Andrew Ahr’s Letter to Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone magazine
Dear Will Dana,
I’m writing this letter in regards to the article you have published on Dahn Yoga and the lawsuit they are facing. I’ve been a fan of your magazine for fifteen years (I’m currently twenty six). I am a professional musician, making my living by both teaching and performing. Your magazine is always on my kitchen table, always a friend I can to whom I could turn to read about the music that I love. The thing I like most about your magazine is your unbiased opinions and fair representations of your subjects. However, I believe these qualities were in short supply in your story on Dahn Yoga. I’m concerned that your readers’ perceptions of Dahn Yoga may benegatively influenced by your exclusive focus on the accusations of their former disgruntled employees and other detractors.
One of the things that I like about Dahn Yoga is the cultural education I get from attending their classes. In a time where the world has become so small, I learn a lot about Korean culture and traditions. I fear that your reporting has unfairly presented this culture in a negative light. Being that your audience base is very cosmopolitan and sophisticated, you don’t need to grab their attention with sensational rumors and you could have shown the ideas and practices of this culture with the respect it deserves.
As a musician I find the practices taught by Dahn Yoga help me with my art. I currently live in New York, and as I mentioned I make my living playing and teaching music. I teach private guitar lessons, and I’m constantly dealing with young people who are interested in music. I find that the exercises that are introduced during my classes at Dahn Yoga have helped me significantly in my experiences with my students. Their classes teach you to focus your mind on your body, and to be responsible for your overall health. By learning to focus myself, I am better able to share that with my students. The practice of calming my mind also helps me when I perform. I’m a jazz musician and most of what I play requires improvisation. In order to play with precision and creativity a calm mind is essential. Thanks to Dahn Yoga being physically fit and mentally calm have become an essential part of my creative output.
The thing that bothers me most about the lawsuit is the way the plaintiffs present Dahn Yoga as a place that will “brain wash” their participants. On the contrary, the thing that first attracted me to Dahn Yoga is that they made it clear that their teachers were to be interpreted by each individual on a personal level. I’ve never been able to be a member of a church or organized religion because there was so much black or white. You either believed the “truth”, or were damned if you didn’t. My experience at Dahn Yoga has been the exact opposite. The teachers encourage you to find your own answers. By making the practices a personal experience, no one is excluded and preconceptions or beliefs take a back seat to your own truth.
I have experienced physical and mental health as a result of practicing these ancient teachings. I don’t think you trusted that your readers could have open mindswhen reading about this lawsuit; I feel you have presented it in a way that would dissuade people from even considering such a healthy, positive experience.
Thank you very much for your time,