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?