Tonya’s Letter to Rolling Stone
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.
Video Director, Camerawoman, Editor
Dahn Yoga & Health Centers, Inc.