Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Dahn Yoga: A Holistic Cult

After all these years, I still believe there is merit in the actual exercises for pain relief. But, at some point, often early into your membership (*cough*..indoctrination??) you will realize that you can't pick and choose individual elements of the practice that you like. Dahn Yoga is not a la carte - it is a holistic practice wherein ALL the components, for better or worse, are interconnected.

You can go and enjoy the health benefits, but this is a cult, and you will absorb either directly or indirectly the cult energy, including:

- Love bombing - excessive hugging and physical touch* by the employees. *not sexual

- Exposing your vulnerabilities - they prey on the weak, and will expose your physical ailments and/or emotional pain in order to gain your confidence, control you, and sell you something.

- Shame and Guilt - they will use peer pressure and influence you to keep participating and buying into their scheme. If you're not buying, they will use your weaknesses against you and subtly manipulate you to do what they want. "Our $300 Shim Sung class is not worth your health? So you don't want to be cured of your blockages? You will never be free if you stop now, etc." Never underestimate the power of suggestion.

- You will pay - Yes, it's a business. Yes, they are selling products and services, but at a cost that exceeds any monetary value. Once you commit, they know they can keep cross and upselling their services MLM style. Several readers on my blog have reported spending literally thousands of dollars on retreats, seminars, healing sessions, and merchandise/accessories. Remember that each Dahn center has no choice to be preoccupied with bringing in new members and making money because they are funding Ilchi Lee's larger cult cause.

- Mind-altering practices - You're not just stretching and moving, you're led to meditation, closing the session by chanting "Happy body, happy heart, yes yes yes!", and strenuous/dangerous exercise in desert retreats. And, they often use loud, tribal "music" to coax a trance in form of wild and reckless body flailing. Failure or refusal to participate further increases the me vs. them chasm.

- The leadership structure is elitist - The instructors are to be addressed as "Master" and the Founder, Ilchi Lee claims a special, exalted status for himself. He has reported in interviews that he receives special messages from the divine, and is on a special mission to save humanity! Consider his construction of Mago Earth Park in Sedona, AZ. This place has massive statues of various gods, all erected to give the illusion of a harmonious world. People! There is only ONE true and living God, and He is Christ Jesus our Lord!


  1. Thanks for writing this! I was involved in 2003, for a few months until I split. Many friends I met in my time there were destroyed financially, moved to Korea for years, and a few I knew were involved with the lawsuit and rape allegations. I crusade against them whenever I get the chance all these years later.

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  4. I joined about two weeks ago, taking advantage of a 2 for 1 deal. 6 months unlimited classes for the price of 3 months. I joined because there are several classes each day and I can pick and choose which ones I want to attend. Unlike the author of this article I found this center very easy going and there was no pressure to buy anything. In fact as I was a little short of money she offered me several options, trying to accommodate my budget as well as my real interest in giving Dahn yoga a try. I have to admit it is different than any other yoga class I have taken. Somehow it seems easier, yet I feel like I get a decent workout and I feel relaxed and energized. Another benefit is meeting alot of nice people in my age group. Most students I had shared class with are very fit seniors who are active and have interesting lives. So far it is a thumbs up for me. I'll update if my opinion changes.

    I know someone well who was a Master for several years but quit a few years ago. He validated almost all of what was said in the lawsuit (^ that is original link), just based on his own experience, but he admits he doesn't quit know for sure about the sexual allegations from the founder. He says his experience of joining dahn yoga was like being the lobster in warm water, where the temperature keeps increasing but you don't realize it until its so hot, your boiling/changing/losing yourself, and you can't get out. He said the vision and its ideas is on beautiful grounds but what actually was happening, what masters would do and guilt they would feel to do things was so unethical and extreme "for the vision" But truly when you're in it he says it seems so normal, need to"save humanity" and the founder is the way. They really do idolize the founder as the messiah, father of the soul. At first, its all through the yeha programs for young people, 'love bombing' is what Ive seen it called. But my friend said they dont even realize thats what they are doing, they genuinely think they are saving the world. But its so narrow-minded; saving the world within the structure of dahnhak. In Korea its literally "Dahn-World". They genuinely feel you will have despair if you leave. They feared for his soul when he quit. It took him a long time to recover. It was so strongly engrained in him "use all your time for humanity" that he struggled with finding meaningful work because he lived in a state "this is not enough, you are not enough" for so long he had to seek cult exiting counseling. Steve Hassan a cult expert who helped many of those in the lawsuit has been really helpful to him. He wishes there was a community for those who leave it, especially for the masters or and perhaps for very involved members. Sorry to hear about your experience. For me, I did a little when my friend joined but I don't know I didn't get that much from it. Its interesting how thats the case for some. I wish more people could see all sides.

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