most of these extracurricular events are conducted in Korean with a shoddy English Translator. The major events, ie, those that bring in over 20 people, are conducted in Korean by reps from the Motherland.

For non-Korean participants at these events, I wonder how the message of their enlightenment comes across. There are MANY students who eat this stuff up and caught up in the cult craze. What I find especially funny is imagining the reactions of the non-Koreans during the seminars. I mean, Koreans are quite animated and loud in situations of mass frenzy. Wouldn't the students be put off by these antics from the get go? My question is, how does the message translate when the cultures are so different?

Have you ever attended a Dahn Yoga event? Perhaps some of you went to "Shim Sung," which is their Superbowl of Dahn events. I'm sure there was an old comrade of Ilchi Lee's who was their flailing his arms around and lambasting your lives, your health, your relationships, and basically breaking you down emotionally before he said that the answer for your life was Dahn Yoga and the message of hope from their founder, Ilchi Lee. Barf. Gag me with a spoon.

Any insights, folks?

*Most of the yoga classes are conducted in English either by native English speakers or by Korean "masters" who have a fair handle of the language. Dahn Yoga centers that are located in heavily Korea-centric neighborhoods (like all the ones in Koreatown, Los Angeles) are conducted in Korean for their primarily Korean students by Korean instructors.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ilchi Lee and his Dahn drones like my blog!

The post title says it all: Ilchi Lee and his Dahn drones like my blog!

I get a good amount of internet traffic on this blog (even though I haven't and do not make a penny off of it). I'm happy to spread the word and increase your knowledge on the cult nature of Dahn Yoga. I just wonder if my experience helps you enough to make you leave feedback.

I get blog comments on a regular basis, but I often do not approve them and they never seeing the light of day. Why, you ask? Because ALL these comments are coming from Dahn Yoga drones. And, they often write something nice, neutral, and beneficial about either their fraud of a leader, Ilchi Lee, or about the practice itself.

It's not really from a mindset of censorship that I've refused to publish these comments. Rather, it is just counterproductive. For example, why in heavens would say, a Christian church, allow a satanist to come in and preach their agenda? It's completely inconsistent and contradictory; It just doesn't make any sense.

However, I've been publishing all of Dahn Yoga's and their affiliates' starting from November 2013. This purpose is to show you, the legitimate readers, what they are actually saying. If you peruse my blog, you'll see they write messages with similar themes in a similar tone. They are very consistent and come off as well-mannered and gentle.

This makes me chuckle, though, as it only serves to highlight what I've been saying all along; that they're the masters of recruitment and brainwashing. After all, you can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar, right?

Please share your comments.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Dahn Yoga on Yelp

Who in this day and age doesn't use Yelp, another social media tool that allows people to connect and review their favorite (or abhorred) places of business? There are about 50 million user-generated reviews for restaurants, law firms, libraries, heck, you name it - it will be on there.

Including Dahn Yoga.

I'll look at the Yelp reviews of Dahn Yoga in my home state (CA) and, in the name of research, other states. The reviews are consistently positive. I'm especially surprised because the reviewers seem legit; they're not trolls who open up fake Yelp accounts and write fake glowing reviews.

I'm curious because I haven't seen ANY "whistle blower" type of reviews that put Dahn on blast for being a cult. Sure, I see a couple of negative comments here and there about their business practices, but those are akin to reviews for used car dealerships. You know:

- Pushy sales tactics (upselling, cross selling, etc.)
- Manipulative sales folks

These practices can be found anywhere and can be avoided. But, the reviewers who have shared their piece about Dahn have either not gotten in deep enough to see the truth, or they know what's up and are afraid to expose it.

Have any of you come across any unusual Yelp reviews about Dahn Yoga? Feel free to share any interesting links and comments below.