Dahn Yoga Voice

Dahn Yoga & Health Centers, Inc. announces the recent end of a highly publicised lawsuit by 27 former employees and members. The federal lawsuit that began in on May 22, 2009 officially ended onApril 1, 2013. All claims in the lawsuit have either been dismissed by the Court or dropped by the plaintiffs.

The lawsuit against Dahn Yoga and its affiliates was filed in the US District Court of Arizona (Barba et al. v. Dahn Yoga et al, Case No. CV09-1115-PHX-SRB) and attracted media attention with claims that included fraud, undue influence, unfair and deceptive business practice, emotional distress, wage and hour law violation and civil RICO violations.  On November 3, 2009, Judge Susan Bolton dismissed a majority of the claims, affecting  nearly all of the 27 plaintiffs. In light of the Judge’s Order, the plaintiffs and their attorney filed an Amended complaint, but it did not strengthen their case.  Subsequently, on October 26, 2011, plaintiffs’ attorney, Ryan Kent , withdrew from the case. In his motion to withdraw, Kent acknowledged that he had  expected the case to be settled without protracted litigation.  As a result, many plaintiffs were dismissed by the Court or dropped their claims. Some even admitted in writing that allegations made in the lawsuit were not what they had intended or directly contradict their experience with Dahn Yoga.

The court rulings and the plaintiff withdrawals bring a difficult chapter to an end.  A statement by the current Dahn Yoga CEO expresses the company’s appreciation for the consistent support of its members, instructors, employees and friends. She states that in light of this experience “… we have made many important changes and despite the challenges we faced, we have emerged from this experience as better communicators, better managers, better business people and better citizens.”

Dahn Yoga & Health Centers, Inc. (www.dahnyoga.com) provides personalized service and exceptional facilities that teach a stylized practice of yoga based on Korean traditions. The word “dahn”, meaning “energy”, emphasizes the mind body connection as the key to health and well-being. Ilchi Lee founded the practice in South Korea before the first U.S. Dahn Yoga center was opened in the early 1990s. Acclaimed for health and wellness innovations and the integration of ancient and modern, Dahn Yoga has an extensive network of highly-respected facilities and instructors in seventeen states, and numerous affiliates around the world.

On July 1, 2011, Ha’aretz, a leading daily newspaper in Israel, published an article in its weekly North America edition about the death of Matan Givol, a former Dahn Yoga member and perspective franchise owner. Prior to his involvement with Dahn Yoga, he had been a prominent violinist and he had recently resumed his musical career in Israel. On May 22, 2011, before he was to perform at a concert in his home city of Tel Aviv, Matan took his own life.

The article in Ha’aretz provides some detail about the circumstances of Matan’s death and speculates as to the reasons he may have taken his own life, including the death of his father, pressures associated with his musical career and his mother’s belief that Matan was under extreme pressure from Dahn Yoga to open franchises in Israel.

We at Dahn Yoga & Health Centers, Inc. were very saddened to learn about the death of Matan Givol, a good man, with a deep and abiding commitment to peace. Though we sympathize with Mrs. Givol’s loss, we strongly disagree with any assertion that Matan was under pressure from Dahn Yoga, its employees or affiliates at the time of his death.

For almost one and a half years, Matan was on his own in Israel, planning to open independent franchises there. Those plans were based on his own personal interests and he was under no pressure from anyone in our company. During the time that Matan was in Israel, we had very limited contact with him, but we are aware that he had other pressures and personal concerns. We cannot comprehend why he chose to take his own life, but our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time.

Sincerely,

Joseph Alexander
Vice President of Communications

Dahn Yoga & Health Centers, Inc. (“Dahn Yoga”) is a leader in health and wellness, offering classes in Yoga, Tai Chi, meditation and other mind body training programs based on Traditional Korean healing philosophy. Since 1996 Dahn Yoga ® training methods have been offered in the United States through corporate and affiliate locations, as well as franchises. Dahn Yoga is committed to improving the communities it serves by creating authentic opportunities for individuals to improve their quality of life. Dahn Yoga believes that helping one individual heal themselves has a positive ripple effect on society as a whole.

BASIC COMPANY INFORMATION
Dahn Yoga & Health Centers, Inc.
3651 East Baseline Road
Suite #228
Gilbert, AZ 85234
877-477-YOGA

Founded: June 18, 1996
Ownership: Privately held corporation
CEO/President: Dong Hoon Cha
Employees: 210
Locations: 70 Corporate owned
35 Franchises
12 Affiliates

Business Focus:
Yoga Classes (Group & Private)
Ki Gong/Tai Chi Classes
Yoga Center Management
Sales of Yoga and Self-Healing Accessories
Sales of Personal Development Books, Music and Video

How Dahn Yoga is different from other Yoga practices?

1. Rather than focusing on a strict set of poses, Dahn Yoga incorporates a wide variety of mind-body exercises that help practitioners develop their personal health and well-being. Dahn Yoga focuses on the development of the body’s core strength as the basis of physical, mental, and spiritual health.

2. Dahn Yoga teaches practitioners to trust their body’s natural wisdom and does not require a high degree of flexibility, balance, or strength to follow. Thus, people of all ages, body types, and fitness levels may participate comfortably.

3. While most other forms of yoga originate in India, Dahn Yoga is a modernized version of ancient Korean mind-body practice.

4. Dahn Yoga includes a unique emphasis on the brain as the determiner of health and well being. Practitioners learn about the interactions of the brain with the rest of the body. This brain awareness allows practitioners to respond to stressors differently and can lead to self-improvement.

6. Dahn Yoga practitioners report remarkable results in short periods of time, especially with pain management. Many also report reduction of symptoms associated with chronic illness, including multiple sclerosis, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis and sciatica.

7. Dahn Yoga centers offer a wide variety of training opportunities beyond the regular yoga class, such as Dahnmudo martial arts, self-healing techniques and chakra development.

8. While most yoga centers are operated independently, Dahn Yoga offers a unique sense of community through which members can network with other practitioners in 18 states in the US and 10 countries around the world.

Is Dahn Yoga a Cult?
The word “cult” is a subjective term and has been used pejoratively by detractors and disgruntled former employees of Dahn Yoga. In this derogatory sense it can refer to authoritarian, exploitative and dangerous groups. Dahn Yoga emphasizes holistic wellness in a unique way that is not common in the United States. The practice of Dahn Yoga originated in South Korea and employs simple exercises based on ancient Korean healing traditions. In addition, many instructors and managers were recent immigrants, who used Korean business practices and communication styles. It is these cultural differences that have been exaggerated to create a “cult” depiction of Dahn Yoga.

More than 200,000 people worldwide have chosen Dahn Yoga as their health and well ness program. And many corporations, government institutions, and public schools chose Dahn Yoga as their employee/student benefits program due to its universal principles and effectiveness.

Dahn Yoga is not a cult, but a holistic mind-body practice that empowers individuals to live a healthier life.

Does Dahn Yoga “Brainwash” people?
Dahn Yoga practice is the exact opposite of brainwashing. Brainwashing refers to a process in which a group or individual systematically uses unethically manipulative methods to persuade or control others. Dahn Yoga encourages individual empowerment and responsibility. The classes are designed to promote physical, mental and emotional health, as well as a deep sense of self-awareness and power of choice.
Many practitioners begin Dahn Yoga practice expecting basic improvement in physical strength and flexibility. However, because of the holistic nature of the practice each person develops strengths in unexpected ways. Once these additional benefits are recognized, many people become ardent practitioners. The practitioner’s fervor may be misinterpreted by detractors, as if they were somehow induced to practice so ardently.

Do people have to spend a lot of money to advance in Dahn Yoga practice?
Dahn Yoga is a service business. Its primary aim is to help people live healthier lives, but believes it can help more people in more ways by operating as for-profit business rather than non-profit charity. Dahn Yoga practice began in a public park in South Korea, but has spread to 10 countries in nearly 30 years in part because of a unique business model.

Like other health related business, Dahn Yoga offers a variety of classes and programs. You are free to choose which ones are right for you or to decline any programs proposed to you. Generally, a 3 month basic membership can range from $400 to $500.Each center has local expenses to meet and share in responsibility for the national organization’s expenses, so selling is a natural part of Dahn Yoga’s business model.

The cost of Dahn Yoga classes, both basic and advanced, are comparable to other fitness and personal development programs. Dahn Yoga programs are simple, but effective and include a high level of personal service and thus provide value for fees paid.

What about the accusations in the recent lawsuits against Dahn Yoga?
Unfortunately, Dahn Yoga is being sued by disgruntled former employees. The lawsuit was initiated in May of 2009 by one individual who encouraged 26 others to join the lawsuit in hopes of receiving large sums of money. They are claiming fraud and psychological manipulation. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit loved Dahn Yoga so much that they connected to Dahn Yoga like a family. Unfortunately, many of them were very young and projected the expectations of their families onto Dahn Yoga. They became confused by its business aspects and self-management responsibilities and they wanted to control the environment. That love and desire for control has turned into resentment.

The claims in the lawsuits consist of falsehoods and distortions designed to garner significant media attention. Despite the fact that some of the individuals in the lawsuit took actions that were detrimental to Dahn Yoga, the plaintiffs’ lawyer is seeking millions of dollars for his clients. The US District Court for Arizona has already dismissed some of their claims and Dahn Yoga has filed countersuits against the plaintiffs. For more details please visit DahnYogaVoice.com.

What does it take to become a Dahn Yoga instructor?
There are three basic classes which all Dahn Yoga members take as part of their training. Beyond those three basic courses there are a broad variety of workshops and programs an individual might take to develop the skill set necessary to become an instructor. Much of the learning is experiential and an aspiring instructor will apprentice with a senior instructor to learn how to become a successful instructor. For everyone on this path, there is a final program which helps them hone their physical fitness, Eastern physiological knowledge and management skills.

Just like each individual is different so is each class of instructor trainees. For some there may be a focus on physical fitness and for others development of interpersonal communication skills may be key.

Who is in charge of Dahn Yoga?
Dahn Yoga & Health Centers, Inc. is a private corporation with a limited number of shareholders and an executive team. The management and administration of the business is centered in its Arizona headquarters, under the leadership of Donghoon Cha, Chief Executive Officer. Regular business operations are the responsibility of local and regional managers.

What is Ilchi Lee’s Relationship to Dahn Yoga?
Ilchi Lee is the founder of Dahn Yoga and was its chief executive during its early years. Mr. Lee’s teachings are still an integral part of Dahn Yoga curriculum, but he has not been directly involved in the business nor owned shares since 1998. Mr. Lee’s remaining connection to Dahn Yoga is the royalties he receives on any of his intellectual property used by Dahn Yoga. Sometimes he gives lectures or consultation to Dahn Yoga’s members or employees per the invitation of Dahn Yoga.

To work at Dahn Yoga, must you worship Ilchi Lee?
As the founder and teacher of its core principals, Ilchi Lee is an important part of Dahn Yoga history and legacy. However, Mr. Lee himself would detest this characterization. Mutual respect and responsibility are key elements in the philosophy advocated by Mr. Lee. Since every individual possesses the power of their own transformation, it is not necessary to “worship” any external person or thing. Dahn Yoga employees are generally practitioners, as well, but they are on a path of empowerment and not submission.

Isn’t it true that one former employee accused Ilchi Lee of sexual assault?
One plaintiff claimed infliction of emotional distress due to sexual assault by Mr. Lee as part of the lawsuit filed in the US District Court for Arizona. Mr. Lee has steadfastly denied this charge and in September of 2010, the Judge dismissed the related claims.

Summary: Dahn Yoga and its founder, Ilchi Lee, recently secured two important victories in lawsuits against them, where key elements of claims by former employees were dismissed.

Mesa, AZ (PRWEB) September 29, 2010

Facing multiple charges in lawsuits by former employees, Dahn Yoga & Health Centers, Inc. recently secured two important victories in Arizona and Virginia cases. The court rulings are victories for Dahn Yoga and the company’s founder, Mr. Ilchi Lee, as they dismiss key elements of the lawsuits against them.

On August 25, 2010, in the case Barba et al. v. Lee (Case No. CV09-1115-PHX-SRB), the United States District Court for the District of Arizona dismissed Jessica ‘Jade’ Harrelson’s claims of alleged sexual assault by Mr. Lee, as she provided information to the Court which discredited her earlier statements. The dismissal of her claims reflects previous assertions by Mr. Lee and Dahn Yoga that Ms. Harrelson’s allegations were fabrications.

In addition, the plaintiffs in the Arizona suit had attempted to argue “undue influence,” one of their key theories underlying charges of brain washing and cult manipulation against Dahn Yoga. However, Judge Bolton rejected those arguments, dismissing all Arizona claims related to undue influence.

Dahn Yoga and its affiliates have also filed counterclaims against the plaintiffs in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona for conspiracy and interference with existing and prospective business relationships.

In a second case, Myers v. Lee (Case No. 1:10-cv-00131-AJT-JFA), on September 21, 2010, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division, ruled to dismiss Andrew Myer’s claims against Dahn Yoga, Mr. Lee and other defendants for RICO, fraud, Virginia Consumer Protection Act violations and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The Judge found insufficient support for elements of some claims and lack of jurisdiction to uphold others. As Dahn Yoga has asserted in the past, the weakness of the claims has been revealed in court.

Dahn Yoga & Health Centers, Inc. (www.dahnyoga.com) provides personalized service and exceptional facilities that teach a stylized practice of yoga based on Korean traditions. The word “dahn”, meaning “energy”, emphasizes the mind body connection as the key to health and well-being. Ilchi Lee founded the practice in Seoul before opening the first U.S. Dahn Yoga center in 1991. Throughout his three-decade career, Ilchi Lee has continuously strived to develop new ways to share his practice and experiences. Acclaimed for health and wellness innovations and the integration of ancient and modern, Dahn Yoga has an extensive network of highly-respected facilities and instructors in seventeen states, and numerous affiliates around the world.

Letter to the Editor (Rolling Stone):
RE: That Cult Yoga Article

I have been an admirer of Rolling Stone and reader since my teen years. I have always had a great deal of respect for your publication. But to see this issue (Issue #1098) bothers me tremendously.

As a filmmaker, reporter, editor and seven year employee of Dahn Yoga I have seen, first hand, many of the events that the stories this article has purported, and I can say that all of the events mentioned in this story, have been grossly over-exaggerated, distorted beyond reasonable recognition or flat out lies told by the former-employees interviewed.

I have been practicing Dahn Yoga just six weeks shy of eight years. At the time I started I only started because I was looking for a yoga class. I heard that yoga can help connect the body and mind, and I was looking for a way to deal with the stress in my life and a way to keep my body healthy.

Although I had graduated from the University of Washington several years earlier, I still frequented the area quite regularly and when I saw the yoga sign just a couple of blocks down on the business district from campus I decided to come in and check it out.Being the skepticthat I am, it was a little apprehensive about the training methods that were introduced to me before my first class, and I was surprised at how great I felt after even just one. I continued to attend class regularly because it was honestly the healthiest I had ever felt in my life.

My center manager recommended other programs to me and I always felt the ones I choose were not only 100% right for me, but also that my center manager had my best intentions in mind. I’m not one that spends money easily, but each training that I received, taught me something new and helped me dig a little deeper than the last.

My father is the biggest cynic that you’ve ever met in your life and he will find the negativity in any situation, but even he couldn’t say anything about thisnew career path I was on because he’d never seen me so strong, confident and happy in my life. He knew this was a positive change for me, and even though I eventually moved out of state to work and was deeply disheartened to see his daughter move, he knew that this was in my best interest and wished me well.

I’ve always practiced Dahn Yoga with the knowledge that if at any time it was not the best path for me, I would leave immediately, but deep in my heart I’ve always known this is the path I was meant to take, others have left, and I wished them well, which is why I was shocked to see the tactics taken by these plaintiffs in this lawsuit mentioned by your article and other media recently as the they have taken their lawsuit to the higher court ‘Trial by Media’.

I’ve known Lucie Vogel for almost eight years, and I although by the time it was in place I was not shocked to find she was staging this lawsuit, when I found the way in which she was going about attempting to recruit others (myself included) I was shocked. I had always thought of her as a strong, confident person with a good head on her shoulders who I respected deeply. But after she quit and began contacting me, I quickly saw that I had been deceived by her outward appearance and what kind of person she really is.

Lucie Vogel has roped Liza and Nina Miller, Amy Shipley, Ricardo Barba and Jade Harrelson into her elaborate web of lies. Of these people who have been interviewed in articles and news reports since the beginning of the power-trip of a lawsuit to exact revenge and many others involved in the lawsuit, from personal experience I know well that they had not left Dahn Yoga in anger, contempt or regret, but with hope for the future and nothing but blessings for those they left behind.This is not a lawsuit based on employees seeking retribution for past wrongs, but rather a frenzied, angry mob instituted by a near-crazed, power-hungry, lunatic seeking vengeance on an institution that would not let her madness reign supreme.

Her helper, Steve Hassan, is an extremely skilled expert in the field of brainwashing, and from the testimonies I have heard from employees and members of Dahn Yoga who have taken his $40,000 4 day program, that’s exactly what they felt was being done to them. It seems that Lucie has become his most recent and highly prized disciple. As many of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit can attest to, she was financially persuasive in the past and is now as persuasive as he in swindling them and their families out of money.

I ask you, as afellow reporter and long time reader, to look a little deeper.  Talk to people who are not out to make a buck by burning the bridges of their past, but to keep your eyes on the facts, and actually interview at least a few of hundreds of thousands of people who have taken this program and love it, and maybe while you’re at it, take a look at the facts in this case. Because it doesn’t take much investigative journalism to see this sham of a lawsuit for what it really is.

Sincerely,

Tonya Whelan
Video Director, Camerawoman, Editor
Dahn Yoga & Health Centers, Inc.

Attn: Will Dana, Managing Editor
Will.Dana@RollingStone.com

Dear Mr. Dana,

Rolling Stone is very familiar to me due to my music background and it is often quoted in various news media.  Over the years, I have grown to respect your editorial philosophy and your thoroughness in covering all sides of an issue. However, your coverage of the recent controversies related to ex-employee lawsuits against Dahn Yoga does not meet the standards I expect from your magazine.

The purpose of this letter is to give you a personal input from a very satisfied member of Dahn Yoga so that you have an opportunity to see a side of this controversy that is not reflected in your article.  First, I understand that most of the claims in the lawsuit have been dismissed and that all claims could be dismissed.  This case is in process, but your story makes it seem as if the accusations have been proven true by the court.  Although the dismissal of their claims did not necessarily mean that there was zero merit, it indicates some problem with the factual basis for their claims and should have given you pause in repeating what the plaintiffs had to say.

My wife and I have been a member of Dahn Yoga for five years and, between the two of us, we have attended almost all of their trainings.  They are physical, mental and spiritual in nature and we have benefited greatly because of them.  Some of them are a bit pricy, and if someone who attends the training perceives that they didn’t get much out of it, they could ertainly complain.  With all of the trainings I felt that we made progress proportional to the effort we put into it.In any case, it is all voluntary and you can stop at anytime.  Certainly, the facilitators try to encourage continuing to push through the discomforts, but I have never seen anyone forced to go beyond their willingness.This is quite similar to the same limit pushing that is used in a wide variety of other self-improvement workshops unrelated to Dahn Yoga.In that respect, I don’t think Dahn Yoga is that much different from other workshops I have taken.

My personal experience with Dahn Yoga is that they are a benevolent organization with an admirable goal of increasing the number of people on Earth with a consciousness that could lead to world peace.  Their founder has dedicated his life to this goal for over 30 years and has made great progress including in roads with the United Nations and many nations’ governments around the world.  To support these goals, Dahn Yoga is running a business which charges fees for services and makes expenditures in alignment with the organizational goals. 

While attending my trainings at the varioustraining centers of Dahn Yoga and their affiliates in Arizona, Colorado and British Columbia, I have not personally seen any evidence of an inappropriate life styles being lived by anyonefrom the Dahn Yoga organization.  Similarly, the founder, Ilchi Lee deserves security, privacy, logistical support, staff services, and the like no matter where he goes.  He is, after all, a well-known leader, successful businessman and public figurein his home country and beyond. Like many other leaders, he needs such support and security to accomplish his work.

My wife and I continue to lead very normal lives and continue to worship in the same church with which we have been members for over 30 years.  Our experience with Dahn Yoga has improved our experience of life and has deepened the beliefs that we have always had.  Our physical health, mental health and spiritual health have all benefited. I wish your reporter would have talked to us, so this type of information could have appeared in your article, that could have fairly represented all sides of this situation.  

Sincerely,

Larry Young

I wish to express my gratitude towards Dahn Yoga, in contradiction to the current negative press that is bombarding this helpful organization.  I have been practicing Dahn Yoga for 1 ½ months, and I have seen more improvements in my mind and body in this short period of time than I had ever thought were possible.  I am a 28 year-old professional violinist who has studied violin since age 3, and I have struggled with performance injuries for over 10 years.  I had gotten to a point where the pain of playing in combination with the many hardships of the music world had caused me to take a break from playing my instrument entirely.  I had also experienced a horrible car accident in May of 2009, from which many new physical pains lingered, in addition to the old injuries.  When I came to Dahn Yoga, I was experiencing a lot of back pain, which was interfering with my daily activities and my career path as a performer.  After just one week of yoga study, my back pain started to disappear.  Now, just one month later, I have an impressive list of positive results I have seen in 1 ½ months:  I rarely get back pain anymore; I have gone from playing my violin once a month to 3-6 times a week with more enjoyment, sometimes for hours a day; I have struggled with acid reflux for 3 years and was able to go off of my acid reflux medicine; I have re-connected my mind and body with my music; I have gained flexibility, energy, and a positive attitude; I have lost 13 pounds since late December without even trying; and best of all, I have gained a sense of hope that I can surpass my previous physical ailments to get to a place where I will be able to play my instrument happily and without pain for many years to come.  I can already see the progress in my musical studies, and the feeling of this success is indescribable.  In addition, I have experienced a heightened level of mental focus and extended concentration in my violin practice.  I am able to learn more difficult pieces because of my degree of mental clarity and ability to focus on the music.

Shortly after I began my studies at Dahn Yoga, I heard about the negative accusations toward Dahn Yoga of financial cons and mind-control.  It saddened me that amidst all of my great mind and body improvements, others were trying to tell me that this organization was rumored to be a cult and would try to con me out of money.  It was amazing to me that people believed the sources that were in popular beauty and main-stream magazine articles, when I had come from having research courses where you have to dig through archives and search reliable databases to gather the truth about any research subject.  I went online to do my own research, and I decided that I did not buy what the press was selling.  I had not had any such experience, and decided that the people telling these stories to the press are clearly attention-seekers who want to profit from exploiting this organization.  I have previously studied Yoga, Bikram Yoga, as well as Tai-Chi, Alexander Technique, and have had experiences with meditation and energy healing prior to my experiences with Dahn Yoga.  I think that Dahn Yoga draws upon many aged Eastern art forms and focuses not just on a physical work-out as some other yoga methods tend to do.  Dahn Yoga focuses on a person’s health through both mind and body exercise, and that is what sets it apart from other methods of yoga.

In addition to the research I have done and my previous experiences with many forms of health improvement, I would like to say that I do not think that Dahn Yoga is a cult in any way, shape, or form.  Given my past experiences with a particular religious denomination, I can honestly say that I would know if I had joined a cult.  As a child, I was in an extremely charismatic, fundamentalist church that had me brain-washed, and after leaving this environment, I developed a heightened awareness for the kind of organizations that try to tell you how to think and live.  I do not feel that Dahn Yoga tells its members how to think or what to do with their money.  I am a musician with many financial difficulties, and they have helped me to find a way to fit a yoga membership into my budget.  They are willing to work with you to find the right plan for you and encourage you to go at your own pace, never pushing you too far physically or financially.  I think that the accusations of the plaintiffs seeking media attention are founded only in the fact that those people have a very closed-minded view of the world, and could not find an appreciation for the study of something outside the physical work-out realm, although many other Eastern methods focus on meditation and mind-body connection.  Unlike the small number of disgruntled former employees who are attacking Dahn Yoga for media attention, I have a deep appreciation for the many instructors at Dahn Yoga who have devoted their lives and careers to truly helping others live better and healthier lives, which they do with great success.  I am thankful for having found a method of exercise that can not only change my body condition, but also provides me an opportunity to improve my career as a musician through pain management and heightened mental focus.

M.E.
Portland, Oregon

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