Dahn Yoga Voice

A letter to CNN #21

Dear Ms. Rodriguez,

I have seen the teaser’s promoting this evening’s airing on “Campbell Brown” about Dahn Yoga being a dangerous cult. As I understand it from the promotion, this will be a rather one sided piece since I have not seen any promotion of the other side of the story. Please add my name to the list of positive testimonials you have received from Dahn practitioners and members. Unfortunately, it seems to me that you would rather air a story about “a dangerous cult” than one about an organization that promotes health, happiness, and peace, for the individual, and for society, or at least one that represenets both sides of the story.

First, let me tell my story. I have been practicing Dahn Yoga for almost six years, and have been very happy with my participation. I do not work and have never worked for Dahn Yoga. I have worked in marketing/communications for the past 15 years since graduating from Wellesley College in 1995. I currently work in a small, family business and have done so since receiving my MBA in 2002. I do teach courses at assisted living facilities, that are based in what I have learned at Dahn Yoga, and been modified for the limited abilities of those seniors, and am encouraged to do so by my local Dahn center staff. I have been doing that for 2 years, and have seen positive changes to the seniors I teach, as well as in myself during that time.

I, myself, have a disability. To say that I have been completely healed by Dahn Yoga would be lying, but it is through the exercises and training that I have received in these last six years, I have been able to manage a very serious medical condition. I suffer from a very rare condition that has been described as chronic, neurological, and degenerative. I was diagnosed with this condition about 9 years ago, but have had symptoms since early in my childhood. The prognosis for this condition (Late Onset Tay Sachs) is not very good – many of those with a similar diagnosis use wheelchairs or other mobility assistance devices by the time that they are in their mid-thirties (I am 36) or suffer from mental or psychiatric symptoms. I do not use any mobility assistance devices and through Dahn Yoga, have been able to prevent the rapid decline in my condition, which is what is predictable.

I have never been treated with such respect, care, and concern as I have by the instructors at Dahn Yoga. The gentle exercises taught in classes (which I still often must modify for my physical condition), have not only been good for my body, but have been good for my mind by helping to promote focus and clarify, which has been invaluable to me.

In general, what I have experienced at Dahn Yoga and witnessed with other participants in classes, is that everyone is encouraged to do those exercises that they can safely perform according to their physical condition, and every exercise can be modified. Individuals always have the choice of the degree to which they want to participate in Dahn Yoga – whether they want to attend special more advanced trainings, whether they want to perform difficult exercises in class, and whether they want to attend class at all or become a member of Dahn Yoga.

I sincerely hope that the piece that airs this evening will represent both sides of the story instead of only the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. If you have any further questions, I can be reached at this email address or by phone at (650) 906-6074.

Vera Pesotchinsky

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