So here's the deal and let me explain why I've had a 180 change of heart about Dahn Yoga.
First, I still believe in the health benefits of the exercises. They're great - not only do they make physiological differences and promote a greater sense of well being, but they really stimulate the endorphins which make you feel good during and post-work out.
The biggest issue I have with Dahn Yoga is its cult-status. It's all true folks. All the bad press you've heard in the news (particularly this huge piece on CNN) is true.
HOWEVER, this is NOT to say I agree or disagree with the alleged rape story.
I will report from my own personal experiences that Dahn Yoga instructors use cult-like tactics to draw in people. They try to expose your weaknesses then capitalize on them for their personal gain and profit.
I have MANY personal examples, but the ones that stand out the most were during "healing sessions", where they apply acupressure on painful pressure points to promote healing. Yes, these therapies helped, but what happened during the sessions were another story.
Basically, my instructor would ask me really personal questions about my family, relationships, my opinions of other people in the classes (what the hell, right?), and to share about traumatic childhood memories. Well, what would you do if you've had lifelong debilitating illnesses, you're half-naked, and the instructor is working on your body in a small room?
I shared with her some personal and hurtful stories and shed lots of tears. It was only a matter of time after the session (maybe 2-3 days) where after the classes, she would pull me aside to a private corner and tell me how f*cked up I am and how I will never improve my physical condition unless I:
1. Signed up for a host of EXPENSIVE workshop classes
2. Renewed my Dahn Yoga membership for lengthier terms
Mostly, it was the workshop classes she was so crazed/adamant about. I'm sure the instructors received commissions and store incentives any time anyone from their respective centers enrolled.
These workshop classes (which I NEVER attended) cost anywhere from $300-$1000+. There were multiple themes, dates, and locations, so of course it would be hard for anyone to refuse or excuse their way out of such events.
Even though I would remind the instructor that I was out of work, was potentially moving out of the country, that the philosophies were against my Christian beliefs, she would keep pushing and pushing.
It was really sick. You have these instructors/healers who seem genuinely interested in helping you recover from your pain and illnesses, only to find out that they use your weaknesses for their own financial gain.