Dahn Yoga Voice

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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.

Dahn Yoga & Health Centers, Inc.
3651 East Baseline Road
Suite #228
Gilbert, AZ 85234

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.


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

Attn: Will Dana, Managing Editor

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.  


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.

Portland, Oregon

Dear Mr. Dana,

I’m writing to you as a concerned reader of Rolling Stone, and a former employee and current practitioner of Dahn Yoga. I am also writing as someone who trained, lived, and worked in the Boston Dahn Yoga Centers with many of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit currently pending against the company and other defendants. I now work for the publishing company that produces Ilchi Lee’s books, so I definitely have a vested interest in the article you have published.

Rolling Stone is an icon in our culture. What you say has weight, even with critical, discerning, and intelligent people. I really appreciate the personal perspectives and the exclusive insights that Rolling Stone provides in its stories. They make the story engaging and really come alive. And I understand that since the plaintiffs came to you first, that you would be most interested, attracted to, and sympathetic to their story. I also know that you can’t fit every bit of information available into one magazine article. Also, the words “cult” and “lawsuit” help sell magazines. The press so far around the lawsuit against Dahn Yoga, Ilchi Lee, and other defendants has primarily focused on the perspective of the plaintiffs, with some “the big organization denies everything” thrown in to give a semblance of fairness. This situation is a testament to the sad state of the media today.  Despite what you have published I’d like to share with you another side of the story than the plaintiffs portray—a side that they once shared actually. And a side that is equally compelling in a different way.

To give you some background information, I took some of my Dahn Yoga training with Nina and Liza Miller, Alana Lee, Ariadne Nevin, Julia Simonson, and Alexa Krieger. I’ve lived with Alana, Ariadne, Michael Starace, Lily Christian, and Karina Rosario. I took workshops at which Heather Cleary and Heather Simeral were trainers. I worked at Lucie Vogel’s center for 4 months from December 2006 to March 2007, along with Cherie Mar and Lily Christian, and briefly with Meredith Potter.

I don’t know if you can imagine my dismay when I heard about and then read the claims in the lawsuit. Because I knew them and talked to them, even after they left Dahn Yoga, I was very aware of their opinions and feelings, both when they were involved and when they left. Understandably, there was a progressive change. Understandably, there is a time of searching and transition, and even pain, when you leave something you put so much energy into. I never held any resentment toward them or anyone else who has left, and generally we all respected each other’s opinions. But then, at some point someone decided Ilchi Lee and Dahn Yoga were such a pox on humanity that they needed to be destroyed. Hence they filed a lawsuit and started the real war—that of the media. And that is where we can’t agree to disagree. Fortunately, the weakness of their claims became apparent when 8 out of 10 claims in the lawsuit were dismissed.

My position is that Dahn Yoga is doing a lot of good in the world. People can debate about methods—for profit, non-profit, general aid, helping one person at a time. But to me, it all boils down to: there’s a lot of good in this company—too much for disagreement, cultural misunderstanding, and even accusations as serious as sexual assault, to destroy.

I’ve read the stuff on the internet, I know what it was like to work in the Dahn Yoga centers in Boston and take the training, and I’ve talked to many people both for and against the training and the system. I’m no less informed than the plaintiffs. And yet, I’m still here. Doesn’t that make you ask why? Aren’t you a bit curious?  Would you really take the label of brainwashing and accept it and generically apply it to the many thousands of people who happen to agree with Ilchi Lee’s philosophy? That doesn’t sound critical, skeptical, or intelligent to me.

I can feel absolutely positive that at every step in my training and my decision making that I weighed the pros and cons, that I knew what I was getting into and what it would cost. Doesn’t it mean anything that with open eyes I chose to stay when others have left? I am a Cornell University graduate who majored in Neurobiology and Behavior. I worked in a neurophysiology lab for four years at Weill Cornell Medical College and attended a master’s program in Health Communication at Emerson College. My friends and family can confirm that I’m an intelligent person. Why then, are my choices less worthy then theirs? Why then is something I agree with and believe in being labeled as dangerous, scary, and delusional?

One reason may be that it just doesn’t look the same on the outside as most other things in our society. The Asian system of training and growth is very different from our Western concepts of “the way it should be”. So it seems, if you don’t want to get married, have kids, and make as much money as you can, you’re crazy and someone must be manipulating you? If you think that you need a lot of people working together to make any kind of difference in the world, you’re part of a cult? If you believe that there is hope for the world and want to contribute what you have to a group that gave you that hope, that tries to help people be stronger and happier and loving on an individual level as well as a global level and provides a supportive network to do it, you’re all naïve and crazy? You must be brainwashed!

As far as money is concerned, I never took out a loan and then just handed the money over to the company. I did use loans to pay for Dahn Mu Do School and Dahn Healer School because I wanted to take those programs sooner rather than later. But I knew what that meant for my personal finances and decided it was worth it. No one pushed me. They made suggestions, and then I decided what I wanted. I take full responsibility for it.

Well, if you want edgy, how about people having the guts to stand up for hope and love in the world even when it’s not popular, even if the world thinks that they’re crazy and points fingers at them and calls them a cult? You’re Rolling Stone. Write about the revolution in consciousness that is taking place around the world and of which Dahn Yoga is a part. Isn’t that more exciting than “disgruntled employees vs. a cult”? Isn’t that going to help the world more than a supposed expose` about sexual assault and “brainwashing”? I dare you to look deeper than the surface, to use your gut, and to follow your heart.

Much of the information you report contains distortions as well as outright lies. The plaintiffs say we were encouraged to cut ties from my family. Actually, they and I kept in touch with my family. I went to NY to visit during holidays. I would call my mother as often as I did before I started my Dahn training. When she died, I went home for the wake and the funeral and received a lot of support from my fellow instructors. The regional manager said that I should not take instructor training unless I “made harmony” with my family first. While I went home to visit, for one holiday the Dahn Centers in Boston even invited all of the instructors’ families to get together for a party. It was before my time, but at one point Dahn Yoga encouraged and gave extra money for instructors to save to give to their parents, and I know people in Boston who did that. Actually, it’s still a policy in Korea.

Those of us who have worked for Dahn Yoga have received a lot of personal and intangible rewards in return, rewards that are not talked about when ex-employees complain about instructors “volunteering” too much time. And the managers in the centers are given a lot of latitude about how they use their time. The difficult part of working in a Dahn Yoga center, in my opinion, comes from trying to create a successful business—especially one based on holistic health that is not supported by most insurance companies and depends on people’s discretionary income and commitment to putting in the work to heal themselves. But I don’t think that is strange, suspicious, or wrong. Dahn Yoga employees are rare and amazing people. Your reporter should have taken the time to find out more about them.

I am sincerely disappointed that you did not look at this story through more than one lens. I trust that the writers and editors on your staff are flexible and creative enough to do that, but have sadly chosen not to.

Michela Mangiaracina

Dear Mr. Dana,

You recently wrote an article about Dahn Yoga describing it as, among other things, a “cult.” I find this very disturbing because your report is one-sided and biased. It focuses on those people who decided to leave their jobs and stop their yoga practice because of their feelings about Ilchi Lee or the ethical standards that are expected of Dahn Yoga employees.  The key point is that they decided.

Dahn yoga is not a cult. In the two and a half years that I have practiced Dahn yoga, I have lost 45 pounds, recovered flexibility in my knees, and joints, regained my intestinal peristalsis so that I no longer suffer from constipation or sinusitis. I manage my moods with greater patience and insight. My self esteem is healthy. I have a willingness to try new activities, even tasks that are not in my comfort zone. I have worked diligently to reclaim my health. I am grateful for the competent recommendations that have resulted in the ongoing improvement of my health.

All told, my experience with Dahn yoga has been very positive. Through this training, I have changed my physical, emotional and mental health. Traditional allopathic medicine offers health through medication. As we know medication has side effects. To me that’s not acceptable. Simply stated, Dahn yoga is very effective. Practitioners see real improvement in their health from day one. Unlike traditional medicine there’s no masking and managing symptoms. Dahn yoga works!

Frankly, it’s rather insulting that you base your entire article on the experience of disgruntled employees whose many complaints and charges are patently untrue. Would you even consider   writing an article about a disgruntled employee who worked for Rolling Stone magazine without talking to a staff manager? I doubt it. It seems to me that Jade Harrelson et al want a lot of attention and a lot of money and they’re willing to lie to get it. And you appear to be the go-to guy.

Lynn Alexander
Albuquerque Dahn Yoga center, NM

Dear Editor,

My name is John Thompson and I am a manager at a New Jersey Dahn Yoga center. I am writing now in response to your story about something which has great personal meaning for me–Dahn Yoga. I am disappointed that you did not do a balanced piece.  You missed out on many interesting and amazing stories about Dahn Yoga and its practitioners.

I would like to share about myself to Rolling Stone, as I have been a 30+ year reader of your magazine. Before working for Dahn, I was a professional symphonic double bassist for 25 years, the last 15 of which I spent as a member of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. When I began my path at the Dahn Yoga center, I was not a college-aged youngster looking for a job and career, but a seasoned professional in the prime of my career. I was an instructor at William Paterson University and worked alongside such renowned artist as the late James Williams and Mulgrew Miller. I was a bass and cello coach for the Greater Newark Youth Orchestra and also was a mentor to many of these young, talented musicians. And, I was an active recording engineer and collaborated in recording projects with musicians in New Jersey, North Carolina and Tennessee. Additionally, as member of the American Federation of Musicians for twenty-five years, I was a union activist who negotiated CBAs, and when necessary, represented and protected my colleagues before our employer. I love being a musician and I am very proud of the things which I have had the privilege to do as a musician.

As a young musician, I was very influenced by the work ethic and spirituality of players like Carlos Santana, John Coltrane and the Allman Brothers–people covered by RS and very influential in the late ’60s and early ’70s. However, I also copied the drug abusing lifestyle of many of these same musicians. As a young teenager, my constant companion was the RS Rock ‘n Roll Reader, edited by Ben Fong Torres. My aesthetic as a player and a person was set by these early musical role models.

By age 40, I was not in great shape physically and I recognized that my personal life was stagnant. This is when one of my bass students, Kermit Driscoll, ten-year member of the Bill Frisel Trio, introduced me to Dahn Yoga. I was very surprised that in my adulthood and well into my career, I actually found a spiritual practice which satisfies my deepest yearning and one which reflects the desire from my youth of bringing healing to myself, the society and the planet. I am now the most physically healthy that I have been in my whole life. I wake up every day happy and grateful for another chance to contribute to society and consciously engage in my personal growth. And, I am no longer plagued by the loneliness and emptiness which I tried to fill with outside stimulation. When applied sincerely and diligently, the Dahn Yoga practice can bring huge benefits to a person–this has been my experience and this is why I spend my time for my own practice and working for Dahn Yoga. I am just one among many thousands of Dahn Yoga practitioners worldwide who can share how much healing and positivity Dahn Yoga has brought to my life.

I do not see any useful or beneficial purpose in writing about a group of miscreant former employees. Among them, Lucie Vogel is known to have operated a ponzi scheme, which cost Dahn Yoga hundreds of thousands of dollars and negatively affected the lives of many people–including the lives of many of the plaintiffs in the now mostly-dismissed lawsuit against Dahn and Ilchi Lee. And among this group are some who embezzled money from Dahn–I have seen the evidence first-hand. Why would one wish to share their story when there is a much more compelling and positive stories to tell?

Of course, Rolling Stone Magazine is free to write about anything it chooses. And as a consumer who is seriously interested in the musical world, I will also exercise my choice when reading about the music industry and patronizing advertisers. I will choose that which is positive and which brings healing to our humanity and our planet.


John Thompson

BR Holistic Healing
Wyckoff, NJ

Dear Will Dana,

I understand that you have the freedom to write whatever you want, but don’t you have any standards of journalism and fair reporting? The article entitled “Yoga Cult” in your February issue was not only severely biased against Dahn Yoga, it was filled with inaccuracies, slander, and outright lies. What kind of fact checking is required by your editorial team? Are you in the business of investigating issues or are you simply a puppet, repeating the story from only one side?

I’m not excited about bashing two former friends, but in your report you repeat word for word the stories from Amy and Ricardo. I’m writing to tell you that those stories are not true.

Amy Shipley and Ricardo Barba were not the victims of any mind-control or subversive indoctrination. They both chose to be active in Dahn Yoga in order to fix problems that already existed in their lives and ultimately to contribute positively to the world. Amy was a recovering drug addict who had self-esteem problems stemming from being abused by family members when she was a child. Amy was intelligent but tricky, and irresponsible. She abused herself and sought the same kind of treatment from others. Ricardo was unfocused and arrogant, failing to show up to work for regular shifts and talking instead of doing anything while on the job. He was involved with many different women at the same time he was supposedly with Amy. Amy was hurt by his cheating and many times she expressed the desire to move on without him.

Amy was the kind of person who would say or do anything to get by. Before Amy or I had even become involved with Dahn Yoga, I happened to share an apartment with her as a temporary roommate in Chicago. At the time Amy was working part-time jobs and deciding what to do with her life. She was dating an older man and getting money from him. At the same time she was seeing another man. She was not doing drugs heavily when I knew her, but she told me about almost dying from an overdose a few years before when she was in high school. At the end of our time as roommates she decided to travel to Central America and she left without paying her rent. I didn’t hear from her for a few years after that, I expected never to see her again.

But then one night she showed up at a Halloween party we were having, dressed as Marilyn Monroe. I was shocked, but pleasantly surprised to see her. We ended up hanging out and she became a regular member at the Dahn Center.

To make a long story short, Amy spoke intelligently and passionately about her desire to become a Dahn master and continued taking trainings. When she started teaching class I could feel the bottled up emotions and self-doubt inside her. But she kept saying “This is what I want, I can do it!” So she kept teaching, taking trainings, taking more responsibility. She would guide other people with such intense passion. Sometimes I wanted to tell her ‘slow down’ but that was Amy, always going 100 mph. And she did well, becoming more confident and sincere, teaching class better, until finally she became a Master instructor.

Being a Dahn Yoga instructor is not the easiest job in the world, but it’s also not the hardest. I would routinely take breaks during the day or on weekends, see friends, go on dates. Amy did too, but she harbored such intense guilt and self-criticism. Guilt and self-criticism are not the kinds of feelings promoted by Dahn Yoga, contrary to what the plaintiffs allege in the lawsuit. Those are the kinds of feelings that one may get after being sexually abused by your relatives and verbally abused by your father, as Amy was. Wherever she went, she brought that kind of self-abuse with her.

Suddenly one day I heard that Amy left and went with some obsessive anti-Dahn guy named Andrew. Amy told me all about Andrew before she left, how he was attracted to her, called her, even planned to come take her away, and kept harassing her with stories of Dahn Yoga being a cult. Amy told me that she knew it was all bullshit and he just wanted to have her. But then she left, and soon enough she was saying the same things. I know Ricardo was hurt by Amy’s decision to leave with another man.

I can’t blame Amy too much even though she betrayed those of us who she worked with. I don’t think she ever really understood why she felt so guilty, and if she did it’s long since been obscured by a philosophy of victimization instilled by Lucie Vogel, Steve Hassan and other anti-Dahn organizers. The repeating of her twisted story in your magazine seems downright malicious. I’m not sure what the reporter’s motivation was, but I think your magazine should be more responsible about what actually gets put in print.


David Driscoll
Chicago, IL

To: Will Dana, Managing Editor of Rolling Stone Magazine

My name is Danielle Gaudette and I am an employee of Dahn Yoga. I have been reading Rolling Stone Magazine since I was young, as my father is a bass player and always had me involved in the music world. We also always appreciated your articles that explored more than just music, and generally held the image and reputation of Rolling Stone Magazine in high regard.

However, you have published a negative article on Dahn Yoga and that is very upsetting to me. In fairness to all the readers, I had expected that you would provide a balanced story.

It’s all very sad and difficult for me to address. I have been working for Dahn Yoga for 7 years and practicing it myself for 10, and for 6 of those years Lucie Vogel herself was a friend with whom I worked very closely. For a long period of time she was even my roommate. It was the most painful period of my entire life when she turned her back on our friendship and began to gather all of my fellow co-workers and students and turn them all against me. It may sound dramatic, but it was the biggest shock of my life to find out that she was spreading a lot of false rumors and negativity behind my back about me and actively turning others against me and Dahn Yoga. And as I watched her do it, I could see she really had lost the picture of reality. She had twisted and manipulated everything she had once known, including other people, and she was just drunk with power.

Lucie always had a strong and domineering character. However, she never had a good sense of responsibility. She often told me “My mind is so corrupt – I could never be as pure as you.” And all of it culminated into a day in our apartment when I literally begged her to stop turning everyone against us and to please work together to help each other when she said, “I’m sorry. My middle name is James – it means ‘to destroyusurp’ – and that’s what I do. I like to destroy things.” And that was one of the last times I ever spoke with her. She had always told me she was very jealous of my position as an assistant regional manager and she wanted to have that position, but I never thought those feelings would lead her to cause such hurt.

I am concerned about any misunderstanding that Lucie may have experienced while we worked together. But I wish I could resolve that with her once and for all, instead of witnessing her continuous attacks against me and so many others with this media game that she is playing. Lucie always wants to win something – and as she said herself, her way of winning is to destroy. If you, Rolling Stone Magazine, participate in this young woman’s game, it is a loss for hundreds and thousands of people who are receiving benefit from Dahn Yoga all over the country and even the world. Furthermore, it is a big loss of respect for you because it shows that you too have fallen into her manipulative trap.

For this reason, it is a real tragedy that you did not consider and present the other side, allow Dahn Yoga and Ilchi Lee to really present themselves, and let the public decide for themselves. I was willing and happy to share my experiences with your reporter, because I believed that Rolling Stone was brave enough to expose the truth, and uphold the admirable reputation that my father and I have had for it since I was a young girl. Sadly, I was mistaken in my belief.

Thank you,

Danielle Gaudette,
Regional Director of Boston- Area Dahn Yoga Centers