Response to Glamour Magazine: Letter to the Editor from Fellow Instructor
December 11, 2009
To Cynthia Leive, Editor-in-Chief of Glamour Magazine:
As a person who worked closely with the four women in the article, ‘The Scary Yoga Obession’, I say thanks but no thanks for the patronizing complements by Lucie Vogel. She says, ‘The women who become sabumnims (instructors)……are so smart and passionate’….and more lavish praise follows.
In the same article she makes the women who instruct Dahn Yoga sound like foolish victims who are not smart enough to make good choices. I am not a victim. I feel very confident in my ability to make smart choices. I became a member of Dahn Yoga in 1999 and, after completing graduate school, I believe I made a smart choice when I became an instructor in 2003.
Lucie Vogel has shared in her own words, that she is a ‘wiley and tricky’ person, a quote included on one of the many court documents a US Federal judge saw when she dismissed Lucie and her groups’ claims from court. Jade Harrelson, the other star of the story, spoke and blogged repeatedly and openly about three other alleged sexual assaults in the time that I knew her, but never mentioned this particular alleged assault until Lucie Vogel paid for her to come back to the US and join her lawsuit. I question their story, and would like others to know that.
I was interviewed by the author Catherine Elton and promised by the editor Cynthia Leive, that this article would be written from a fair and balanced perspective. However, this article was written almost entirely from the subjective view points of Lucie Vogel and Jade Harrelson. Ms. Elton had a large amount of testimony that offered an alternative side of Lucie Vogel’s character, which she chose to include nothing about. She also had stories of alternative experiences with Dahn Yoga, including mine which she heard during a conversation that lasted over one hour, and chose to refer to these in single sentences at the end of the article.
I would like to offer just some alternative perspective now, so that readers can make up their own minds. The article begins with the story of how Lucie started with at Dahn Yoga with a meeting between herself and the center instructor. I was a member at that center at the time Lucie joined, and remember her very well. The instructor was a particularly kind and open-hearted man. He treated everyone with the same love and respect, and the center was always full. Given that we were in a small town near the city limits of Boston, a city with a large number of students, many of the other members were young woman like Lucie and myself.
In Lucie’s story, she implies that this man played at being ‘mystical’ and peaceful in order to trick her into joining and attending advanced trainings by ‘taking her under his wing’. However, of the many young women who were members at that Dahn Center during those years, Lucie and I are the only ones who became instructors. Our instructor treated everyone equally. It was Lucie and I who responded differently, because we expressed interest in further study.
Lucie admits in the article that she has an extremely competitive character. Her competitiveness grew uncomfortable to be around. The article quotes Lucie as feeling rotting and sick inside. I believe she did feel that way, but the cause was not undue pressure from Dahn Yoga, but her dishonest habits. She appeared to take responsibility for this when she wrote several apologies to the headquarters after her ruse was discovered, but now she is now blaming others and portraying herself as a victim.
I could offer an alternative viewpoint to almost every paragraph in the Glamour Article, but will limit myself to just a few points:
- Lucie makes it seem that Dahn Yoga made her ‘drop out of school’. This is not the case, she took a leave of absence and then returned to complete her studies, a graduation party for her and her family was held at the local Dahn Center.
- Lucie travelled extensively with her family during the time I worked with her, though the article says she was alienated from them due to the influence of Dahn Yoga.
- Lucie makes it sound like she finally got up the courage to speak her mind, and was then sent away. But she was never afraid to speak her mind. During the time she speaks of, she had offered good ideas that were supported by all levels of the company. Her behavior and attitude, however, undermined her good ideas. Another company would have fired her for her behavior, perhaps Dahn Yoga should have.
- Lucie and I trained together with the same instructors. In the article, Lucie makes it sound like she was pressured to throw out her old photo album. However, I still have mine. Lucie made this decision all by herself, and now she expects someone else to take responsibility for it.
In addition to Lucie’s statements, the article includes a biased comment from Steve Hassan who says that most young woman are using the Dahn Center ‘like any other yoga center’, taking classes then going home right afterward. The problem lies, he claims, with a few of those women who get ‘enmeshed’. I wonder if it is not uncommon for a small percentage of members of health clubs or sports teams to go on to become instructors and leaders in that field or organization? Further, I find nothing unusual about these women quitting their jobs as Dahn Yoga instructors. This was their first full time job out of college. None of my friends is still working in the job they got first out of college. It was their choice.
In closing, Glamour Magazine wrote me that it was going to use a copy of my letter in which I shared the benefits of Dahn Yoga in a spring issue that talks about the benefits of exercise. It seems like a peace-offering of sorts? Once again, thanks but no thanks Glamour Magazine. You took a cheap, easy, road to sell your magazine at my expense. I am not interested in doing business with you anymore.