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Better late than never. (cult edition)

January 10, 2010

You may have recently been aware of a little “stir” within the yoga community. Something about brainwashing and cults? And it wasn’t Kundalini, you say? Oh right right, it was that Dahn yoga and 24 of their past students are bringing a lawsuit against them for “psychological manipulation,” among other not so nice things.

CBS Chicago did a very compelling piece making the world (or at least the Chicago area, and the interwebs) aware of the transgressions of Dahn Yoga. As far as the story of the law suit goes, I’ll let them do the reporting.

However, when it comes to drinking the Kool Aid (a tradition of which I am now quite fond), I’d like to offer my own analysis.

Dahn Yoga was founded by Ilchi Lee in Korea in 1985, when he decided it was a great idea to open yoga classes up to the public in a park. The rest is history. It became popular in Korea first and by 1996 it was spreading like wild fire all over the world. To date, they claim over 1,000 Dahn Yoga Centers and over 2,000 instructors world-wide.

Upon inspecting the website, everything seems in order and quite innocent. They claim to be far less complicated than other traditional yogas and that they operate by simple exercises for conditioning of the body and mind, starting with the core.  Looking a little further into what they offer, is where I encountered the first signs of  “oh dear god, what am I getting myself into?”

Yoga, even in the Hindu traditions, is usually only a complement to religion and not a religion in and of itself…but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Dahn Yoga may be in cahoots with the Church of Scientology. One of the main tenets of Dahn Yoga is called “Brain Education.” Hmm. Well, that could be something like reformulating your thought process…and gee, that sometimes also happens in brain washing.  Furthermore, the Brain Education program is made up basically by the BEST 5 program. See below:

BEST 5 Program:

1) Brain Sensitizing- Increases and encourages awareness

2) Brain Versatilizing- Frees brains from rigid habits, and opens practitioner to new information

3) Brain Refreshing (washing)- Clears away emotional residue, encourages positive life view and develops emotional intelligence

4) Brain Integrating- unites diverse areas of the brain, enhances communication between hemispheres, releases latent abilities

5) Brain Mastering- Empowers authorship of life purpose, Enables great executive control over the brain, and expedites decision making processes

I have emboldened all of the items that threw  red flags for me. I guess these things all sound promising unless it’s not you that is gaining authorship of your life purpose, grasping for executive control of your brain or making your decisions. I suppose that the website doesn’t quite make those distinctions clear.

Now that I’ve established a rival brain washing cult, I  can’t wait to get started. Dahn has 16 locations in the New York metro area…that should provide more than ample opportunity for me to start drinking the kool aid. Seriously though, I’m excited to do some deep bowing for 8 hours, get sleep deprived and have excessive exercise unleashed upon me. BRING IT, DAHN YOGA.

[Image via: This Ain’t Hell]

[Thanks to Keith for the tip!]

One Comment leave one →
  1. Nut permalink
    January 12, 2010 10:56 am

    Another wonderful perspective of the world through your eyes. Keep writing.

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