Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Classic Cult Practice: Love Bombing (aka, I thought I was going to be molested)

What is Love Bombing?

According to Wikipedia, "Love bombing is an attempt to influence a person by lavish demonstrations of attention and affection. The phrase can be used in different ways. Members of the Unification Church use or have used it themselves to mean a genuine expression of friendship, fellowship, interest, or concern."

Well, Dahn Yoga is not the Unification Church, but they are a certainly a sect of a big cult movement, and they actively practice Love Bombing.

So here's the deal. I'm NOT a touchy-feely person. I mean, I'm Korean, for heaven's sakes. We just don't get huggly wuggly, warm and fuzzy, or lovey dovey in our household. That being said, it's awfully strange that Dahn Yoga, also of Korean origin, practices love bombing, something not inherently part of the culture. 

Whenever you come into the Dahn Yoga studio, you'll be greeted by warm, big hugs from the instructors - plural, yes, ALL the employees. It's rather gross and daunting at first, or maybe it's just because I'm a private person and don't like to be touched by strangers. Then, you eventually kind of get used to it and start to adapt. 

Pretty soon, your suspicion ("why the hell are these people hugging me? I see them every freakin' day!") melts and you let your guard down. Then, you think, "hmm, ok, I guess they just really like me and are happy to see me."

That's when you're punched in the face, figuratively speaking. They want you to think they like you and welcome you. Then, they pull the BS sales/cult tactics on you after they get you to believe you're one of them.

The worst love bombing happened to me when, after one particular session, the instructor pulled me aside and onto a couch. I was freaked out but she was a smaller female and I knew I could take her if she tried to get fresh with me.

She sits me down, takes my hand into hers, and then lovingly strokes it with her other hand. CREEPY AND F*CKING GROSS!!!!!!! She asks me, "What is the meaning of life? What is happiness?" By this point, I knew Dahn Yoga was a damned cult but I still had a month left in my membership so I didn't want to make waves.

I knew she wanted me to tell her that my life was a mess and I needed guidance or some other vulnerable self-pity garbage. Without missing a beat, I told her about my love for Jesus Christ and that my purpose in life was to follow His will and to serve Him.

Fortunately, she was turned off by my impenetrable response and kind of retreated.

The lesson of the day? Be on your guard in a cult setting. Question everything, and, just as importantly, have an ANSWER for everything!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Dahn Yoga Tea Time (sharing is caring...or manipulation?)

After each Dahn Yoga session, a tea time is held with the instructor (aka, "master") and any students who hang around afterwards.

The tea time is a sharing and healing time that goes about 15 minutes. Depending on where the facility is, you are either led to a table or a tray is brought out with a kettle and small tea cups. The tea is incredibly delicious - nothing like I've ever had anywhere in the world. I wish I could buy the stuff in bulk! It tastes like a pleasant mix of ginseng, ginger, jujubes, and has a deep, woody aroma. Wonderful.

Around 3-10 people sit around the table or tray, and are instructed to sniff the aromatic tea to heighten our olfactory senses. Then we take sips and enjoy the complex flavors.

During this time, we share about how we felt during the Dahn session. Did anyone have any sharp pains? Experience any unusual or pleasant sensations? Able to reach and stretch further than usual? There was nothing creepy about the tea times, and I quite enjoyed them as they gave me a chance to meet and learn about my fellow students.

It was only the fact that the instructors take any negative information you share and end up using it against you in the future. For example, if you shared that you experienced greater knee pain when you held a certain pose, it's like that the instructor would eventually pull you aside and try to sell you supplementary training classes or healing sessions.

In a cult setting, it's IMPERATIVE to know that there is more going on behind the scenes than you think. I really hate to say this because it sounds incredibly cynical, but:

MOST OF THE TIME: People are not nice just for the sake of being nice.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Dahn Yoga Instructors, What? You're my MASTER?

Dahn Yoga Instructors refer to themselves as "Master."

Sigh - yet another cult tactic of using mind control over its students.

I referenced in previous posts that Dahn Yoga came from Korea by founder Ilchi Lee. If you know anything about Korean culture, you know that titles are a big thing over there. For example, if you work at a company, you're not just a "coworker." They have the title-naming game down to a science, having very specific titles ranging from Assistant Manager, Director, all the way up to General Manager and CEO.

This may not seem like a big deal to you, since we have titles too (in the US), but my point is that you actually ADDRESS people by their titles. Example: You never call someone by their name, like Robert or even Mr. Schwartz. Instead, you call them, "Senior Director." If Robert Schwartz and Pamela Chung are both Senior Directors, you would refer to them ask Senior Director Schwartz and Senior Director Chung, respectively.

All this to say that Dahn Yoga's "Master" title nonsense also came from Korea, a country that puts titles on everything, a result from the old days when the country was ruled by a monarchy, but I digress.

For the record, you'd call the instructor a "Sabu-nim" (사부님), which translates into "Master."

But pray forgive me, if I call you my "master," would that:

1- Make me your slave? A serf? An indentured servant?
2- Put you in a higher position than me?
3- Indicate that you have some kind of dominion over me?
4- Make me more vulnerable to your cult recruitment rituals because I'm starting to believe points 1-3?

Dahn employees are not certified by any universally accredited program, so why the hell do they want to called a master? On the other hand, institutions like martial arts (Tae Kwon Do, Karate, etc.) and religions traditionally have a master to apprentice/student/follower relationship, and is widely accepted.

Dahn Yoga employees are just slaves to their grandmaster, Founder Ilchi Lee. How do you feel about calling your YOGA instructor a master?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

When Nostalgia for Dahn Yoga Strikes...

Honestly, when I think of my own incredible improvement in health from Dahn, I want to go back. I even went to a Dahn Yoga facility in Seoul and considered taking classes as I still suffer in excruciating pain every single day of my life. Like my aunt's old age-scapegoating (see my 11/7/13 post), I had planned on using my nationality (US Citizenship) to feign my lack of understanding to their indoctrination, but I decided against it. My friend from story #2 and I talk about how Dahn positively affected our health, but we both stay away from it because we are Christian.

The main takeaway from this is that knowing something is wrong and being involved in it is SIN. So, regardless of the "good" that Dahn Yoga does for your body, mind, and soul, you should NOT go down that road if you have conflicting values or religious beliefs.

And now, God's Word from the Bible to strengthen and encourage:

1 John 5:18 We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one does not touch him.

1 Peter 5:8-10 Be self-controlled and vigilant always, for your enemy the devil is always about, prowling like a lion roaring for its prey. Resist him, standing firm in your faith, remembering that the strain is the same for all your fellow-Christians in other parts of the world. And after you have born these sufferings a very little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to share his eternal splendor through Christ, will himself make you whole and secure and strong.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Cult of Personality (LOL) - Dahn Yoga Instructors

Dahn Yoga instructors have a peaceful, friendly, and Zen-like quality. It's one of the allures of the Dahn Yoga business. They are so friendly, warm, open, and constantly seem to be at peace and at one with everything around them. They're like content Buddhas and even-keeled in this crazy world, and yet - they're also the biggest con artists around.

When you meet a Dahn instructor, no doubt you will be charmed by their seemingly pure heart and good intentions. They smile a lot, seem genuinely interested in you, and speak in such a comforting and soft voice. It's no wonder that many students feel drawn to them and try to emulate them by following them (by taking additional classes, being talked into buying Dahn products and services, etc.).

But if you stick around long enough, you the truth will eventually come out. These so-called new friends of yours becoming increasingly pushy with their sales pitch. If they are truly your friends, do you think they'd be peddling some BS "Shim Sung" class on you for $300-$500?

Oh, it's because they're watching out for me and want me to improve myself, let go of my past, overcome my fears, etc. etc. The truth is that they want your money. End of story. Each instructor is required to meet a sales quota per month, and the only way they can do so is by selling you useless shit. So you tell them that you're unemployed, a student, a single parent, or whatever legitimate reason you have (other than the fact that they're annoying the crap out of you and you simply don't WANT to buy anything else) and they still won't let up.

This happened to me. I was unemployed and living off my savings for several months. I explained this to the instructor but she kept pushing the Shim Sung class on me. The more reasons I gave, the more she pushed.

"It's an investment. You cannot put a price on your health. Don't you want to get well?"
"We offer a payment plan. You can pay it in 3 or 4 payments."
"You will get so much out of it. It has changed my life and the lives of so many others."

If you decide to take up the classes, I can almost guarantee that you will be drawn to the instructors, but please be wary. The moment you start to feel uncomfortable and really consider their true motivations is the moment you start opening your eyes to the insidious nature of the Dahn cult.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

How My 85-year old Aunt thwarts Dahn's Cult Recruitment Practices.

My 85-year old Korean aunt takes Dahn Yoga classes in Seoul, Korea. She knows full well that this is a cult, but, like me, she agrees wholeheartedly that the health benefits are astonishing. She has all the requisite ailments of a super senior citizen (arthritis, aching back, inflammation, restricted range of motion, etc.), but Dahn frees up her pain and makes her feel light and refreshed.

Funny enough, when I told her that I used to take the classes in the states, she looked at me like a deer in headlights. I knew what she was thinking. Because I was thinking the same thing when she told me she was enrolled in Dahn.

We both wondered whether the other knew that we were involved in a cult. Fortunately, we had a good laugh about it and I told her how I broke away from their iron cult chains. My 3-month membership had expired and I started to talk more and more to the Dahn instructors about God and my relationship with Jesus Christ. Any mention of the Lord our Savior is like their Teflon, and thus reduces their stickiness in conversion efforts.

My aunt's tactic in reduced extracurricular involvement (remember, they try to lure you into counseling and healing sessions along with $1,000s worth of classes and seminars) was to exploit her own age. LOL. She told me that she uses her old age to her advantage. Whenever her instructors try to sell her useless crap or try to preach their cult gospel, she goes into "senior citizen" mode and tells them that she is too old, poor, and dumb to make any decisions. She does this so tactfully and graciously that the Dahn drones leave her alone.

For the record, my aunt is highly intelligent, fun, and vivacious! And, hilarious. Sometimes feigning a "senior moment" can really work in one's favor :-D