Scandals! Lawsuits! Mind Manipulation? …Cult? …Yoga?
Hopefully that’s not what one might normally associate with our precious yoga, or would like to anyway. But for any Dahn Yoga practitioners out there (not to be confused with the Yoga ‘Don‘), this may all be a little too close for comfort. (Though, we’re with YD pals at Drishti pondering the legitimacy of referring to this as a form of yoga at all)
A 53-page lawsuit (pdf) has been filed by 26 former Dahn members alleging “psychological manipulation“. Though the lawsuit was just recently filed, experts have been on the case for a while. Cult connoisseur, Steve Hassan, has been counseling former members for years and even came out in 2007 stating, “It’s [Dahn] a destructive, deceptive, mind control cult.” He sounds pretty decided on that one.
To be perfectly frank, we can’t say we’ve been schooled on the methods of Dahn, even though there are said to be 130 centers across the U.S. From the sounds of things it seems pretty darn creepy! Maybe a little Xenu Scientology? Maybe, sort of, reminiscent of the Landmark Forum? kinda? in a way?
All right, well, it’s creepy and sure did screw up some people’s psyches, which is not cool.
“members were required to acknowledge… absolute devotion” to its leader, Ilchi Lee, and his “Vision”.
“Absolute devotion to Defendant Ilchi Lee and his ‘Vision’ required that members dedicate all of their available cash and credit to the Dahn organization” and “…disconnect from their previous life, including friends and family and any personal interests outside of Dahn”.
“They’re basically taking people’s minds and substituting the Dahn mind in its place,” Hassan told ABC15 in 2007.
“Defendants recruit new members into the Dahn organization through the use of solicitation by existing members, operation of Dahn Yoga ‘Body and Brain’ clubs on college campuses, as well as by advertising in fliers posted on college campuses and nearby businesses and street corners”.
Want more creepiness? How about “bizarre rituals” referred to as “spiritual surgery”?
According to the lawsuit, it happened at Dahn’s Sedona, Arizona Center. Retreats there also included “competitive events where losers were punished by sticking their heads in the toilet, drinking toilet water, licking and kissing the other members’ feet on the floor of the men’s bathroom”.
And the Dahn Yoga HQ reaction?
Dahn Yoga Official Statement Regarding May 22, 2009 Lawsuit by Former Employees:
Dahn Yoga & Health Centers, Inc. and its affiliates appreciate the contributions of over 2000 employees and franchise holders worldwide. Their happiness and well being are key to our success. We have reviewed the lawsuit and consider its claims frivolous. We are confident that the truth will be revealed in court.
Uh huh. It’s to court they go!
Do you practice Dahn Yoga? What say you?
We have a Dahn Yoga in our town. I don’t know much about them, but I heard of very aggressive sales techniques and preying on peoples psychological weaknesses. This confirms my first impressions.
I’ve read iffy cult-like rumors about Dahn Yoga in the past too! That’s a little scary. There’s also a Dahn Yoga studio near my hometown!!
someone told me they were like the Moonies! remember that guy? someone else told me that he USED to do Dahn Yoga and even went to Arizona for their retreat and the stuff he told was too weird, like boot camp stuff. like doing 100 chatarungas or something insane like that.
Dahn is a dangerous cult. I have a loved one in their grips right now and it is not easy to get her out. Imagine having to hire a professional therapist and cult expert just to get someone out of a “yoga” group. The classes themselves are pretty good, but once you get to the die hard members or instructors that’s where the odd stuff starts to happen. Dahn pays its employees a little over minimum wage, forces them to work 6-7 days a week, illegally have their employees under report their hours so Dahn doesn’t have to pay them the amounts owed, they don’t give full time employees paid time off (so all the training and trips they push down their throats is on their own time), and they don’t even provide affordable health care coverage (the masters convince the employees that if they truly believe in Dahn they can self heal and won’t need it [I actually heard someone say that a master “allowed” herself to get a cold so she could feel it again]). Ilchi Lee is nothing more than a cult leader who’s followers are encouraged to follow every word he says. He is a multi millionaire while his employee work their butts off for peanuts. How is this the great future that he tries to sell them? Great for him!! Ilchi Lee profits from every angle of Dahn, he sells books that his followers buy up, he goes on a lecture tour that his followers flock to and look at him like a living God [yes I went to one with my loved one]. My loved one gave up their lifelong religous beliefs in a matter of one year and they have been replaced my Ilchi Lee’s spiritual teachings. He writes books of “scripture” that have some common sense sayings in it followed by a comment about about true believers following their king [Ilchi Lee] so he can lead them to heaven. He likes to use God and Lord and even has comparisons to Jesus. This creates a link in the readers mind between Ilchi Lee and known religious icons.
Scary is an understatement for what this organization can do to a person’s psyche. They encourage their employees and die hard members to basically beg, borrow, or steal in order to pay for more events or trips. I’ve heard of people in Dahn or who got out of Dahn with $10-40k in debt. I’ve been at special training sessions where a master actually told everyone that in order to successfully train with Dahn we would have to get rid of our “attachments” to boyfriend and girlfriends, but if we want to have sex we could. Hmm, doesn’t that just leave me with complete strangers since I was supposed to get rid of my attachments???
Beyond what was in the lawsuit I’ve been told of events where a female member was sexually molested by a male master as part of her training to break her attachment to her body and her emotions.
I could literally go on and on about this cult. Once I get my loved one out of this place I will be go after them with every legal angle I can. They need to pay for what they are doing to people. They get their members to surrender all their secrets and guilts and use it against them to gain control.
Again, STAY AWAY!!!
Here is an interesting letter written by someone who got out.
Great post. Weirdly I was all freaked out that L.A. Yoga profiled Ilchi Lee this month with nary a mention of any this creepiness even though I’d been hearing such allegations for years. It’s about time Dahn and Lee become accountable even if it’s just allegations at this point. If in fact, the lawsuit is frivolous, let’s find out for sure.
I’d love to see the yoga community do an in depth analysis of the Dahn practice and discredit its use of the name Yoga. Dahn is not Yoga, it comes from Korea, Ilchi Lee has no teacher. There is a Dahn lineage, but those who are a part of the true Dahn lineage in Korea believe Ilchi Lee is a criminal and a fraud. “Dahn Yoga” as it is practice in the 130 Dahn Yoga centers is nothing more than the accumulation of ideas Lee has come up with (and in many cases, stolen from other teachers-they tried to sue, and he shut them up by paying them off) to make more money. There is nothing systematic about the practice, there is no consistency of training among the teachers, and the long term affects of the practice are not known, as they are with real Yoga. In fact, there are many cases of people’s health going down the tubes with pro-longed practice (the people in Dahn will howl about this, but those of you who have been around for a long time know those people who were shoved off to the side with strokes, mental problems, spine issues, heart problems, etc). When Ilchi Dahn first came to the US, it was called Dahn Hak. But Yoga was popular and so Dahn Hak became Dahn Yoga instead, with the hope that more members would join because everyone was looking for Yoga.
The instructors by and large are some of the most amazing, intelligent, compassionate, well-intentioned people on the planet. But they have been co-opted by a corrupt teacher. The whole situation is very sad, not unlike the situation with teachers like Osho or what happened at Kripalu.
My personal opinion is that several things need to happen free these amazing people from Ilchi Lee’s grips (they say they want to be with him as a teacher…..but I must believe they have deeper integrity and deeper self trust somewhere inside and that if they really had time to look at the facts and think about the implications of the facts, they would make better choices):
-The yoga community must expose Dahn Yoga as a low-quality, rootless practice unworthy of the name Yoga
-Ilchi Lee’s predatory sexual nature must be revealed (Jessica Harrelson is the voice of HUNDREDS of silenced Korean women)
-Ilchi Lee’s secret wealth in the hundred of millions must be exposed
-The current members and sabumnims need support from their friends and families to make the harsh transition out of the community into a life with greater health and deeper integrity
-Ilchi Lee’s army of Korean indentured servants must be freed and supported in their transition into a new life. Most Korean “employees” receive only a small living stipend, no health care, no retirement benefits, no legal status in the US, and no money to visit home, even for a funeral. One of the claimants, Chun Hwa Ha, developed Limes Disease while working at the Dahn hotel in Ellenville, NY (Honor’s Haven, BEST5 Resort), and after 11 years of service and SERIOUS medical complications (she can now barely walk) the organization refuses to pay any medical expenses.
I am doing what I can to shine light in dark places. Hope this message reaches other who want to do the same.
I was with them for 7years,horrible.
Thanks for your insightful comments, TruthAboutIlchi. You are very brave.
I think another positive outcome which should happen after Dahn folds (which we all know is the direction it’s headed, and thank God for that!) is that the wealthy American ex members who gave so much of their money to Dahn should now start a non-profit whose proceeds are used to help Korean masters start new lives when Dahn folds and Ilchi Lee goes to jail.
What I have been told is that high-level Korean masters who have been with Dahn for years and know that Ilchi Lee is a fraud and a criminal are afraid to leave because they know they will be shunned by their families and by Korean society. It would be a great service to help people like this to get away from this destructive organization.
It’s probably too late to ask this, but just in case you’re still watching this discussion, Ex-Dahn, will you please explain what you meant when you said that Korean masters in Dahn would be shunned by their families and by Korean Society. It sounds like you’re saying that they respect Dahn, but I got the impression somewhere that many Koreans think Dahn is a cult.
In reply to the question by Anonymous (7/18/09), what I meant is that Koreans who have disappeared into the ranks of Ilchi Lee’s Dahn have been shunned by their families. Their choice of a questionable alternative lifestyle (especially one that has such a shady reputation as Dahn Yoga) has earned them the cold shoulder from their families. Korean society is very traditional in this way. When Korean masters contemplate leaving Dahn, they have to acknowledge that they will have no support system and will get no help from their families, so many choose to stay in Dahn and keep protecting Ilchi Lee. At least in Dahn, they have some status and are respected by the lower ranking members. I hope that clarifies what I meant.
I am currently a member of Dahn Yoga. I have been so for two years now. I have gained much from the teachings and excercise. I have had my doubts about the organization. This past friday, I had an experience that I feel I must tell. After drinking a cup of the tea from the center, I felt intoxicating physical affects. I used to use drugs, and the effects I felt were similar to the affects of taking magic mushrooms or LSD. The rest of the night I felt these affects. I used to work for my center, and make the tea. I know from first hand experience, “the master” I worked for at the time did not drug the tea. THe tea was made of roots and barks and a couple of berries. I do not know exactly what they are. I am afraid they are using natural drugs to keep people coming back. I am not sure, and plan on doing more research. I will post again with my findings.
This is a very serious allegation. Did anyone else feel those kinds of effects in your group? If so, your credibility would be greater (or maybe they spiked only your tea). I think you will not have credibility unless you either get a blood test and a urinalysis done immediately, or, if it’s too late for that, maybe you can try to sneak a sample of their tea next time to take it to a lab. If you find drugs either way, you should take your complaint to the police and the attorney general for your state. Let us know here too please.
I know it is very serious. I have just quit Dahn and decided never to go back. I tried to get a refund for I class I have already signed up for, but if you have any experience with Dahn, getting money back is almost an impossibility. I don’t think the tea was drugged neccessarily, but I do think one of the herbs they use has psychoactive affects. I do have a smaple of the tea that I bought from Dahn about a year ago. I am going to go to one of these korean markets and identify each herb in the tea and research the affects of each one. Of course, when I purchased this tea, there was a different “master” at the center. Freom what I have heard, each “master” has different ingredients in their tea. I will keep you updated.
Yogiseph, good for you. I’m happy to hear that you are strong enough to leave Dahn. The tea was the least of your worries and if you want to press them for a refund skip the local master and go to the Corporate office. If you don’t get it back just be happy that it wasn’t worse, I know people who went $20-45k into debt because of this place. I know how hard it is to get out once they get their hands on you and you have poured out your soul to them. Feel free to write me at email@example.com to chat. Obviously there is sarcasm in my address.
Thanks for the kind words. I had always heard allegations that Dahn was a cult, but I was getting so much from it, that I denied these allegations without doing research. Now that I have done a little, I realize that Dahn really is a cult. I am sad to see so many people throw away so much money. I had just signed up for healer’s school, good thing I didn’t pay for it yet!
I am still practicing yoga everyday, and have found a new place to learn. My first class is this saturday, so I am really excited about it. I will be going to the Yoga Institute.
So if you are a member of Dahn, please read a little bit on cults and how they operate. It might just open your eyes and make you realize that you are in a cult. Dahn really has people by the heart & souls. The excercises they have stolen, are really good for you and they open you up to a whole new world. The only problem is they try to control you by not passing down the knowledge of this. They want you to pay thousands of dollars for each little class. I paid five thousand dollars to learn some tai chi moves that had been stolen from another practice. Please start thinking about exactly what you are doing. Leaping before you look is ridiculous.
You nailed it, you heard people say the “anti” stuff about Dahn but because you felt you were getting something out of it you didn’t listen. You are very lucky that you didn’t pay for “healer” school.
Thank you for your honesty about their practice, they have stolen their movements from other forms of yoga and tai chi and rebranded it their own. Oh and of course that comes with a big sticker price. But don’t worry because it will lead you to enlightenment and you will see the world differently. Don’t forget you’ll also have to give your whole life to them in order to reach THEIR enlightenment.
Enjoy your new found freedom from Dahn’s grip. I pray that the person I know will soon have the same realization about them and escape as well.
I used to practice Dahn Yoga and went to healer school, so I was pretty into it, but also a little on my guard because of all the negative stuff I’d read on the Internet. I never touted up all the money I spent on that plus healing massages and classes but I suspect it would make me cringe. I have to say that I learned a lot from the classes and some of the masters. Although I’d practiced yoga for a long time previously I experienced some feelings of elation and heightened energy that were new to me. I got out mostly because I didn’t like the last master (they keep changing them) and have not gone there in a couple of years although I spent quite a bit of money on a lifetime membership. Although I’m glad I stopped I do find myself missing the positive experiences. It’s sort of like being an addict and at first you get a lot of pleasure from your addiction of choice and then inevitably things go downhill. I also have to say that I never saw anything terrible happen (e.g. foot kissing?), but did start to feel that there was coercion and manipulation going on.
Thanks for the message. It made me feel better about my decision. I feel the same way about the addiction. I miss Dahn very much right now. I miss the compassion and the energy I would get by being there. I guess I also miss being apart of something.
I never saw anything terrible, but I did see them pressure members for money, and aasking them to take out loans. I have a friend, who bought a lifetime membership, went to most of the workshops and worked for the center for two years. They changed the masters around, and the new master fired her after 5 months. This was after she had not been paid for the previous 5 months of working for the new master. My friend told me some very bad stories about how rude the master was too her, and how when she fired her she was also very rude. She basically told her she didn’t need anyone to clean the floors for her anymore and opened the door as to say leave now. There was no thanks for her work, or hope to see you in class tomorrow. Now take in mind, my friend was not only cleaning the studio, she was doing advertisement, performing healing sessions, teaching classes, and investing her time and money into the studio. Then like the flick of a switch she was let go without a thank you or anything.
I love how I feel after classes. I love that it is not pointless movement as I felt in the gym. I love that I can go into myself in movement and meditation.
I’m worried that the master and program supposedly know what I NEED in terms of my “enlightenment.” In order to achieve this I have be aggressively approached to spend up to $5,000. I have repeatedly politely explained that I do not have that kind of disposable income. I also do not know what the heck these workshops are supposed to do. One workshop I went to ended in a sales pitch (after we exposed our “goals”) for the next level of workshops (increasingly expensive).
I am still a member but despite how much I loved the classes because they were freeing, I keep feeling nervous and vulnerable. I was told that this was my “victim consciousness” and not to trust my brain. How can something that feels so good, also have what I am sensing is oppressive?
on the fence
Man I know what you mean, I am only 3 mounts in I spent my good money on multiple 1/1 sessions and 3 months membership I love the exercises and the classes and I gain a lot from the master. But every week they try to sell me work shops and try to get me more involved with the center and so on… I didn’t really care about ilchi but I found it awkward that his face it everywhere. Now they handed me pr for master class after 3 mounts I was like OK… Let’s see do a research on this 10k class not that I have that money but just curious… And I went down the rabbit hole so many scary stuff and I feel so sorry for my master…. But also feel betrayed be now I this the master saw me as a cow to milk…. I can go back there after knowing all this abuse by ilchi… So sad
An addiction is the perfect way to describe Dahn Yoga. I’ve seen the withdrawal reaction people have when they are pulled away from Dahn. It is ugly and full of emotion as their brain tries to adjust to not having their “fix”.
Check out the new article on Forbes, go there and search for Dahn Yoga. Besides being another interesting article on Dahn’s impact, there are a lot of interesting comments on there.
I went to dahn yoga for a year. There is no doubt in my mind that this place is a cult. NO doubt. Im actually hesitant to write about my experience because Im scared of them coming after me, which is paranoid but not entirely after my experience. I went with a injury and I have to say the classes were very gentle and helpful which is why I kept coming back. The teachers moved in on me, were very “loving” in the way that everytime I went I was pressured to do an energy reading, healing session, go on a retreat. I didnt have money for these things and had to tell the same 2 people almost daily no. I refused to wear the uniform -simply because I didnt like it. This was a big problem- I was repeatedly asked to wear it and they kept explaining “its important to your practice” when I said “Im just here to stretch out, I dont like it and Im never going to wear it I actually threw it out” -the instructor looked like she was going to murder me. I mean I see how it cold be disrepectful on my part but I didnt say it forcefully I was more like, sorry its not happening. She waited until the entire clas was there and gave a big speech about the importance of the uniform and used me as an example. I still never wore it but it was pointed out over and over again. I wouldnt do this in a martial arts class I not a jerk, I just felt like its just a yoga class Im not wearing like flourescent green or anything distracting so leave me alone. The last class I went to they did this thing where they had everyone sit in a circle and feel each others energy. I wasnt into it, I thought about leaving but I knew the instructor would chase me out so I tried to polietly sit out the circle thing. I was asked to participate and I said no thank you-the class was instructed to sit around me and one by one discuss what they were feeling until it got to me where everyone sat and stared at me. If I was in a small town or younger or had no place to go etc etc I can see how this could be extremely intimidating. Luckily Ive always had a bit of an f-u- attitude so I just waited it out and left and never went back but they called and called me to return and somepart of my brain (the idiot part?!) still thinks Im making a “big mistake” not being a part of the global healing or whatever.
All this aside as JUST a yoga class without all the crazy-the female teachers were really nice and helpful.
OH LASTLY do not drink the tea. I felt massively spaced out I wasnt sure if it was just from a relaxing yoga class or the tea but I felt like I was in outer space.
I could write more but this place for sure pressures you to let go of being an individual and to become part of the collective whole and to spend a lot of money doing it. Their really “nice” about it which is where it gets confusing. “we are here to help you” “let us heal you” “happy body, healthy heart, clear mind”.
Thank you so much Yogalover. Your words have helped me. I too have that idiot part of my brain telling me to go back. I seriously feel withdrawals from Dahn.
I am now 100% sure it is a cult too. Before, when I was attending Dahn and heard those allegations, I would just say to myself, the people outside of Dahn just don’t understand. But it was I that did not understand. I thought a cult had to kill people or something. I now realize almost all the allegations are true. They do use people for their energy or money. It is just that a “money cult”.
I have seen many things, and plan to write a blog of my full experiences with Dahn. I will let everybody know when I post it. Until then, stay strong and try to get your loved ones out of that place.
congrats on getting out of Dahn. Your story isn’t uncommon from what I know. They like to use that group effort to get you to conform to their way (using the group to surround you in the circle and pointing out that you were not wearing a uniform). Like you I refused to wear a uniform and it was always pointed out by new masters. I was the one who refused to conform and dared to ask questions about what they were doing.
Please know that you saved yourself a lot of money and effort by getting out. Think about this fact; other people I know needed to be pulled out by loved ones, seek professional therapists for help, or have an intervention to get out.
I encourage you to share your entire story on this site or another one. Help someone else from becoming a victim of this group. The more real life stories out here the better.
Money cult is a great phrase yogiseph.
Has anyone else caught the WE Network special, Secrets Lives of Women – Cults?? It was a great show that detailed out one of the Dahn lawsuit participants road to recovery as well as three other cults. The scary thing was the similarities that the four cults shared in their techniques. I recognized things from the other cult stories that matched my experiences in Dahn.
I’ve just started doing Dahn Yoga because of serious back pain and arthritus, I also did one of the workshops. Where I can see the pressure to spend more money to get more healing, or to become a master or open your own center, I plain told them that is not my path and I will keep doing the regular class only. I havn’t had any problems yet. I will say the employees do seem very genuine and caring, I hope these allegations are not true for their sake.
I would suggest you check out your neighborhood YMCA or some other place. I am happy to hear that you are being strong and not signing up for more than the regular class but there will be a day where you are feeling down or something and they will convince you to spend a few hundred, then a few thousand. Take what you’ve learned and apply it at home and be glad that you didn’t get caught up in the really crazy stuff that is going on to the employees and die hard members.
I would agree with with antidahn, there are many other places that offer stretching, Tai-Chi, or other types of beneficial low impact exercises without the pressure or manipulation. Find a place where they truly are interested in your self development…..not somewhere where you can become a “Master” within a year. Have you heard of people becoming Yogi’s within a year? It usually takes an extended length of time with many long hours of hard work and dedication to achieve such levels. Everyone at Dahn does the same exercises in the same class, no intermediate classes, and no advanced classes, doesn’t that sound odd?
Thanks for your replies,
As I take an objective look at what has been said here and in other sources I’ve found I have to agree that something is rotten in Denmark. I will add that I did find the heart opening workshop beneficial, however I will find a “true” yoga place to continue my practice without all the added pressure.
Why do wackos cash on ancient practices only in America…fortunately am not there!
While the classes, programs, and books from your local Dahn Yoga can make you feel great and help you to grow, the sad truth is they are products of an international organization that is corrupt to the bone. The “master” at your center may seem truly to have only the best intentions (or they may not, many have been offended by their high pressure techniques). In fact, they have been brainwashed into a cult and have been trained to brainwash you.
At first, Dahn seems like a unique exercise program offered in a very peaceful, positive and dedicated atmosphere. At your intro session, you probably told them A LOT about your life– family, friends, money, career, physical-mental-emotional-spiritual conditions. (You may not have answered fully, but they most likely asked repeatedly.) They seem trusting, and loving, and utterly concerned. They are, however, already sizing you up to see how you may fit into their plan to create “new values, new culture, new world.”
If you are an energetic and idealistic young person, or a wealthy retiree with money and time to spare, or anything in between really, they will attempt to draw you further and further into the organization until there is nothing you wouldn’t sacrifice– relationships, money, careers, your ability to think for yourself– because you are being taught to believe that nothing is more important as “the cause.”
Slowly, you will learn that they are trying to bring 100 million people to Dahn by 2010 in order to “balance out” the negative influence of the remainder of the population, thereby saving the earth and humanity (by getting everyone to think just like them.) It is the “Vision” of their founder and leader “Ilchi” Lee– a name he gave himself after his supposed enlightenment meaning “finger pointing to the Truth.”
So each of these “masters” (there are around 100 in the States) deeply believes that the way to attain world peace is by growing Dahn World– which means making as many members and as much money as possible. Nothing will stand in their way, not laws, not morals, not common decency. Much has been documented online, in discussion boards and comments sections like this one, and more thoroughly archived on sites like http://www.rickross.com/groups/dti.html and http://selectsmart.com/ilchilee.html.
Their myopic “Vision” and destructive methods all originate with the “Grand Master” “Ilchi” Lee. Lee has served time in jail in Korea for fraud, was publicly denounced by famous Korean poet Kim Jiha for corruption, has been charged in the states with undue influence, thought reform, failure to pay proper wages, RICO Law violations, and, most seriously, sexual assualt and rape. He has never to my knowledge been found innocent of any charge. His cases have either been settled or dismissed, or he was found guilty.
In the end, you become a disposable peg in Lee’s multimillion dollar empire. You may stop receiving love and attention from your “masters” if you run out of money to spend on Dahn activities, or refuse to take “Ilchi” Lee as your supreme leader; if you don’t come to class three times a week or more, if you disobey them, or if you become to sick to serve. Former “masters” have admitted to seeing their “members” as walking dollar signs, often sleeping 3-5 hrs a and devoting the rest of the day to making the center’s monthly “vision” which is usually unrealistic and always in terms of new members and money. They believe where there is 100% will there is inevitably a way, so those who fail in their assigned visions are reprimanded, sometimes cruelly, always reinforcing the devotion to the group’s “Vision” and its leader.
There is so much wrong here, there is no way to include it all in one post. I have tried to give an account of what I’ve witnessed of the motivations and mind set of the Dahn organization .
P.S. Notice how the “anti-Dahn” who have left the cult often post anonymously. If this were a simple yoga school we were walking away from, why would we be concerned about identifying ourselves publicly?
update: TONIGHT: Dahn Yoga “Cult” Gets CNN Special Investigation Treatment
LOL, I must look into this one. Sounds like the IOBI cult, where as mind control propaganda is used daily against the people. The IOBI cult is on record for killing millions in the last five years alone. Most of their followers don’t even question their motives. IOBI leaders are on record with using chemical agents, sex, religion, and have killed their own people to promote their agenda. After a chant of In Our Best Interest (IOBI) the sheeple (Americans) just follow. Do something.
DHAN YOGA IS NO CULT… It s real. It helps, it heals, it balances your life, makes one happier, lighter, healthier…. BUT…big part of it is money thing. And master Lee is no criminal.. maniac may be LOL with healthy life stile lo, may be unhealthy tendencies, after all its no religion so no one is to question you morals, but he is no criminal.
Dont you all see?! They came to US to make big bucks, they made a fortune, now its their time to pay. Isn’t it always like that?
Whats my story? I wanted to be an instructor, but its so unaffordable!! Five days of training is like one year college tuition!
Well Im not a rich housewife, but a common girl with passionate heart for dahn hak. That doesn’t pay for training. So say! With prices like that its a shame not to make a fortune lo lo lo. I will become an instructor any ways. And I will make Dahn Yoga acceptable and available , so we can enjoy the beauty and get all the benefits. I LOVE YOU ALL.
Lyla, I know you don’t see it. Clearly you are in way too deep. But employment in Dahn involves low wages, long hours (many of which you won’t be paid for), high pressure to make sales targets, no paid time off, no assistance in training that makes you a better employee for Dahn, will impact your relationships with friends and family because you will be spending all your time with Dahn. Please don’t borrow from friends and family in order to attend Dahn training. I know many people who are more than $10k in debt due to Dahn training.
I wish you the best Lyla, and for your sake and the sake of people who love you I hope you don’t start working there. Best of luck to you either way.
Hello all, I will not reveal my identity more than to say that I know some of the plaintiffs of the most recent case and have for about a year. They are the most genuine people I know and they have truly been hurt by “Master” Lee and Dahn Yoga. I have heard all the stories, I know the case well, and they are telling the truth. Dahn has put out a whole website responding to the case, calling my friends “disgruntled.” Really, they don’t get it. Sexual abuse, undue influence, and individuals losing tens of thousands of dollars for promised cures and brainwashing is not disgruntling, it’s disturbing. For those of you with “a passion for Dahn Hak” get your head out of the toilet water! You have to realize at some point that no one else in Dahn ever reaches Lee’s level, so it isn’t really about raising you up is it? It’s about keeping you down, always one step away, turning you back to your “big ego” when you question them, demanding more from you when you get scared, distracting you from your true inner voice (of reason) which is telling you to leave. LISTEN!!
People are afraid to reveal themselves when they speak out against Dahn, myself included. This is craziness. It’s enough.
I’m an ex-Dahn member and I’m glad that I participated in their exercises…. but only because that’s where I met my wife. 😉
@Lyla: Ilchi Lee actually IS a criminal. He spent 2.5 years in prison in Korea for a slew of violations including :
(A) Violation of Act on Special Measures for the Control of Public Health Crimes.
(B) Violation of Food Sanitation Act.
(C) Violation of Pharmaceutical Affairs Act.
(D) Violation of Act on Special Measures fo the Registration of Real Estate.
(E) Violation of Education Act.
@ the anti-Tea people: there are no drugs in the Dahn tea. Dahn does not even make that tea. It’s main ingredients are cinnamon, and Asian berries and nuts. I’m afraid I don’t know their English names, but I know all of the ingredients in Korean. It’s a traditional tea from back in the day. If you got high off the tea then somebody spiked your drink with something or other.
I think what really gets people hooked on Dahn is that they offer classes that actually do help people. They have a really nice exercise program…. however, that being said NOTHING there has been invented by Ilchi Lee. I was able to find the exact same exercises and theories (including brain respiration, which actually dates back several hundred years even though Ilchi claims to have invented it) elsewhere. What Dahn has done is they have literally stolen the work of many people/groups and combined it into their own. You’ll find elements of practices from tidbits of Buddhism to Tai-Chi to Korean traditional exercises. Dahn offers nothing new to the world. They prey on the weak and free their members from….. their own money. Stay away is all I have to say.
As a former headmaster of a Dahn Yoga center, I’m certainly not proud but I can shed some light on things mentioned here. As Necro said, the problem is not in the tea. The tea is mainly cinnamon and berries. You can find a similar mix at some Korean grocery stores in the US.
The spaced out feeling you might have after class likely has to do with energy. Many people who come to Dahn yoga have never experienced energy work before. Dahn masters are trained on how to send energy and utilize it to make people feel good and open up to them. Masters will select several members in a class that they want to focus on and consult after class for healing sessions, workshops, expensive memberships. Masters send energy during class or healing sessions as a way to influence you. Energy is the drug that you miss when you quit.
If you feel withdrawals after quitting Dahn, try learning how to work with your chakras, do energy meditation or experience reiki. You can get that warm fuzzy feeling on your own.
Yes yes yes
Energy energy energy
You can get high from chakra work, pranayama work, energy building and directing exercises, meditation
The Tao studies
And many others are brilliant and in depth
Energy is cosmically orgasmic and for those who have no experience will not understand why they feel so good
But once you realize you have the power to call forth this power and experience and feeling over you at any time and direct it toward someone…. you won’t rely on a ‘master’ to give it to you.
You’ll give it to yourself and extend that.
Intentions are what are the problem here… in cults or any power imbalanced abusive relationship the intention is to usurp and control you and others
In a healthy empowering relationship the power always gets redirected to you and reminded that it’s yours and was and is and always will be.
Exploitation vs empowerment
I’ve done Dahn for a few years and everytime they suggested I attend a workshop or advanced training, I’d just say no. I’ve met some really fun and NORMAL people (as well as some odd-ducks) in Dahn and had a ton of fun with it. It helped me strengthen my body and learn to relax. Maybe some centers have some Masters with malicious intent, but that doesn’t mean the entire practice is terrible. I’ve also been to Sedona, as Yoga retreats are very common! All we did was eat, go on walks and do Yoga. There was absolutely NO punishment for making mistakes or anything like that – we learned Tai Chi and other cool techniques, but the whole thing was very professional. Some cases of “dunking heads in toilets” might have happened between disturbed members, but that would be unacceptable to any Dahn Masters I know. I don’t make Dahn a huge part of my life, it’s just my yoga practice. I think a lot of people who have had bad experiences are blowing things out of proportion or just have unique and unfortunate cases. I have about 10 close friends in Dahn and we all are easy-going normal and very reasonable people with regular lives and generally happy. And I am not “too deep” into it to see the “truth”. Regarding their sales-pitch – yes, they are very good salesman but don’t push the situation and you always have free will! Not to offend anyone, but Korean’s are known to be very impressive soliciters. I’ve never spent more than I would at any other Yoga studio per month, as classes are about $10 each. Also, the main goal of class can be anything you want – whether that be weight loss, mood balancing, strength training or whatever your goal is. The Dahn Masters are generally very proud of the Founder Ilchi Lee, who is a soft-spoken caring man, which may come accross as complete devotion. He started out by teaching one man in a wheel-chair at the park to re-gain movement in his body by doing BrainWave Vibration – which is simply activating the brainstem to allow your body to relax enough to come back into balance. Not a woo-woo crazy cult thing by any means. Just a different form of meditation. I think it’s getting a bad rap mostly because it’s different. I wish the best to all the people who have had frightening and disturbing experiences, but don’t believe it’s an intention or normal practice of Dahn. If Dahn is a cult, then any organized group, church, or gathering involving the exchange of money for a service which some people aren’t satisfied with or feel intimidated by could be considered a cult. Have we not heard of molestations and corrupt priests in almost every demnomination of religion – which typically requires a monetary monthly donation. Corruption lies in all aspects of human nature, yet it does not mean everyone is corrupt, or the original foundation of the organization is corrupt. I’ve met some very sweet, fun, and compassionate people who enjoy watching students grow and find joy in their classes. I’ve seen people with depression and cancer feel much better and have less pain. I’ve personally experienced amazing health benefits. It’s really sad that the entire Dahn name is being ripped apart for the above accusations. While I’m sure many of them were true, I think some might could have been elaborations made in hopes of receiving a huge settlement. I wouldn’t put it past some desperate people to do anything for money. If you were a person who truly had a terrible thing happen, please know that I am so sorry and hope you can get through it. All in all, I will always have an affinity for Dahn due to my own personal experience.
@Kathleen Timm: The reason why you feel that way is that you never went higher into the Dahn cult system. You said no, you were not roped in. Had you said yes, you would either be feeding us nonsense about how wonderful Dahn is or slamming Dahn for being what it truly is – a dangerous cult. We could argue over the definition of “cult.” According to Webster’s, Christianity could be defined as a cult. But that is just semantics. The point is, Dahn is structured to energetically and economically bind people to it so that it can manipulate them to its own purposes. Ultimately, the only person who truly benefits from Dahn Yoga is Lee, the man at the top. There are people now who are AFRAID to say these things. They feel they are in danger of violence perpetrated by Dahn. Why do you think that is?
Hey everyone, great comments. The tea is made at the center, and I still haven’t taken the ingredients to the korean market to find out exactly what they are. I know the difference between a drug and energy. I was a member for two years, feeling the energy early on, and much more as I took more advanced classes. I have been a drug addict all of my life. The physical affects were very similar to taking magic mushrooms. I will research this in the future I promise.
On a different note, this site gave me a chance to tell my story This is an honest account of most of the things that went on while I was a member and employee. http://enslavedmind.com/dahnyoga
Kothleen, you are totally right! Keep saying No is the best policy.
Dahn is absolutely “Money cult” for wealthy middle class membes and “Recruit cult” for young agressive YEHA members. You are just not target members. I was Dahn Instructor for 2 yars (not Master) and Masters target are only two type members. I knew one very rich 80 years sweet lady, she spent over 100K within a year. Dahn told us everything is “your choice” but Dahn Masters are so pushy. This lady said “No” at last, then my Master told her “Sell your house” I was so afraid to hear at that time. This master is very sweet late 30’s Korean man, he told me, spending more money is important member like other business-Of course! Poor member cannot “Enlightenment” He also said me, regular daily members are just nuts, they are so silly. I went Dahn Healer, DMD, yes! I had great time in Sedona and used over 50K within 4 years. I was teaching regular class twice a week for 2 years with no pay. My master told me to clean my Karma, I should not get pay from Dahn. I loved Dahn, I met so many wonderful masters and sweet, “easy” members. But I saw that Giant Ugly Statue in Sedona, all of the sudden, I wake up. Dahn should not tower such Statu in the beautiful earth. Everybody hope “unity, peace, harmony” not only Dahn members. That statue never harmonize in small beautiful Cottonwood town. I decided to not support Dahn anymore.
Also “Tea” is just regular Korean harb tea. You can buy local Korean market never drug inside. I really miss Dahn regular class, members and beautiful Dahn masters, But Dahn is destructive cult at all.
After two years in Dahn, going through their healer school in Sedona and being forced into their young leaders initiation program (master in training) I would testify in court to Dahn being a cult and abusive to its students and teachers, I saw it first hand on dozens of occasions. I spent well over $20K lost most of my friends and they nearly broke me emotionally, the pressure was suffocating. I quit once others began to work there as the truth got out, the stories from employees were disturbing, stuff like Dahn had physchological profiles on us identifing weakness and how to exploit them, they employed eneregtic and hypnotic techniques to control students we (there are dozens more students in my city alone that suffered this) have evidence of that. In the very beginning it felt good for a while but once they found that purity in you (true self) they locked on and took advantage, Lee and his sidekick are very cunning I am so glad the truth is coming out, eventually they will be shut down.
After leaving I went to an energy healer and he told me that former Dahn students had rings around their aura somehow these rings were used as a way to control us, not sure how but they know what they are doing.
I admire those that have spoken out, and for those still a member of Dahn, with all my heart I hope you can see the light and get out of there. Maybe try a real yoga class and experience the difference.
I would love to hear your story as I am working on complaints with various attorney generals, the IRS, and other agencies. write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi Antidahn, I don’t know if you are still active on this site nor when you posted this. I also worked for a Dahn center under several masters for several years and probably wasted about $20k for all the different trainings, Healer School, Dahn Mudo martial arts training, ceremonies, flights to Sedona, and was shamed into taking the Shim Sung training and Tao Fellowship classes multiple times in order to make other members sign up. Yes, 6-day workweeks and staying til almost midnight for special training, stuffing envelopes for advertising mailings, up late or extremely early to drive way out to other centers to do Bow Training—1000 bows where you circle your arms up from the side into prayer hands, bow, kneel, touch your forehead to the floor as your hands supinate up, then back up to standing. It actually makes people nauseous or sick the first few times you do this. As a teacher, I was teaching 3 classes/day plus one on Saturday, cleaning the center’s floors on my knees with a wet towel after classes, delivering brochures to over 300 businesses with my own car and gas, expected to attend all outreach promotional events, expected to buy a bunch of Ilchi Lee books and products—even to donate to libraries, and help promote YEHA (Young Earth Human) activities. The worst was the constant pressure to get new members and sell products and training to existing members, expecting you to be a high-pressure sales person to make a Dahn World. Which was actually to make the slime founder richer. You feel good because you are cultivating energy and the masters send you energy when they bow and chant with member photos of those they want to sign up for a membership upgrade or trainings. They also park out in front of some members’ homes at night to ‘send energy’ they told me but I think it was more to do some shamanistic hoodoo-voodoo mind stuff or weaken the will. The Korean masters actually worship the founder and get excited when this old, overweight Korean man dressed in white comes out in special occasions with his big walking stick and security guard and translator. I think they see him as the golden statue at the Dahn Training Center outside Cottonwood (near Sedona) that represents some false god who was an ancient Korean ruler Dongong or something like that. They also worship some kind of demonic entities by chanting from a huge calligraphy that hangs in the front of every center and tell you to call on them so you can accomplish your (their) vision. Beware of these people…the more devout masters who idolize the founder have been taught how to love-bomb vulnerable people and then get people caught in an sick abusive relationship where people find it hard to leave even though they hate being shamed and berated. They also use American masters to marry complete strangers in order to bring loyal Korean masters over to the US and probably to illegally get them citizenship. One of the American masters told me she had to ‘find her husband so she could send him divorce papers.’ I was surprised as she was a professing gay woman so asked her about this and she said other people have done it too in Dahn. The previous master was also an American who told me he was married to a Korean master somewhere back East. I worked with this guy about 4 years and he never wore a ring so was surprised when he told me this one and only time. I finally quit some time after the corporate office in Sedona sent me a 15-page employment agreement. I refused to sign it and they sent another agreement that was ‘only’ 6 pages long and said I couldn’t work there unless I signed it. A lot of legal things about not teaching anything I learned there for a period of 7 years. I was already practicing and teaching many health practices including working with chakras and acupressure massage before coming there and they knew this but it wasn’t enough for them to pay below minimum wage and not pay me for many hours of work they considered ‘volunteering.’ Reasons also that led to my spouse leaving me for someone else. It was crushing but the cold-blooded female Korean master told me the next day to pull myself together because I was a Healer-nim. They target the vulnerable so this is why not everyone will experience much beyond the constant hard-sell tactics. I used to be a very bright and intelligent, driven, and energetic person until I left there. After I left, I was in a fog, unable to plan, memorize, having eye-tracking problems, and hurting. This was made worse by painful psychic attacks that continued in various areas of my body, glands, organs, chakra points, acupuncture points, eyes, ears, but mostly brain and head for over 10 years. Praise God I was able to leave when I did and finally find preservation in Christ! Stay away from these left-handed Taoist psychic vampires, false teachers, greedy mind-control ghoulish money-hungry users!
Hey, does anyone know if any of the yoga masters are actually Korean? Did they come from Korea or were they recruited from the U.S. Do you know if these Korean “masters” are staying with Dahn because they truly believe in it or if they are bound by something other belief to stay.
Student: There are two types of Korean masters, from Korea and Korean-American. I talked with Ex Korean Master from Korea, he came here USA by student visa, not permit warking here. He recived very small money, like $500.00 per month. But they are liveing together in small apartment. All they are brainwashed to trust Ilchi. They trust “Subobnim is the most wonderful job in the world” I felt this dahn world is very strange group. They asked me to buy 500 copies of Ilchi book for Amazon rank up. Spend more money is getting rid of my bad Karma.
Don’t know if anyone will read this but oh well. I first came into contact with Dahn because I got hired to work at an Orange County location. I had never heard of the group nor had I ever taken a Dahn class. The biggest perk of the job was that I got to take free classes. I could’ve gone to every single class in the week for nothing if I wanted to. Indeed, some days I took one, two, even up to three classes. They were REALLY friendly over there. They bought lunch. I received a free uniform. The master offered me to take a local weekend seminar for free. And to my surprise, I got the same offer for a weekend retreat at Sedona. I can’t quite remember if he fronted the money himself or if the office did … I just wanted to share my experience because I read a lot of these stories where people were being “suckered” out of their money. But in my personal story I never paid one cent in the course of maybe 4-5 months. I stopped the practice and quit my job (which was very easy btw … I mostly cleaned the floors after classes and helped make tea, lol) because I got freaked out by things I was reading on the internet about Dahn. I never got any “real” evidence that the group was a cult. I look it up from time to time, like right now. I was really heartbroken upon leaving Dahn. Cult or not, I had some really great experiences there and met some of the warmest people ever. To think that the group was shady and that all those great people were being taken for a ride was really depressing. Despite what people might say, I believe I had some very honest and positive experiences in Dahn. I felt the energy that everyone is talking about and it affected how I dealt with life. I was much more calm and could handle stressful situations with a healthy mind. I didn’t geek out over it like some people (I remember one person claimed he could her the bugs talking to him during an exercise in a park), but I really do think the practices led to unlocking something real. Unfortunately, there was some weird shit going on too. The sales pitch was creepingly pushy at times .. At one point, I was starting special training where I had to bow down and say prayer-like things in Korean. I asked the master what I was chanting and he said I didn’t need to know. Another master in training couldn’t even give me a straight answer when I asked why Dahn was called “yoga” when it clearly wasn’t. I looked around the internet for articles about Dahn Yoga because I was REALLY getting into it. I was contemplating about staying at Sedona to train. I heard that if you worked at the center, you could receive training for free. Upon reading some articles online I became super doubtful and made up excuses to leave. I felt bad because I would probably never see my fellow students ever again. They were the best and it really fucked me up to think they might just be brainwashed. Well, there’s my experience in somewhat of a nutshell. Feels nice to finally talk about it. I wish I could meet those other students once more to see if they stayed in or not … Oh, and I wish I knew how much of our training was legit. Lol. Cuz I experienced some AMAZING feelings and I would hate to think it was fake .. Or that I was fooling myself. I can see how the more intense exercises might seem cultish from anyone who isn’t used to letting go and just feeling free .. Yelling things out, sharing stories, dancing around, and pushing physical boundaries seems like great therapy to me. Oh well, I think I still came out with a few positive experiences even though I left.
Questioning yourself, your reality and your decision to leave. I’ll keep it simple. You did the right thing. What you are going through now is called grieving. I love you.
You did nothing wrong, Dahn Yoga is an organization that looks for the weaknesses in people and has an amazing ability to use that to get people to spend money or dedicate themselves to Dahn. Your story was very familiar to me. A former loved one of mine also quit their job to work for Dahn and like you took advantage of the “free sessions”. In that case though Dahn used those “free sessions” to get them so deep into Dahn Yoga’s teachings that we couldn’t pull them out. I even hired a therapist who specializes in cults and abusive relationships in order to get a strategy together to get them out. Dahn changed the person I used to know and love and destroyed our relationship as well as relationships with friends and family. But Dahn was able to achieve their goal, get money from her and get her help to recruit more people into Dahn.
I would love to hear more about your work experiences there. Did you ever volunteer your labor with them? I know Dahn’s regular practice is get employees to make “personal choices” to do hung bo (i.e. marketing) and work at shim sung (i.e. new member orientation). I’m collecting as many stories as I can about Dahn Yoga’s practices in hopes of having them investigated by the attorney general. email@example.com if you would like to tell me your story.
3 weeks ago I walked away from my Sabum position with Dahn. Though it appears this thread has mostly run it’s course, it’s the first one that contains compassion, grief and anger, not just anger, so this is where I will post.
I’m only now beginning to realize the harm to my mind from my relatively brief experience with Dahn. The first 3 weeks after separating I stuck to the story (to myself and others) that it just wasn’t the place for me but it could be the place for others.
During this time I went dancing once, gave my number to a guy who is continuing to stalk me. Tried to reach out to an acquaintance for human companionship and been repeatedly ignored. Connected energetically with a man in his 70’s who I then spent an afternoon with hoping for a mentor only to discover he’s attracted to me. What this tells me is I am frantically and loudly sending out the signal that I am needy, have no self respect and no boundaries.
I have also discovered that I am not able to filter other peoples opinions or information. I seem to have lost my ability to hold my own values. I find myself agreeing with completely divergent views, simply because someone states them. Example one friend stated no one means to harm others, I believed this to be true, another stated people have malice, I believed this to be true. I can’t coherently tell you what the truth is and find I want to turn to the nearest person, ask them, and accept ANYTHING they say.
I’ve been crying for the last day, off and on. Raging, grieving. Whatever the truth of Dahn is, it is effective.
You have made a huge step by removing yourself from the Dahn environment. You did not lose your cognitive abilities. You were able to figure out that something was not correct about Dahn and leave. Leaving Dahn is much like ending a troubled relationship. Many people feel lost when a relationship ends and the person immediately enters a “rebound” relationship right after the failed one. But, you have realized this and are on the path to healing. It just takes time. Hang in there, you will be a stronger and better person because of your experience.
I agree with Donjo, you have made a huge step by leaving Dahn yoga. Have faith that you do have the ability to make the right decisions. I would suggest you stay away from intimacy situations for the time being. Whatever you do don’t fall back into the Dahn Yoga web. Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to share more. I could give you the after Dahn experience I have had and possibly help you get some justice for what happened to you.
Thank you both for your words of encouragement. I just almost said, “I’ll keep going”. Anyway.
The only justice I’m looking for is to get my brain back, release my anger at being manipulated, and find some way in the real world to truly express as a spiritual being.
Practical help would be nice as I am living under the roof of someone who is still an active member in Dahn. However I have yet to find resources called “free housing for former cult members without family resources”. So, simply connecting in this format is enough for me now. The rest of the practical side of things I will sort out one at a time. Send me some job love though :).
You need to spend your time with people outside of Dahn. Dahn’s culture is to get you to stay in the Dahn world as much as possible so you keep hearing the same things over and over. The more time you spend with other people the more your mind will start to get back to normal.
As much as I would love to hear more about your work experiences at Dahn so I can add them to my various other examples in building complaints to attorney generals and others, I appreciate that you aren’t ready to talk about that yet. I would however be happy to e-mail chat with you anytime you need to talk in private about issues or feelings you are having. I actually hired a therapist in CA to help me try to get a former loved one ouyt of Dahn, I’d be happy to pass along that information when you are ready to talk to someone on a professional level.
It is nice to read a friendly voice who I know isn’t going to out of the blue say, “well but some positive things about Dahn are…” or “focus on what you got out of it”. I know eventually, sooner rather than later in fact, I’ll quit feeling quite so bi-polar and will integrate the experience.
As to professional help. Thanks. Let me get a job first so I can pay for it :P. But yes, I’m very open to help. I’ve done some search on-line, there does not appear to be anyone in this area who doesn’t charge, so, I’ll muddle through for now.
I will take you up on your offer of email conversation though. A bit more private for when I need to rant, rave, cry, in general break down.
Why is it that your content jogs my memory of some other very similar the one which I read elsewhere?
I went to my first Dahn “Yoga” class tonight. It is NOT yoga; I’ve practiced Kundalini and Hatha yoga for years and I know the difference. Everyone was pressured to enthusiastically say “yes” to anything the “master” said. I was then pressured to sign up for “membership,” which I did not. I felt the people at the Dahn “studio” were manipulative – demanding conformity, pointing out when people made mistakes in class, etc. I had the tea and felt no ill or unusual effects. But red flags went up for me immediately because of the pressure on class students to behave deferentially and with excessive obedience and devotion. I will NOT go back. Folks, please be careful and please do not mistake this as legitimate yoga. Everything you’re looking for can be found in legitimate yoga studios.
I’ve had two run-ins with this group. The first time they were looking for a marketing person. To apply for the job they required that I develop and give them a FREE comprehensive marketing plan – LAME! and exploitative. Sure, I’ve had ‘skills’ interviews, but I have never had a prospective employer demand a full FREE marketing plan.
Then I saw an ad for a yoga instructor. They did not say who the group was. The pay looked low, but I thought perhaps it was a new/struggling studio so I contact them. Come to find out it was none other than Dahn Yoga. They wanted to pay me MINIMUM WAGE to teach yoga, and a big fat $3 for every student that I helped turn into a devoted Dahn follower (who of course pays hundreds or thousands of dollars a year to join). And as part of my interview I was expected to tell them how I would help them recruit students. Yes, I get $8/hour to teach a one hour class, plus I have to recruit devotees that they can gouge for money.
This group not only exploits its ‘members’, it also exploits its employees.
Ingrid, you were smart to stay away. The employees I knew in my area worked for minimum wage and worked numerous hours without being paid because Dahn considered it part of their yoga training and not part of their job responsibilities, even though it was marketing and other activities meant to increase membership. Employees were still forced to pay for Dahn trips and training, even though it would have made them better employees and should have been paid by the company since they worked for them. Dahn did not reimburse the employees for mileage driven to different locations, even when it was double digit additional mileage. A Dahn master convinced someone I once cared about who worked there to not sign up for health insurance because “Dahn masters can heal themselves”, not that she could actually afford the insurance anyway.
So I would like to file a report for what has happened through my experience with Dahn Yoga, and get help resolving the psychic abuse. What are the numbers to call regarding any groups that are currently working on investigations and support regarding people with problems with the practice.? Thank you
You can file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, the Chamber of Commerce for the city the center was located in, the landlord of the Dahn center, your County’s DA’s office, your State’s Attorney General Office (look at your State’s consumer fraud statutes), and if you worked for Dahn Yoga you probably worked hours that should have been paid and you can contact your State’s Dept of Labor as well as the IRS to file complaints for the time you weren’t paid for. You can also contact your local news media to report what happened.
WOW!!!! I am amazed after reading all these comments…drugging the tea??? I have been a member of Dahn for a 1.5 years and some of the members in my class have been there for 15 years. Most came with serious injuries including myself who know are happy and healthy. Do they want money? Sure they do its a business like any other and I am sure the overall purpose is to make money. When you go to a car dealership is there pressure to buy? Definately! CULT omgosh this seems harsh. I have not witnessed any of the above with the exception of wanting me to pay money for retreats. Which buy the way my money my choice. I love Dahn yoga and I have never been drugged, never been mistreated or abused. My blood pressue in now normal, my cholesteral levels have returned to normal. My weight is where it belongs. I have energy where before I had none and most my love for my fellow human beings and all the other living creatures on this planet is strong. I feel awesome. Sorry I have nothing bad to say about Dahn. I think that everyone percieves things differently and some are much more suspisous than others. Could things of happened? Of course. But this has not been my experience nor the experience of any of my class. I think if you are not happy with this type of Yoga that you should definately find one that is better for you. And definately not do something that makes you uncomfortable. Most of all I have not paid for anything except my classes. I am the master of my money..lol.
As a member you have more separation from the organization. If you look at the workers, it is a whole different story. Basically as a member you are providing the money to keep the organization going. As an employee, you are providing the below minimum wage labor to keep the members interested. Employees are sucked into a whole different side of Dahn Yoga. I’m sure you went through the shim sung, that information is copied and retained by the organization in order to know how to manipulate your needs in a way to extract more money.
wow! I just moved to a new town and the first center a found literaly a block from my house happened to be a dahn yoga center. I brought my mother along and we each signed up for ten classes, 5 down 5 to go. I was very interested in the teachings of this ilch lee so i purchased one of the books at the sudio and given another one as a gift along with a dvd. after reading the first 5 chapters in which ilchi describes leaving his family behind to fulfull his great destiny. I wanted to know how such a caring soul could leave behind his two sons and wife. I was compelled to find answers so I logged on to find out more information on his children and family and found to my surprise alot of negative information on his “cult”
I am glad I went with the ten classes only! getting my moneys worth and getting out! A few things i observed. The first class I attended I mentioned to the instructor that I wanted to try regualr or hot yoga at some point to which she replied “was unnecesary” and “too much strain on the body, dahn yoga was much more effective and i should continue with them”. hmmm also every class so far I have been asked to purchase a book/uniform/workshop to which I kindly decline. I’m glad I went in search of answers, and thank you to all who have shared and posted here. I understand it is not always easy to share but it helps all those unaware. THANK YOU!!!
I live in Santa Fe, NM…and I attended Dahn Yoga from 1999 thru 2003. The “masters” (teachers) at that time were loving and lovely Koreans, and my time with Dahn and the beautiful
Masters… and the energy work…at that time Dahnhak, but Westerners were afraid…so now Dahn
Yoga… all of it, was one of the greatest experiences of my life. This ‘Cult’ business as well as ‘sexual harrassment’ charges, this is getting to be too easy for women these days, and I say this being one…I met Ilchi Lee many times and attended the workshops which I absolutely honor in their body work. I never felt coerced and there is no ‘worship’ of Ilchi Lee… these clamorings are sensationalist and stupid! I learned more about my body, inner and outer, and the Chi/Ki Energy, and also what and why the yoga (meaning union with “YOUR” God) moves helped… I can only say thank you do Dahnhak, Master Yu, Master Bai, and several others for I still do the exercises on my own and cannot imagine my life without having spent those years in Dahnhak. I love them. (I do agree it has become too expensive for most of us, but I was give scholarships even…) Please, do not criticize what you don’t understand, and these people would not ‘punish’…nor was anyone ever ‘made’ to do 3,000 bows… or any number… I hate the sensationalism around many many beautiful Koreans and trained American workers now. It is a CROCK! Thank you Dahn forever. Sincerely, Danita Ross, Santa Fe, NM.
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?”
Is Dahn Yoga still in business, as I have a lifetime membership to them out of their Anaheim Hills location through Master Ed that’s not longer there!
It is a very unique organization for sure. It seems that the very top echelon truly believe that they can start a new society which will move mankind to higher levels. The stated philosophy cannot be criticized. It’s just that it doesn’t operate as it is advertised. If you are young, attractive and idealistic, they. Want you for your ability to attract people. If you are wealthy, they want your cash. If you are neither, you probably won’t have much of an experience on way or another. The program is a very nice, but unoriginal, combination of mild exercise and meditation training. It feels good and is good for you. Many people go too far! They get addicted, and the masters see the opportunity to clean them out financially and put the yoke on them psychologically. I ran with the crowd for a few years, and went into a definite depression in the first year out. I realize that it wasn’t because I lost the connection to the energy, as they wanted me to believe. Rather, I was lacking the endorphins and calm that came from the the exercise and the meditation. On top of that, my social network was pulled out from under me. (Most of the members are phenomenally, wonderful people to have as friends) It just isn’t easy to keep all of the people in your life when you don’t go to the center anymore. I still miss all of the good things, but I am so relieved to be away from the pressure to spend. I was spending $3,000 per month on for a solid two years. When I signed up for the lifetime membership for $3,000, I thought that I had made a good deal. Little did I know what was coming up. If I could turn back the clock, I’m honestly unsure what I would do. I can say that a lot of the training was helpful and I was fortunate that I could afford to do it. (That accounts for the first $25,000, the following $50,000 was pure stupidity on my part because I was caught up in it) In retrospect, you could recreate the experience by spending $1,000 dollars at the bookstore and rolling a shopping cart into the “self help” section following by binge watching free yoga videos on you tube. LOL! Except you would still be missing the community. If you have a lot of money to spend (I.e huge trust fund), its a lot better than spending your life with a crowd of superficial materialists bragging about the latest designer fashions. However, if you need to plan for retirement or put children through college someday, it’s best to stay away. You will meet people who you’ll end up loving more than family and simultaneously avoiding them because, deep down, you will know in your heart that they don’t really care for you, it’s all about the money. That sounds bitter, but it’s meant to be sincere. I guess it’s a lot like being a WWII survivor; you never forget the people with whom you went through it all, but you wouldn’t want to go through it a second time. Hmmmmm….. sounds crazy, but it’s really hard to describe.
Thanks for sharing man. Damn, now I’ve gotta find another yoga center.
I believe you all are correct. However, I’ve already paid for my year membership and I’m 3-4 months into it. That pisses me off.
I’ll look for another studio tonight. Shit man, I was really liking that place.
Thanks for your contributions everyone.
I would like to keeg going, for a while.
Did you continue going? I signed up as well for a year membership and I am sure I will not get my money back, so far I haven’t got any bad experience but Im very aware of the fact that there is a sales pitch always hiding in the workshops …I’ve been going for a month , but definitely will keep my eyes open!
Just wanted to add my own personal experience. I partook in Dahn Yoga for around 4 months, and did attend some additional “extra cost sign-up classes”. As much as I did receive from those classes and private sessions, they are NOT necessary.
Out of all the yoga/fitness places I have been to – I have experienced the most amazing things at Dahn Yoga. So many positive things that have helped me many years afterwards – totally worthwhile.
If you are just wanting to feel better and enjoy a nice class, JUST do that part! Do not go “deeper” in their programs. Do not go to the workshops or extra things that they try to bring up. Yes, some of the instructors are wonderful and as you begin to trust them you will want to invest more. But this is the part you learn, you are learning to find your voice (consent) here and stand up for what you desire and say no – I ONLY want xyz. (Please keep in mind many people are coming from a different culture too.)
The workouts, breathing, and energy work do work. I’ve experienced a lot of healing and it even helped me get out of an abusive relationship. (By my own doing of course as I moved into a healthy stronger place for myself.)
As much as there are “cult” rumors and such, I imagine that this has been experienced by weakened people looking externally for something to help their life. Sometimes they miss the whole message behind Dahn, which you get to choose your own health and wellness. Obviously, you don’t need Dahn to do this. It’s within you, and the body movement and mental work that you learn will only help you get there faster and practice wellness for yourself. 🙂
I wish everyone here health and healing – just have awareness with whatever you invest in whether it’s money or energy.
Thank you all so
much for your honest and earnest stories.
I think what we all have in common is what drew us all to dahn was a deep
desire for self improvement and for those of you who had any positive experiences I am so glad you got something out of it
I have signed up for 3 months..
while my gut told me not to go off into the deep end with private classes and ceremonies I do intend to keep going to classes but now with the awareness that these are expert sales men literally playing every heart string they can touch.
I hope it doesn’t get too awkward
I wish I did my research before hand but certainly no more sharing personal information and guilt for not going to more classes and doing “homework” whatever they think thats supposed to be
Btw has anyone else had their picture taken for instructors?
Because I thought there would be more instructors bur I keep seeing the same people (less than a handful) almost daily
They also took my phone and subscribed me to their youtube channel without my permission and I get no warning when I am being approached during classes
I was getting a little sick of sharing so much about myself and not knowing anything about them. It felt one sided but now I understand why.
These are all small offenses but I hope I am able to complete the course without many more cons.
All you survivors are heros
I hope you all get the same love the masters deceptively gave at dahn elsewhere even if it comes in smaller doses and takes longer
i wish real peace and harmony to you all
Dahn center & one of their so called Korean Master healers stole 20 years of my life, my finances, my health. It has nothing to do with soul searching, enlightenment, peace or yoga. They are all about control. However they are able to recruit & control people they really don’t care. For them it’s all about the bottom line & control. They take the good things in your life from you & leave you with all their crappy negativity. Typically obsessive, controlling, selfish, abusive cult mentality. I hope they get destroyed.