Dahn Yoga Controversy Continues

Published on July 7, 2009

In truth, the reason why I haven’t written about the Dahn Yoga controversy is because I don’t know much about the practice. So last month when 24 practitioners filed suit in an Arizona U.S. District Court alleging the organization was a cult which mentally coerced them and defrauded them, I decided to learn more.

Dahn yoga is a Korean system founded by Ilchi Lee which most closely resembles non-violent martial arts such as qi gong. Through the practice of simple exercises of the brain and body, Dahn yoga claims to enhance the mind body connection, also known as Brain Education. Based in Oriental Medicine, it includes asana like exercises and meditation elements. The practice is meant to lower stress levels, release tension, and improve quality of life. The main focus of the practice is to use your brain well, which includes working with energy in the body and mind in classes like “meridian stretching.” Many aspects of this “yoga” more closely resemble eastern martial arts rather than traditional yoga.

What classifies it as “yoga” as opposed to a martial art or eastern meditative practice is somewhat unclear. I didn’t find any references to classical yoga in Dahn. Perhaps it is because the stretching and breathing exercises have similarities to traditional asana and pranayama, or perhaps like many organizations and individuals who use “yoga” to define their practice, it is simply associating itself with the popular “trend.” The aspects that I look for in a yoga experience, though, are no where to be found. Not to say that this invalidates Dahn as a practice, but if you believe so strongly in the outcome of the practice, why depend on the word yoga to draw an audience. Instead, call it what it is, whether that be martial arts or otherwise, and trust what is being offered through the practice will draw the practitioners.

As a practitioner, student and teacher of the practice and science of yoga, taking a system and naming it yoga really rubs me the wrong way. There is a growing community of like minded yogis who are working hard to keep the spark of yoga alive amidst all of the convolutions of the traditional practice. Many yoga teachers and practitioners are working hard to clear away the rubble of the yoga explosion and return to the foundation of the practice. It becomes difficult and confusing to newcomers and seasoned practitioners alike when they are inundated with hundreds of different styles and systems, many of which aren’t yoga at all.

But, for whatever reason, the Dahn system defines itself as yoga, and it is making claims that it can heal the physical and mental bodies, alleviate ailments, and create a harmonious life by choosing the path of Dahn yoga. Like other systems that claim personal revolution and healing, the Dahn system is a members only club, so don’t expect the secrets to be revealed until you pay your dues, literally. And, if you do, be aware that there are many non-yogic aspects to the Dahn system, which have been and continually are being addressed by those “members” who are speaking out.

Those who are pressing charges against the organization allege that the claims of a harmonious life are far from the reality. Claimants are accusing the organization of everything from fraud to sexual assault. San Francisco resident, Meredith Potter, says that she was expected to work exceptionally long hours without proper compensation as well as procure large sums of money for the organization.

This is not the first time the Dahn organization has been on the receiving end of accusations. In 2006, the family of Julia Siverls filed a wrongful death suit against the organization after she died of dehydration while training to become a Dahn master. And, in 2002, a former Dahn employee filed a civil lawsuit in Alameda County, California for Unfair Business Practices and Undue Influence. The goal of Dahn yoga “enlightening 100 million earth humans by 2010” as professed by Lee seems to have hit a snag at the moment, but many more people continue to believe in its powers than in its faults.

Have you ever practiced Dahn yoga? What is your experience?

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36 responses to “Dahn Yoga Controversy Continues”

  1. Healthybodyhappyheart Avatar

    Hello Kelly,

    Thank you for your article. Where did you study Dahn? I have been practicing Dahn for more then five years and I am very happy to open a dialogue with you about it.

    I remember an ashtanga teacher who I studied with who had often referred to yoga as the union of body and mind. I believe that yoga as well as Dahn are hard to define with words. Rather, I appreciate the beauty and infiniteness that is inside of us. It is how I grow through and use my practice which is important to me.

    Anyway, I am really happy with Dahn, and I am having a great experience.


  2. Kelly Avatar

    Thanks for your comments. I have not studied Dahn. My opinion came only from the research I’ve done independently. In many ways, yoga can be distilled to a practice that joins the body and mind, but it also has a solid foundation of philosophy (Ashtanga Yoga means the 8-limbs of Yoga), and teachings behind it. Just as martial arts often seeks the same goal, union of body and mind, but is supported by a different foundation, so do many practices seek the same goal, but aren’t necessarily “yoga.” It would be quite a stretch for Karate or Kung Fu to be called yoga, since it is derived from ancient Oriental practices and teachings. In the same way, I think that it is a misnomer for Dahn to be called “yoga,” since it is derived from a different set of philosophical and physical practices. Maybe the only way to know for sure, is for me to attend a class.

  3. Healthybodyhappyheart Avatar

    I agree with you that the suffix yoga is not an entirely accurate word to describe the Dahn practice. The name Yoga became associated with Dahn when Dahn came to the United States. It was used as the closest word that American people would be able recognize that describes the practice.
    However, as I stated before, I also believe that it is not entirely inaccurate. Yoga has become more then just a tradition, it has a broader meaning that can be used to describe many different types of mind body union practices such as Tao yoga and taoist yoga which are also coming for eastern culture. Someone could accurately refer the breathing, stretching or meditation that they do on their own in the privacy of their own home as yoga. Referring to the prefix name will help preserve the tradition such as has been done in Tai Chi (Which roughly translates to mean Big Ultimate,) for example Chen Tai Chi or Tai Chi Chaun.
    In some cases, even the traditional forms of yoga being taught are often watered down to the point of being simply exercise. However, in my experience, Dahn has always been authentic.
    Dahn was originally called DahnHak which translates roughly to “the study of accumulated life force.” It is passed down through the ShinSunDo, which is sometime also referred to as Sundo, tradition from ancient teachers and teachings. Perhaps the practice will eventually drop the suffix yoga.
    Either way the practice itself is a powerful tool for physical health, mental wellness, energetic balance, and spiritual development. If you do get a chance I would recommend trying it out. Center locations are available at dahyoga.com.

    Chunjikiun (Heaven and Earth Energy)

  4. Timothy Avatar

    Let’s be clear and honest here, DahnHak is NOT yoga. It has nothing to do with yoga. Its roots do not come from yoga.

    I do agree that the word yoga has been used inaccurately in labeling other practices, but this does not make calling the practice of DahnHak yoga right, acceptable or justified. As Healthybodyhappyheart noted, the name was changed to market Dhan to Americans, to make this practice sound safe and familiar. And with these continuing controversies with Dahn “yoga” it is potentially distorting and soiling the true teachings and practices of yoga. At the very least, it confuses the general public as to what true yoga is. Calling the DahnHak practice yoga is just plain dishonest and unethical.

  5. forest Avatar

    Healthybodyhappyheart said: “Dahn was originally called DahnHak which translates roughly to “the study of accumulated life force.” It is passed down through the ShinSunDo, which is sometime also referred to as Sundo, tradition from ancient teachers and teachings.”

    Seems the antiquity of Sundo’s lineage is based on Korean mythology, folklore, and Korean 13th century scripture, which goes the same for Ilchi Lee’s Dahnhak. Many Koreans believe the nationalist sentiment that the entire Korean race descend from Tangun, the son of a god and a bear who the god helped become a woman.

    I read that Sundo was made popular in the 60’s in Korea by a man who claimed to have lived in the mountains for decades under a teacher who told him to spread the practice. He founded “Kooksundo,” still going on today. Ilchi Lee then said in the 80’s that he spent 21 days in the mountains without food, water, or sleep (which would break more than one record) before becoming enlightened to bring modernized dahnhak exercises to the people. (He had trained in Taekwondo.) Both Kooksundo and Dahn claim ancient Korean origins for Taoist ki-gong practices, which everyone else in the world believes came from China.

    If you believe that the original ancient Korean society existed as an advanced spiritual, shamanist, taoist society in regions that later were claimed by China, you can argue that Taoism originated in Korea and later influenced Chinese culture. Does Dahn also believe that Koreans originated “yoga” and then influenced the Indians? I wouldn’t be surprised.

  6. Healthybodyhappyheart Avatar

    I think that you are using a very narrow of a view point Timothy. It is not unethical for Dahn Yoga to use the term Yoga, fore the term yoga does accurately describe the practice:

    The Definition of Yoga

    Yoga (Sanskrit, Pāli: योग yóga) refers to traditional physical and mental disciplines originating in India. The word is associated with meditative practices in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. In Hinduism, it also refers to one of the six orthodox (āstika) schools of Hindu philosophy, and to the goal toward which that school directs its practices. In Jainism it refers to the sum total of all activities””mental, verbal and physical.

    Major branches of yoga in Hindu philosophy include Raja Yoga, Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Hatha Yoga. Raja Yoga, compiled in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and known simply as yoga in the context of Hindu philosophy, is part of the Samkhya tradition. Many other Hindu texts discuss aspects of yoga, including Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the Shiva Samhita and various Tantras.

    The Sanskrit word yoga has many meanings, and is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj, meaning “to control”, “to yoke” or “to unite”. Translations include “joining”, “uniting”, “union”, “conjunction”, and “means”. Outside India, the term yoga is typically associated with Hatha Yoga and its asanas (postures) or as a form of exercise. Someone who practices yoga or follows the yoga philosophy is called a Yogi.

    To put Yoga in a small box does not do it credit. Kung Fu and many other martial arts are rumored to have their origins from yoga. How information and practices were shared in the ancient world is ambiguous to us.

    I suggest that we keep an open mind and not condemn another practice as unethical (especially if we have not tried it.)
    For me and many of the other practitioners that I know, Dahn Yoga has done wonderful things to improve health, happiness and peace of mind. As a practice itself it is based on ancient principles and it works. As someone who has practiced yoga and other martial arts for 20 years, I do not hold one yoga as higher then another, and also, not all yogas are created equal. What is important to recognize is what is being taught in the classroom and practiced in life, and what works for you. It works for me, so I am happy. I prefer to just leave it at that.

    However, As far as the next comment by forest. Dahn Yoga is not claiming to be better or worse then any other practice. They very specifically accredit SunDo to have started in an area around the border of Tibet, China, and Mongolia (not current day Korea.)
    The rumor of a bear being a descendent of the Korean people is a distorted version of the story of the princess of the bear tribe being the descendant of the Koreans. This was induced by invading Japanese soldiers as a tactic to demoralize Korean people.
    Ilchi Lee does not claim to have not drank water during his 21 day ascetic training training on Mount Moak.
    It is hard to claim that the Nation at the time of the origin of taoist practice was China, Korea, Tibet, Istanbul, or whatever. It was none of these places because at that time it was a Nation that in and of itself that is no nation existing today. Korea is just one of the places that is keeping the tradition alive. And one of the ways that it is doing it is through Dahn. That is a great thing that we should be happy and grateful for, not trying to debunk. The more people that are brining messages and practices of healing to this world the better.

    Smile : )

    1. Rob Z Avatar
      Rob Z

      Remember, Kung Fu just means hard work, Karate means empty hand, and Taekwondo means the way of kicking and punching. Bushido and Wushu both mean martial art but are completely unrelated. It is impractical to say that any hard work could be called Kung Fu or that any empty handed activity is Karate. Yoga means union (most scholars agree on that) and this is apparently quite yogic in that regard, but ultimately yoga as a term denotes a large grouping of disciplines with shared and overlapping origins and influences. I don’t know if calling this yoga is ‘unethical’, but academically speaking it casts it in a misleading light, especially if the tradition contains no other sanskrit terms or indic concepts or connections to a vedic worldview.

  7. dono Avatar


    I apologize, but I am having a hard time following the logic that it is not unethical for Dahn to use the term yoga. According to the definition of yoga in your posting:

    “Yoga (Sanskrit, Pāli: योग yóga) refers to traditional physical and mental disciplines originating in India.” Are you stating that DahnHak originated in India?

    “The word is associated with meditative practices in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.” Is Dahn associated with any of these meditative practices?

    “Someone who practices yoga or follows the yoga philosophy is called a Yogi.” Is the term “Yogi” used in Dahn instead of “Master” or “Subanims” (sorry, probably misspelled)?

    If it is meant that Yoga is often referred to a type of exercise that unites the mind and body, I can follow that, but in my opinion this definition does not state that.

    Also the statement from forest according to what Ilchi Lee stated in the 80’s is supported by this video.
    According to this video which is housed in the Ilchi Lee Museum, it states that, “he went day after day alone, without food or water or sleep always asking”¦on the 21st day his head felt like it was going to explode”¦..” So is the video wrong? Is it an embellishment on his training since it resides in his own museum?

    I am just searching for some clarification on what point you are trying to make

  8. forest Avatar

    Healthybodyhappyheart, I didn”™t say that they claim Dahn Yoga to be better than other practices, but I imagine the true believers do. The most entrenched believe it”™s the path to a sudden shift to a peaceful unified world, if they can just create 100 million Dahn healers before we soon all destroy the earth.

    They may say that SunDo started around the border of Tibet, China, and Mongolia, but they also say that this is where the original Korean civilization started (not part of Korea today). Ilchi Lee says: “The origins of Dahnhak Kigong Training go back in Korean history more than 5,000 years. It began as a program to educate the public in how to develop both the body and mind. For 3,000 years the wise leaders of a Korean civilization saw to it that each generation practiced Kigong, a health-enhancing and self-empowering martial art.”

    He sounds like he”™s reciting historical fact, but that 5000 year old Korean civilization he refers to is based on one of Korea”™s founding myths (Tangun), and on some of the beliefs, texts, and practices of the small Taejonggyo religion. From my understanding, that religion worships Tangun as God, holds the Heavenly Code as sacred, believes Tangun originated meditation, energy breathing and awakening to your true nature (internal alchemy) to benefit all mankind ”“ the Hongik ideal. Sound familiar? Ilchi Lee has erected hundreds of statues of Tangun, his followers bow to Tangun and chant the Heavenly Code – which you can buy in many forms from them, like expensive magic ”Okum” cards. (What is Okum?! Sounds like hokum!)

    I don”™t think the Japanese promoted the Tangun myth at all, let alone distorting it. I read the opposite, that it was promoted to enhance Korean national ethnic pride and unification in the face of Japanese control. I”™m sure there are different interpretation of the myth with some taking it literally and others metaphorically. A good article is ”Myth, Memory and the Reinvention in Korea: the Case of Tan”™gun” by Michael J. Seth. You can find it online.

    I don”™t know if Dahn teaches that Tangun was literally a god-man or if his mother was a literal bear turned human. The point is that what Dahnhak”™s claims as factual lineage that you call ”authentic” is based on nationalist mythology, folklore, and religious belief.

    Qigong practices based on Daoism (internal alchemy) came much later than 5000 years ago, and not from Korea – from China. Read Don Baker. He studies Korean religion and wrote about Dahn World.

    If you think Ilchi Lee ”does not claim to have not drank water during his 21 day ascetic training training on Mount Moak,” tell that to the people who promote him. Dahn”™s Wikipedia writers say he didn”™t lie down either. If you believe that, Healing Society will sell you a magic ”Okum” turtle necklace for $1040. It must be real because it”™s based on ”ancient” Korean practice, right?

    Some companies and leaders deserve debunking or at least questioning.

  9. onion012 Avatar

    Hello Kelly,

    I was a member of Dahn Yoga and I have now been an instructor for 6 years.

    I am extremely disappointed to see the blog post and comments on your website about the so-called Dahn Yoga “Controversy,” especially since you state in your very first sentence that you “don’t know much about the practice.”

    I feel that it is very unfair for anyone who hasn’t even given this practice an honest chance to say such negative, condemning and degrading comments about it.

    There are hundreds of Dahn Yoga centers throughout the world including the US, Korea, Canada, Japan, South America, and Europe; we have incredibly beautiful retreat centers also in Korea, Canada, the US, and Japan where thousands of people have experienced profound healing; hundreds of thousands of members continue to benefit greatly from the training programs, recovering from health problems that run the gamut from chronic back pain to multiple sclerosis and even to cancer, as well as anxiety and depression.

    I am one of thousands of instructors very happily employed by this company, and the founder (of the practice, not the current president of the company) Ilchi Lee has even received the Korean equivalent of the Congressional Medal of Honor.

    For you, Timothy, Forest, and dono to make such negative remarks about Dahn Yoga with such nonchalance is deeply insulting and disrespectful to me, to my fellow instructors and members of my organization, to the hundreds of thousands of members who are loyal to our centers, and to the South Korean government.

    If you followed a true journalist’s code of ethics, you would not have included only negative information about Dahn Yoga, especially without conclusions or proven facts (the only semblance of positivity can be found in the line “many more people continue to believe in its powers than in its faults”).

    You have not even given Dahn Yoga a fair chance and you are not speaking from firsthand experience (and going to one or two classes with a prejudiced, pre-determined negative attitude does NOT count).

    The only thing that actually seemed to bother you up front is that the practice uses the term “yoga,” which I read is a term in Sanskrit, in its name. Actually, we are free to choose to call it what we will. I could open a hamburger stand and call it Hamburger Yoga if I wanted to. That’s one of the privileges of freedom we have in the US.

    What I gather from the postings on your page is that you think only different kinds of Indian yoga should be called “yoga,” otherwise we’re lying to the public about what we offer. But there is no existing term in the English language that would accurately describe the practice. The practice itself would stand on its own, but any competent business manager could see that it would take much longer for it to become widely known if we used an unfamiliar term versus a term that is already familiar to the general public. Also, anybody who tried it and didn’t like it could switch to a different “yoga” any time they wanted.

    Just so you know, I have had quite a few members who practiced the “real” yoga and were even instructors who said this is the best holistic (body, mind, spirit) discipline they ever experienced.

    I apologize for the length of my comment, but that is how strongly I wish people would be careful about making negative remarks irresponsibly.

    Thank you,

  10. dono Avatar

    @ onion012
    In your post you stated, “I could open a hamburger stand and call it Hamburger Yoga if I wanted to. That’s one of the privileges of freedom we have in the US.”

    You could do that, but you probably would get sued for deceptive business practices under the Fair Trade Commission Act of 1914. If people reasonable expect to receive yoga from your name and advertisements, but in return you only sell them hamburgers, it could be construed as deceptive.

    This is why the litigants are able to sue Dahn. If Dahn had not changed their name, this would be a non-issue. What is the expectation for services received from DahnHak? What would be the expectation of services received from Dahn World, or Dahn Holistic Healing Centers, or Brain and Body Education Centers? These expectations are different than the expectation of Dahn Yoga.

    One of the primary points in the lawsuit was the litigants thought they were getting Yoga and instead received something different. To prove this point they are going to use some definition of “Yoga.” What that definition is; I do not know. Whatever the generally accepted “definition” of Yoga is will determine this portion of the case.

  11. Healthybodyhappyheart Avatar

    Well, I am very happy with my experience at Dahn Yoga (and I have actually practiced it,) and I also know several Indian Yoga practitioners who are members of Dahn and love it. They do not say, “This is not yoga,” they ask, “When is the next class?”

    I even read a testimonial from a prominent ayurvadic doctor from India. He has studied many forms of yoga in India and also teaches. Before his departure back to India he said, “Dahn Yoga is the best form of yoga that I have experienced thus far, and I will teach it to my patients at my office.”

    I am happy that there is such an interest in Dahn Yoga, but I agree with Onion that people should not be so negative. It is not good for your health. The truth is that Dahn Yoga is a practice that helps people to become more physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy nothing more nothing less.


  12. Timothy Avatar

    Dear Healthybodyhappyheart and onion012,

    No one here is saying that DahnHak is a bad practice, or making judgments on the quality of the experience of taking Dahn Yoga classes. Please stop complaining that we are.

    It is wonderful that you both are happy with your experience with DahnHak. But I am curious why both of you are so reactive to any criticism of the name of your practice? (And note that we are only criticizing the name, not the techniques!) As with the comments of both dono and forrest, we are only giving clear logical statements as to why Dhan cannot be honestly called yoga, and why calling it yoga is unethical and potentially illegal.

    As the founder and director of this site, I have a obligation to both educate and defend the practice of yoga (and if you are not sure what yoga is you can find out on our “Yoga 101” section). I am open to receiving criticism for both my logic and truthfulness of my statements, but personal attacks or judgments (on myself or others) will not be tolerated.

  13. forest Avatar

    No one can deny that many people love Dahn exercise, whether it’s accurately called yoga or not, and they love the support they find there (hugging, smiling, massage, sharing, encouragement) and the sincerity of the instructors. A lot of people who go there are out of shape to begin with and find health improvements immediately. (Regular exercise and relaxation and feeling hopeful are known to be healthy and healing. Claiming that Dahn cures cancer and M.S. – that goes too far.)

    I wouldn’t care at all about them calling it yoga nor would I bother to criticize them claiming an ancient Korean heritage if not for something else going on there that seems much more sinister. The 24 former masters are not suing because they call it yoga. Their allegation is that they thought they were just joining an exercise program but ended up being lured into a thought-reforming, manipulative organization that drained all their money on programs (supposedly to heal themselves and save the world) and all their time recruiting new members to raise money for Ilchi’s “vision,” which meant getting other people to sign up and spend all their money or time on Dahn. They say Dahn impaired their critical thinking abilities to where one woman alleges that she passively submitted to sexual relations with Ilchi Lee under his dominance, leading her to a mental breakdown after many of her Dahn friends told her she should feel honored that he chose her. We don’t know if this is true, but this is not the first lawsuit or story like this.

    Michelle here says that the criticism of Dahn Yoga on this discussion board is an insult to thousands of Dahn members and masters everywhere and even to the South Korean government, but isn’t it much more insulting to Dahn members and masters and to the Korean government for Dahn to get into two U.S. lawsuits for sexual assault, mind manipulation and violating labor laws, a wrongful death lawsuit, owning your own jet and Arabian horses, riding around in the most expensive car on the planet, living in a castle, owning prime real estate all over the world, and living an altogether extravagant lifestyle while devoted Dahn masters give up attachment to money, family,and friends to work day and night for the Ilchi “vision,” some living communally working for room and board, and on and on and on?

    All in all, I’m sorry that this kind of criticism is upsetting to people who love Dahn and feel healed by Dahn. I would probably feel the same way if I were devoted to an organization. Loyalty is a great quality. (Closing your eyes to valid criticism? Not so great.) I think we all here want health, happiness, and peace for all – and that’s why I am critical of Dahn. They are not a small organization. They are huge and growing. A lot of people can get hurt.

    I too am open to any corrections of the accuracy of my statements or of my logic. Go at it.

  14. Deb Unker Avatar
    Deb Unker

    Dahn Yoga is parroting Globalist propaganda and is merely dolled up in a new suit, but it’s the same New Age racket that can been seen in multiple cults before it.

    The video posted above looks good on the surface with it’s One Race, One Religion, One Earth sales pitch, until you dig a bit deeper and realize it’s the same globalist crock that has been hitting the new age air waves since the turn of the century with the failed League of Nations that was born out of WWI to the more popular version, the Unite Nations that became the success post WWII.

    Occultists like Alice Bailey, Aleister Crowley and their Golden Dawn, OTO organizations published originally through a company known as Lucifer Trust, know known and promoted via the UN as Lucis Trust, sold the same spiel of planetary consciousness, enlightenment, be a god unto yourself, etc…

    The aim is to unite the world under one government… and these sorts of cults just keep you blind to it by making you feel good. The practice of Dahn does make you feel good, but it’s slow indoctrination into ignoring the ills of this planet and why they are happening. Ilchi Lee may be nothing more than an “enlightened” master-manipulator leading people astray.


    :) Smile :)

  15. pp-digitmask Avatar

    I have not tried this style of practice, but to discredit something from being called ‘yoga’ because it did not have it’s orgins or roots in India, is to discredit yin yoga, taoist yoga and the yin and yang yoga (by paulie zink) styles. but I don’t agree that simply being in the US allows anyone to call their practice ‘yoga’ to market it to others. It should be called what it is and if the term ‘yoga’ was attached to it soley in the US to get people to attend is wrong on so many levels. I agree with Timothy; if the practice is a good practice on its own, it should not need to add the word ‘yoga’ to it. Tai chi chaun and qi gong its benefits to its practice which are not that dis-similar to yoga.

    Yoga or not, there are 24 practioners that have issue with the founder and the company (which their in itself should tell you something. When was the last time any founder of a yoga style said it was a company) and believe it to be a cult. The ladies on this comment track do not feel the same as the 24 practioners. Maybe that is something to be further investigated. Why the big difference in opinion? Are they being brain washed (it doesn’t seem so), or has their experiences been totally different? I would like to see Happybodyhappyheart and onion012 comment on the allegations brought forth from the 24 practioners vs their experiences rather than to comment on whether the Dahn style of practice has the right to be called yoga or not

  16. AYogaTeacher Avatar

    I tried Dahn Yoga, after I had been practicing yoga for more than 10 years. I found few similarities to ANY yoga class I had ever before taken. I had to have a pre-class 60 minute session where a person poked and prodded me – DEEPLY into my intestines and I was plopped in front of a tv to watch a video on digestive disorders. This was uncomfortable, but bearable. After this session, I had to change into cotton pants and shirt they offered me to use. I was told I would need to buy my own for future classes. The yoga ‘class’ was a session where someone stood at the front of the room doing postures and the class was expected to follow. No instruction was offered other than ‘do this’. 20 minutes of the class was holding a squat with arms extended as if hugging a barrel while the ‘teacher’ encouraged us to hold the pose. It was challenging. But, I did not think it was yoga. This is not to say it is not a good practice, but I was so thankful this was not my first experience with a yoga class. After the class we shared tea and our experience of that days class around a circle. THEN, I was invited to sit at a desk opposite one of the teachers and given a contract to sign up for a monthly commitment of over $100 per month!! Needless to say, I declined. I inquired if I might drop-in on occasion, but that was greatly frowned upon. I do understand the business model of this organization, and I appreciate that teachers would like a commitment from students, but geeze, life so gets in the way of attendance way too often. I don’t want my yoga to be yet another to-do item on my list and just an automatic charge to my credit card account. I want to come to my yoga class with joy. And leave feeling better than when I came in without having to endure a sales pitch. I have shared my experience with others. I think Dahn is a business. It may be yoga, but not like any other yoga I ever heard of before. I agree it smacks of a martial arts school more than a yoga studio. It is not bad or good. Just not what I expected of a yoga establishment. Makes me think the Yoga part of the name is but a marketing tool.
    All the yoga I’ve experienced, Kriya, Forrest, Yin Yoga, Anusara, Svaroopa, Iyengar, Bikram, Kali Ray, and a few more too, may market themselves, but they offer students an environment to blossom and grow in- in their own time in their own way [the student]. I felt the Dahn school was more interested in my monetary commitment than in me.

  17. yogiperson Avatar

    I have been doing some searching on the net about Dahn Yoga. I just want to log on my experiences to help others like me who are on the fence about this type of practice and decide for themselves.

    I am from Calgary, Canada and 3 new dahn yoga studios just popped up. I have attended 2 classes now and find some of the comments above similar. I am in love with yoga. I tried the studio because I was trying to find a studio near my house to go to. When I attended I thought I was going to a yoga class but it turned out very different. I was first sat down to be educated on the class especially to speak Korean sayings after certain exercises. I was poked and told I have emotional issues. During the class I did feel certain sensations I did not before. Like feeling really warm with little movement and feeling energy between my hands during meditation. After class my friend and I was swept into a deal if we both signed up at the same time for unlimited classes for a month for $89 each. She was a little pushy when we would come back for an assessment session. I just attributed it to her enthusiasm for the practice. I just had the assessment done today and took another class. This time she really poked me hard so much so I am getting really sore 12 hours after the class. I am starting to wonder if she did it so hard so she could prove to me I had emotions blocking my solar plexus point. She told me I have specifically family issues. I think in retrospect every human being at any point of their lives have emotional stuff with family in shape or form. For me, it is more charged as I have been through some unusual things. So yes it hit a sore point for me. I also told her I have been having a problem with my skin and she immediately said I would have clear skin in weeks. She told me I should do another session for $70 to help my severe blockage. I did book an appointment but I may cancel. So far what I think from my experience is she may be mixing some truths with her beliefs–good or bad I am not the one to judge. But I know when you agree with someone on one thing and they immediately present you with something else that you may not you are more likely to agree. I know this because it is a sales tactic I use to upsell sometimes at work. I am definitely a little put off with the pushyness.

    I guess from my typing this out I have more suspicious points than really positive points. It is turning out to be more expensive than the hot yoga classes I have been attending. For me, when attending the hot yoga classes I always leave feeling like a million bucks. After Dahn Yoga so far I am left feeling like I have a problem I need to fix immediately.

  18. NordaVinci Avatar

    When I was in Korea in 1987, I began to learn from a Korean co-worker a Korean form of martial art that he had learned from a disciple of a mountain man. Mountain men had stayed in the mountains, and their whole lives would usually teach only one disciple. About 1919 many mountain men received the revelation to come down from the mountains into the cities and to teach everybody. The motions were more circular than Tae Kwon Do. Along with motions there were breathing an cleaning the energy center visualizations, such as imagining the bright sun at the point below the navel (Dan center), and then tar or black smoke coming out the back at the point opposite the dan center. Then he showed me a book. It looked like a yoga book. I learned that they believe this came from Mongolia 5000 years ago, same time as a branch went to India. Definitely it is yoga equally as old as that from India.

  19. NordaVinci Avatar

    Actually just having read all the other comments, I have to really chuckle. I have been associated with Koreans for a long time and find it interesting that all Koreans seem to like me very much, but also that they have very aggressive and bossy personalities. The Korean I mention in my last comment in fact learned raja yoga meditation from me, that I learned from Ram Chandra of Shajahanpur. So that route of transmission was India-> America->Korea.

  20. scammed Avatar

    Let me tell you about how Dahn “yoga” as a beginner struck me. I had a introductory appointment on 5/32/2010 which I paid for in cash. After an evaluation and a hard to understand (the gentleman Seos ability to speak English was difficult to understand) introduction he asked me to sign up and how much could I afford. After a couple of back and forth conversations with his “manager” and my request to have some time (a day or two) to think about it he said no that if I didn’t take the offer now I would lose out. That’s when I should have left the office but instead I agreed to put a down payment of $100 dollars and sign a contract.
    After that was completed Seo told me that I would have to come back for another introductory appointment and I would need special clothes to participate. By the end of two hours the last 45 minutes spent in a battle over money and a contact I folded. When I got home I read the contract thoroughly and realized that I had made a huge mistake. However, I did have a recourse to canceling the contract and obtaining my down payment which I exercised on 6/1/2010 and 6/2/2010. I have called the local center 3 times in two days-each time there is a different excuse and a promist to call me back later. It hasn’t happened. I have also emailed and called the Dahn Yoga Customer Service number. No response from them either. So my conclusion before even getting any further into this program is this isn’t really what it appears to be and it is a scam. I can honestly say I have been had by an organization that does is not ethical and is not yoga (which I have participated in before). I went to the Dahn Yoga Center with high hopes…now I know it’s just a scam to get money from unsuspecting people who are desperate to improve their health and wll being. If it wasn’t why wouldn’t anyone at Dahn Yoga respond to my multiple requests and atleast try to discuss the problems with me…you be the judge.

  21. scammed Avatar

    sorry for the typos above but if you can get over that I hope you can understand why I am so frustrated and upset. I am disabled and live on a very fixed income. A $100 dollars might not seem like a lot to some people but to me it’s a big investment-stay away is all I can say and learn from my experience.

  22. Kelly Avatar

    Thanks for you comments, and no need to apologize. We appreciate your input and sharing of your direct experience.

  23. Allen Hong Avatar
    Allen Hong

    Body and Brain Yoga, formally known as Dahn Yoga, is a very well structured cult. While their practice encompasses various Eastern esoteric exercises, not one of them are strictly their own; copied from many different sources, Tao principles, Chan Buddhism, Japanese martial arts, etc. There are some benefits to the practice. They made it very simple so just about anyone can start training their body, mind, and spirit. Also the exercises does make one feel good as it is mainly focused on grounding one’s energy although any exercise will make you feel good if you didn’t have regular exercises before. However, that is where the benefits end.

    I started B&B Yoga back in August, 2015. I had just experienced a spiritual awakening on my own outside of any spiritual or religious background in July, 2015. I immersed very rapidly once I got started as B&B gave me simple tools to advance and strengthen my spiritual needs. But soon realized how rudimentary the practice was. Many of its principles came natural to me. They were basic knowledge for anyone that had any spiritual background. That is when hard sales pitch and push started. I was promised more knowledge and higher training if only I attended various workshops, some at the local centers, and some were national trainings in Sedona, Arizona. Which I gladly accepted as I thought this will help me grow. I attended multiple classes a day and many of the local workshops. Then I was asked to take national workshops in Sedona. And these didn’t come cheap. I was initially signed up two workshops, Solar Body Healing Course (SBHC) and Brain Management Training (BMT), together the cost was $5,000. I gathered all my credit card to pay for them as I was being convinced by the regional manager and trainer Eunice that this cost is for my own growth and education. Not even a week after I’ve decided to take these two courses, Eunice once again approached me about taking another workshop, Dahn Master Course (DMC), cost $10,000. I was told that if I took all three courses together, I will receive major discount, total cost of $11,900 for all three. As I told her I don’t have any more money, she started to ask me if I can borrow from family or friends. She was very insistent that I ask around for money. When I told her no, she said she can arrange a monthly payment plan for me. Which I eventually agreed for monthly payment of $485 until the balance is paid off, convincing myself that it was necessary for my own spiritual growth.

    I attended SBHC and BMT in early November, 2015. The workshops were devastatingly disappointing. First of all, I was told to purchase various items that were necessary for the workshops. However none of them were used. Very deceptive and shoddy practice to sell merchandise. Second, there was no new principles or exercises I learned. Third, I witnessed the mind altering brain washing process. Loud music, frantic dancing, and zealous body movements to lead people into trance like altered consciousness then they bombard members with subliminal and suggestive guided meditation in which they introduce worshipping of their founder Ilchi Lee. This became very obvious in BMT with multiple introduction videos about Ilchi Lee and constant talk of how “amazing” he is for creating this practice for all the members yet they don’t talk about how much money he makes from the members. Lastly, half the workshops were commercial for other workshops they offer, franchising information, and product demos. It felt like sitting at a Time Share presentation. It’s worth mentioning that the lead instructor, Master Jay seemed very depressed and confused about what he is doing. He hates himself for brain washing members but he is extremely talented at it. This was another issue. None of the masters seemed sure about the practice. All of them seemed to have mixed feelings about the it. One of them, a master with more than 25 years of training in the organization, told me that people don’t need to take all these workshop and it is just waste of money. After consulting with many fellow members about my concern, I realized that there is something really wrong with this organization. But it wasn’t until I came back from Sedona I realized the true depth of horrors and deception of this practice.

    First thing Eunice asked of me after I just got back from Sedona was whether if I can pay for the DMC in full that day. I was really disheartened and taken aback by her. She didn’t care how my experiences were. I started going to regular classes less and less and I decided to do research into this organization. Fortunately for me, I am fluent in Korean. Instead of English search, I decided to look at Korean websites for more information. These are some of the findings I thought were worth sharing. Most information is shared by former masters and individuals who worked closely with founder Ilchi Lee and the organization. The information is in Korean but if you can, I strongly encourage you to take a look at this website and maybe Google can somewhat translate for you.


    1. B&B franchise is known as Dahn World in Korea. They are the number one complaints of fraud and being a cult.
    2. There are some 60 or more sub organizations and institutes in Korea and internationally operated by Ilchi Lee which he launders his money. He is suspected to be worth billions but no one knows for sure how much. These include many different types of Chan Buddhism institutes, Tao fellowships, HSP brands, brain education institutes and miscellaneous unidentified organizations.
    3. One of the biggest sister organizations of Dahn in U.S. is Earth Citizens Organization in which Ilchi Lee is the chairman. While they are supposedly trying to help environment, they have not made any significant donation to any cause as of yet.
    4. Dahn has more than 30 years of history. They say they are promoting the ideology of benefitting all beings on Earth yet only thing they have been doing all these years is growing themselves in size. They haven’t been behind any worthwhile cause. All talk, no action. Just collecting money from its members for themselves only.
    5. All the workshops are set up to mass produce center masters (jidojas), or franchise owners as they are critical in group’s ability to grow larger in size. This helps recruiting new members which equals more money for the organization.
    6. While Ilchi Lee has claimed that he is not religious and Dahn is not a religion, he himself has been registered as Chan Buddhist Institute since 2004 in Korea receiving tax benefits.
    7. They take advantage of members who are vulnerable, weak, and fearful. They seem very nice, kind, and warm at first glance, but as soon as you are out of money and you are no use to them, they will cut you out cold hearted. When you first join the practice, they may give you aura readings or other consultation in which they boast you to feel special. They may tell you things like you were meant to be a spiritual leader and that you should become jidoja.
    8. Jidojas or center masters are taught to use their sexual energy when interacting with members. Especially, male masters are instructed to be very affectionate with excessive touching and hugging interacting with female members. This creates general attraction towards the masters from members and they are more easily convinced to pay for workshops and make donations.
    9. Many male masters use this ability to seduce female members to sexual relationships. Dahn has been heart break of many unsuspecting families. Adultery and sexual harassment is very common place in Dahn. There is ongoing joke among Dahn masters; this is not Dahn World, this is Sex World, or Sexual Harassment World.
    10. Ilchi Lee is obsessed with money more than anything. He has many houses and properties in Korea, US, and Japan. He has personal jets, yachts, limos, Hummers. Many of the properties are under his families and relatives.
    11. Ilchi Lee is addicted to sex. He’s had so many sex scandals since early 90’s. His favorite line to female students is “your mouth has the most acupressure points. Suck on my fingers, I will give you some energy”. He’s known to invite young female students to his private room for personal trainings as young as 14 years old. He has frequent sexual relationships with many female students. He is surrounded by ongoing, nonstop sex scandals even now.
    12. Ilchi Lee is big fan of gambling. He has a private residence in Las Vegas and he visits quite frequently. He’s known to waste several millions of dollars in a single night. He is loyalty and VIP at many of the Vegas casinos.
    13. He is a complete glutton. He eats 4-6 big meals a day and is suffering from diabetes and obesity. He has stopped doing any of his exercises many years ago. He can’t even walk without his walking stick anymore. He doesn’t practice what he preaches but he plays golf and horseback riding. He can’t even take care of his body, how can he help the world and people?
    14. Ilchi Lee has exalted himself into a “divine being”. He calls himself the Heaven. He calls his lectures Heaven’s Landing. His lectures are basic information rehashed and repeated from the same information available everywhere. He has to be bowed and worshipped before he comes out and speaks to his followers. He has created a division between himself and fellow human beings.
    15. They control their members through fear. They say that the world is coming to an end in 2020 so we should dedicate ourselves and our money to reach an enlightenment now. They prey on innocent people who really want to make a change in the world and help themselves.
    16. Jidojas are slaving their lives away with almost no pay while Ilchi makes more than double the money of 3000 or so jidojas throughout his organization each year. Jidojas live away from their families and friends in a dorm with other masters. They spend ungodly hours working. It’s depressing, inhumane environment. There are handful of cases where these jidojas committed suicides.
    17. Ilchi has been arrested for fraud, misrepresentation, false advertisement, falsification of legal documents, and reporting manufactured sales and tax information multiple occasions. They have been reporting that they are making profits but in actuality, they are losing so much members these days. They are expected to close up to 70% of centers in Korea and U.S. He has made a claim that he was one of the chosen 50 spiritual leaders by U.N. which was complete lie and was arrested by Korean government for misrepresentation. And he called it the “day that went against the Heaven”.
    After finding more about the organization, on December 21, I met with Eunice and talked about my findings and concerns. When I told her that I was concerned that this is a cult, she didn’t even deny it. She said, “Yeah we are that kind of organization. So what of it?” There was no shame or guilt from her cold eyes. Baffled by her reaction, I just told her that I’m not going to attend any more workshops and that I am finished with the practice completely. Then she tried to convince me that there is no other practice like Dahn. I told her actually, you’ve copied from other practices without giving them credit and that I can go learn from somewhere else the same exact principles and exercises without going bankrupt. At that moment she just completely cut me out and told me to get out. I asked about how can I get my money back and they were going to call me about how in couple days. However, as of today January 2, 2016, they have not made any attempt to communicate with me about refund.

    While Dahn promotes wonderful message of hope and harmonious world, the organization itself is extremely corrupt and evil. In that core is Ilchi Lee who is worshipped by these blinded masters and members follow without questioning. Don’t trust the center masters. They may be good people but they also can’t see beyond the illusions created by Ilchi Lee. When you step back and look with objective eyes, it become very clear. Look deep and wide and see it for what it truly is. There is no singular truth or ideology to enlightenment. There are as many doors to enlightenment as there are people in this Earth. Take a step back and free yourself from these restrictions and limitations. In the end, I’m not here to change anyone’s mind. I only want to share my view of the practice. You don’t have to believe what I say. I want people to question everything and make that choice from their heart and soul. If you truly believe that Dahn or B&B yoga is the way you’ve chosen to grow your spirituality, then that is perfectly fine. But there is a beautiful world out there and real growth comes from researching and applying yourself in your life, not hiding behind a safety of an ideology of a cult leader.

    The following is an excerpt from the book “Captive Hearts, Captive minds”, by Madeline Tobias and
    Janja Lalich adapted from information compiled by Dr. Micheal Langone.

    Checklist of Cult Characteristics

    “Comparing the following statements to the group with which you or a family member or loved one is involved may help you determine if this involvement is cause for concern. If you check any of these items as characteristic of the group in question, and particularly if you check many of them you may well be dealing with a cult and should critically examine the group and its relationship to you or your loved one.

    1) The group is focused on a living leader to whom members display excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment.

    2) The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members and/or making money.

    3) Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged.

    4) Mind-numbing techniques (for example: meditation, chanting, denunciation sessions, or debilitating work routines) are used to suppress members’ doubts.

    5) The group’s leadership dictates how members should think, act, and feel (for example: members must get permission from leaders to date, change jobs, or get married;) leaders may determine types of clothes to wear, where to live, how to discipline children, and so forth.

    6) The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, it’s leader(s), and members (for example: the leader is considered the Messiah or an avatar; the group and/or the leader has a special mission to save humanity).

    7) The group has a polarized we-they mentality that causes conflict with the wider society.

    8) The group’s leader is not accountable to any authorities (as are, for example, military commanders and ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream denominations).

    9) The group teaches or implies that its “superior” ends justify means that members would have
    considered unethical before joining the group (for example: collecting money for bogus charities).

    10) The group’s leadership induces guilt feelings in members in order to control then

    11) Members’subservience to the group causes them to give up previous personal goals and interests while devoting inordinate amounts of time to the groups.”

    12) Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.

    Adapted with permission from Dr. Michael Langone.

    These are some of the vital information I felt like needed to be shared. Here are some links to other sources you should look into.

    1. HoneyBe Avatar

      What am extensive and important post! It should be its own blog. I’m glad I read this far down in the comments before trying it. I used to take Dahn Chi yoga, which sounds similar, but I think Master Kim was more of a lone wolf.

      Thank you!

  24. Gerri Tomitz Avatar
    Gerri Tomitz

    I wish I had checked into reviews of Dahn yoga before I joined for next 3 months (450.00).
    I have just completed my 4th class of first week and found myself to be suspicious of a few things but I just checked off to my usual attitude of suspicion and sarcasm. A coup,e of things occurred during that week that I thought that
    “Hmmm! That sounds very cultish! I suffer with a couple of ruptured spinal discs and very arthritic knees.
    The 4th class I took was called meditation (70 min). The major part of which was approximately 35-40 minutes
    Of cardio. Very intense especially for me since I haven’t done anything more than dog walking fir past years and I’m
    In my 70’s. But I kept up and finished. However my knees were tattered and I had to stay off my feet the whole next day. I’ve done yoga over the past years, also low and high impact aerobics free weights etc. so I’m no stranger to excerise. Sine I am older I thought yoga and tI chi would be a more gentle way to get results but I’m becoming
    More uneasy …… I catch on quick…… It’s not so much the excerise but the rhetoric that seems to come constantly, and the costly seminars that are also suggested …. So I will continue and be more selective of classes offered and keep my expectations low and in 3 months I will fine myself an adequate yoga studio that offers just classes at a fair price without the rhetoric.

  25. Katy Avatar

    Dear Kelly,

    Thank you for writing this article , as it has helped me clarify my intuition. I started taking classes at a Dahn – now called Brain Body Yoga – love the work, but felt a strange manipulation from the very beginning. My fears have been validated through your article and a few others as well. Although I think they actually have a wonderful system, it is obviously being run by people without integrity. It is now 2016 – and they are still going strong…. I cannot say everything I would like to – but, I will definitely not be attending their classes or workshops anymore.

    Take care,


  26. Anton Avatar

    What defines a cult? The numbers of people practicing and popular opinion, nothing else. Christianity has all the trappings of a cult, yet nobody is very concerned (including the massive body count). Any teaching or system of thought can be called a cult if you want to pass a negative judgement on it. Yes, Dahn Yoga is named so purely for marketing reasons, but so is every yoga shop in the US. Don’t give me this crap that it’s pure and ancient, it’s nothing but lifestyle, fitness, and making money. If anything, Dahn system actually DOES DO something as far as focusing and centering your energy, where in my experiences “real” Yoga is a complete waste of time from a spiritual perspective. This is exactly the reason people feel “manipulated” and feel fear; because their established system of untrue beliefs is threatened. How is that a bad thing? Fear shows us exactly where we need to go on our spiritual path. But sure, stick with your yoga – it threatens nothing, AND gives you a good-looking ass.

    1. Timothy Burgin Avatar
      Timothy Burgin

      What do you mean by “the trappings of a cult”? You said in the previous sentence that a cult is defined by the “numbers of people practicing and popular opinion, nothing else” and your comments after contradict this definition. I am glad to hear you admit Dahn Hak is committing false advertising by calling itself “yoga”. From your judgmental statements you clearly don’t know much about the history and practice of yoga, so please stop comparing Dahn Hak to yoga. From the extensive research we’ve done and from personal accounts we have heard about Dahn Hak you should indeed be very very fearful of this organization.

    2. Ilchi Avatar

      For the questioning student/master…

      Dahn has created a beautiful picture out of fragments of truth claiming it to be more powerful and real than perhaps what it really is.

      Let’s start simple and then get to the more intense stuff…

      This article is about Denver location… Let’s take their Google reviews … 10/23 are of Masters/Instructors current and old….. And if it’s like most centers the majority of other reviews are probably from core members whom Are contacted and asked to write reviews and sometimes for multiple locations… I’d bet money 3-4 are organically real

      Dahn yoga is so contrived…. Ilchi lee was never part of the 50 leaders of UN he happened to be in a group photo and Dahn used that to make their own title. Read official articles and see Spokeman of UN illuminate ilchi lee’ false claims/ advertisement.

      He was never a doctor despite adding Doctor to his name for period of time. It was a papermill degree

      Did he really stay awake with out laying down or eating for 21 days? My inner hopeful monk in me says yes!! But really, did he?

      He says he no longer holds position in Dahn as to say not getting paid by its profits. Yet he is a consultant through Br Consulting who no heard gets roughly 500K or more per month just from America. Granted he buys lots of property to give back to Dahn world..to be honest I do not know for sure how much he gets paid…

      It is normal for Dahn yoga “masters” instructors to put their own money, savings, loans for monthly “vision” which is extreme amounts of money. Average 16k-25K per month . Every. month.

      Masters will promise Anything to help someone and to help someone means this person will grow Most by Dahn programs… Anything for money… And if someone is unsatisfied with their program/result it is almost Always their fault, not the program… “The person wasn’t ready, wasn’t open, didn’t do it right, etc”

      Now let’s look at the more complicated stuff…

      There are Dahn “masters” scared to leave because they are scared for their soul’s growth. This is not okay.

      They are Dellusional to think Ilchi lee is the savior… People spend loads of money for the security that 100years after he or they die (I forget) will come save you. Man Jesus must be more the philanthropist type…he does it for free… And yet because I was in this cult as a master for 6 years I have a conditioned response… “Money helps bring things to physical manifestation. So of course he’ll save you and give money because it’s going to help create real changes needed here on earth”

      Problem is people in Dahn lose connection to the reality that Many organizations and people are also doing Amazing work. And there are lots of ways to grow your soul and to help humanity. Now that I’m out I see more similarities and overlaps with so many amazing groups yet being in Dahn felt like us vs them and we need more people as if people couldn’t grow and do Amazing things in other groups. 100earth citizens/mago members meant Dahn members.This is what’s sad. Having left… My hearts love has expanded 2fold. I can even say I love those in Dahn as they too are just trying to do their best in this confusing world where truth is revealed just a little bit through everyone’s eyes.

      To those who are enjoying the classes please I hope you continue too. As these principles and practices are Not unique to Dahn. when I was a beginner member I was warned about all this and I didn’t even want to hear it mostly because I was getting SO much benefit (1. Didn’t care 2. Didn’t believe it) And stil now I can have gratitude for the benefit, healing, and abilities I developed through my time at Dahn. Extremely grateful. But to those who are wanting to leave but scared for your soul because of what they tell you please please take time and space…. If ilchi lee really is savior he’ll forgive you if you need to leave, seek balance, reconnect with family, take little time for self, take a break, seek a neutral counselor, talk to an ex member… If he really is savior..his love will embrace you anyway… And if not well then by following that little voice to leave because it’s not quite right then may take you closer to what you really want. And a master questioning has been given fear “the voice to leave is your ego voice for comfort. Follow your souls voice, which is to stay and be lead by ilchi lee for earth citizen movement”
      It’s become another voice clouding and ensuing guilt and confusion… Dahns way does not seem to be sustainable and with good emotional to financial practice. Really those questioning please put all the pieces together and is your soul and heart proud of its practice? Of course it’s beliefs but the reality of it in practice ?

      Please take time and space…

      “What do you really want?”

  27. Nicole Avatar

    I was a Canadian english teacher living in korea for a year and it didn’t take me long to become a member of Dahn (Hak). I had been practicing Tai Chi back home proir to my year teaching abroad. I was fairly young at this time – mid 20’s and new to spirutual growth. Dahn drew me in quickly. Besides my teaching friends I had made, I now had a place of belonging in a foreign country – people who desired for me to meet my potential in spiritual growth as much as I did. Unlike some of the others who posted, I did feel the energy vibration during practise. It was mind blowing. It wasn’t right away, it happened after about a month when I was visiting a different centre. There was a guest master who would be leading that night. We closed our eyes and the lights were off. We stood with palms outstretched as she walked around to each of us. She got to me and how I can only explain it is that it felt as though she had passed me a ball. An energy ball. My mind both wanted and didn’t want to accept that this was happening. The skeptic in me was nervous and but I couldn’t deny what had transpired. From here, I would continue to hone my ability to feel my own body’s vibrational energy and I was loving it. I was going to practises almost daily and by 3 months had already been to one weekend workshop and planning for another, while also making grander plans for a future in Dahn. With the help of my master I had emailed the master at a centre in Toronto where I would move to study. This is where my my family comes in. Upon hearing all that was going on half way around the world and the sudden and very significant changes that was/would happen, they began to investigate Dahn Hak and became very alarmed. They were even planning to fly to me and have an intervention. When they told me about their concerns I became very defensive and angry. I couldn’t understand why they would interfere with my spiritual journey when I felt as though I was really thriving in this practise. My aunt asked me to be open. “What could you lose if you are open?” she said to me. These were the magic words because she was right. If I was open and I looked through these critical lenses she was asking me to momentarily wear, then I could fully trust in all that had and was taking place for me in Dahn Hak. I was scared (which is a red flag in and of itself) but I looked. I read about former members and their experiences in Dahn. My fear increased as I continued to read more amd more because their stories sounded so familiar; so much like mine. I had been starting to invest more and more money into this practice. The workshop I was to attend entailed a couple of days where we would not sleep. There was no critical thinking going on – which in some ways was something I actually enjoyed about it but I realize how dangerous this can be. The hanging, framed photo of the movement’s leader, as I thought about it later, was something I thought a bit weird at the start of all this – but a fleeting thought. He seemed revered, like a common sight you would see in a Christian home of Jesus. Once the fear subsided a little, it was as though I had awoken from a dream. It was very easy for me to suddenly stop attending classes. My director of my school phoned the Dahn centre and informed them that I would not longer be a member. This news to the Dahn centre master was enough to warrent a visit to my school which was kind of frightening and I believe disrespectful. She could have come to kindly return the $500 I had given in prepayment of the workshop I would no longer be attending but she did not. I didn’t speak with her because I didn’t want any confrontation, my decision was made clear to her already and I had already been manipulated enough. As a former member and years later, I can personally say that, yes, there are many spirtual benefits that Dhan provided me. It has taken time to get to this place of peace about it because there was loss and betrayal. The masters are not (I don’t believe) purposefully trying to cause harm, just the opposite I’m sure. But I don’t believe they are capable of looking through those same critical lenses I thankfully had the courage to put on. In reading some of the other blogs which aim to point out the many aspects of this practice that are not in harmony with true, no-strings-attached, free from personal gain via it’s members, spiritual practice…I know that for me, I have made the right choice. My spiritual journey continues and thankfully has not been thwarted my my experience with Dahn. Inherently, there is some good stuff there with an emphasis on the word Some. I know that my ability to look inward and feel my body’s vibrational energy are not to the credit of Dahn but to me. Spiritual growth, I know now, can be achieved in a multidude of ways, not one way. I’m grateful for all my experiences, including this one.

  28. Diane Avatar

    This practice is a cult where the so-called masters pressure people to “attain enlightenment” or “grow the soul” through money-draining classes and trainings and products. Initially, you feel good and very light. When you work there, you are expected to be at the center cleaning, out delivering brochures, and at every outreach class or staying late to stuff envelopes to bring in more members. Once they target certain strong individuals who have had past emotional trauma, the masters park outside your house to “send you energy” before you go on trainings. Weird ceremonies in their Sedona compound are of the dark occult but you are told it is to “free the souls or spirits of your ancestors” but it is more like capturing them for their false gods. Soul-sucking mind-thought-brain control coming through your cell-phone, computer, radio, or through group meditations to psychically suck your energy to help the family and lineage and higher-ups of the many umbrella organizations (including the brain institute in Seoul which teaches children ESP) of Il Chi Li overcome disease and to worship the Dongun golden statue thing and incubi/succubi/unclean spirits that visit at night to feed on you. Does anyone really know how many websites and full-time IT people they employ to track and electronically torture past and present members? Do you know why they ask certain members, “Do you accept Il Chi Li?” Aggressively driving people into debt and isolating them from friends, family, hobbies, etc. is how they control people and keep them confused or dependent and unable to think for themselves. Here’s an insidious group of mind terrorists Trump needs to send back to Korea as they are the enemy of the American people. Stay away!

  29. Rita Avatar

    All I will say is that YES, I was sexually abused by one of the Dahn Yoga Masters during at least two of the classes. I had purchased a Groupon for 10 classes and was really looking forward to taking them. The master teacher had touched and massaged me very inappropriately. I wrote a very extensive letter to the company as well as a yelp review. The Dahn representative wrote back and simply said that she was sorry that I had misunderstood the techniques used by the Dahn master. By the way, they also hounded me for weeks to become a member. Needless to say, I never went back! Dahn Yoga is now called Body & Brain. It’s a few blocks away from my home. I drove past it tonight and was sadly reminded of my experience with Dahn Yoga. Cult? YES! Do stay away!

  30. Michelle Salazar Avatar
    Michelle Salazar

    I feel terrible that many have had such a negative experience, when I myself had a great one. I joined the Dahn Center in the Bronx around 2002 for about 3 years. I left because I had to move. There was no Dahn Center to join near where I lived. My experience was incredible. I had some health problems since my early twenties that were actually resolved by the different types of movements done in all the classes I took. I was 36 years old when I joined and had severe problems with constipation, and was diagnosed with IBS and other things that I truly didn’t believe I had. I was severely depressed, and had always been about 120 lbs and was overweight when I joined. No one has to believe me and I miss it terribly. But while I was at the Dahn Center, within the first year, my constipation was alleviated I lost all the weight and was so toned. My depression was gone and I do believe the Dahn center helped with the depression as does probably all types of exercises. But I truly enjoyed my experience. I have moved from where I was living, to find that I am closer to different Dahn centers, now call Brain…. only to understand how many people had such negative experiences and to find that they have been written up as a cult. It’s really sad. I had every intention to return to the Dahn Center because my ailments, of course, have returned and I have been to too many doctors and nothing has helped. Now, I just don’t know, and it’s very expensive. I wish I could find more information on what’s really going on. People are People and sexual harassment can happen anywhere, but the other situations along with sexual harassment are just unacceptable. I’m so disappointed that all this has happened.

  31. Liane Avatar

    Dahn center does not practice yoga or healing. It is all about mind control. Just like any egotistical abuser they hide behind something that should be positive. Just like a cult & abuser if you try to leave they are spiteful & vengeful. I hope they get exposed for what they truly are.

  32. Wojtek Avatar

    Dahn “yoga” was very beneficial for me … but I realized about too many secrets, lies. They forced people to pay .., I invited my friend , he had money so he was charged more than he should..,
    Shame .. because I felt great after many classes..,
    Nothing wrong with Dahn .. but hope those Korean cheaters will ended up in jail.

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Kelly Golden Avatar
About the author
Kelly has been a student and practitioner of yoga for over a decade, and through the exploration of the physical and philosophical practices, yoga has touched every aspect of her life in a positive way. In her sharing of yoga, she strives to inspire in others the peace, well being, balance, harmony, and understanding that yoga has brought to her own life. Kelly graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1998 with a degree in Creative Writing. Following college, she did freelance writing and editing before turning her focus more completely toward yoga and rearing a family. Kelly is currently serving as the Director of Vira Bhava Yoga School.
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