Q: Is it true that Dahn Yoga is being sued by 27 former members?
A: No, Dahn Yoga is not being sued by members, but by disgruntled former employees who are seeking money. There are not 27 plaintiffs, but really one ringleader, Lucie Vogel, and 26 followers, mostly her previous subordinates. It took more than a year and a half for Lucie to convince her friends to join the lawsuit, and she promised them money for their participation in the lawsuit. We have statements from individuals who witnessed this behavior or were approached by her during the time she was recruiting people for the lawsuit. Lucie initiated this lawsuit after a break-up with her boyfriend, who was involved with Dahn Yoga. Whereas, before their separation, Lucie was supportive of Dahn Yoga, even after she had quit being an employee. We have evidence that suggests Lucie started this lawsuit because she blames Mr. Lee and Dahn Yoga for the break-up.
Q: What is Dahn Yoga’s response to one woman’s claim that she was sexually assaulted by Mr. Lee?
A: Mr. Lee strongly denies this claim. Dahn Yoga is an organization with women as a large majority of its members, instructors, managers and executives and takes violence against women seriously, especially sexual assault. Unfortunately, as prevalent as sexual assault may be, it does not assure us of this woman’s credibility. A motion filed in this lawsuit has revealed lies Jade Harrelson has told the court. As a result, her lawyer altered her story for their amended complaint. It is also difficult to believe since Jade did not make any official report of sexual assault until this lawsuit; not to any hospital or police in Korea nor the US and the plaintiffs admit that Lucie paid for Jade to return to the US from Korea in order to join the lawsuit.
Q: This lawsuit accuses Dahn Yoga of being a cult that brainwashes people into spending lots of money. Is this true?
A: No, Dahn yoga is not a cult. Dahn Yoga has been around for nearly 30 years and it is still growing. There are many happy members and employees, whose stories are available on our website. It is because of the effectiveness of its simple exercises that Dahn Yoga continues to draw people to its classes and advanced training. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are former employees who did not recognize that Dahn Yoga is a business with expenses and goals for its growth. Dahn Yoga believes it can help more people by being a successful business and makes no apologies for its business side. The plaintiffs and their lawyer have used brainwashing and cult allegations because they had hoped to generate media attention, which they have been using to pressure Dahn Yoga into paying them large sums of money. Because they failed to provide sufficient facts to support their claims, the Judge has already dismissed claims relating to the plaintiffs’ allegations of “brainwashing” and “cult” accusations.
Q: What does it take to become a Dahn Yoga Instructor? Is the physical endurance training for Dahn Yoga instructors unusually harsh?
A: Dahn Yoga employs simple exercises based on ancient Korean healing traditions for its members and instructors. Instructors are naturally expected higher level of physical fitness, but this is no different from any other fitness based business. The plaintiffs in the current lawsuit have distorted or falsified accounts of training practices to justify their claim for tens of millions of dollars. Since Dahn Yoga instructors do more than lead exercises, their training involves preparation for the various person-to-person interactions that take place in the center. Physical endurance training is not the focus of instructor training.
Q: What is the process for becoming a Dahn Yoga Instructor?
A: The path to becoming a Dahn Yoga Instructor can be different for each individual. 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.
Q: Isn’t extreme physical testing necessary for someone to become a Dahn Yoga Instructor?
A: No, extreme physical testing is not necessary to become an instructor. Just like each individual is different so is each class of instructor trainees. For some physical fitness testing and training may be necessary and for others development of communication skills may be key. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit have distorted and generalized Dahn Yoga training practices to suit their desire to generate negative media attention.
Q: The plaintiffs report doing some type of bowing exercise 3000 times for 8 or 9 hours. Isn’t that excessive?
A: No, that is not excessive. Reports about bowing have been over exaggerated for dramatic effect. Bowing meditation is a very old meditation practice used in various forms in Asia. Generally, bowing meditation is done on a regular basis in small numbers. Many people report therapeutic effects from bowing meditation. On special occasions like a holiday or with a personal commitment, people may do large numbers of bows, which they generally build up to. So by the time someone does 3000 bows, they may have been training for months to improve their mental focus and physical condition.
Q: Did a Dahn Yoga member die on a retreat in Arizona in 2003 because she was drugged and forced to carry a backpack full of heavy rocks on an endurance hike in the desert?
A: No, a member did not die because she was drugged or forced to carry heavy stones on an endurance hike. The death of Dr. Julia Siverls was an unfortunate hiking accident and a tragic loss. The lawyer for the plaintiffs in that case created sensational claims in order to gain a large sum of money. The county coroner’s report revealed that there were no drugs in Julia’s body. Further, the county Sheriff’s report revealed no culpability on the part of the trainers and staff. There is no basis to the claims that she had been denied food or water and carried a backpack full of large stones. Julia’s diary revealed how much she loved Dahn Yoga and that she was not forced to participate in any training.
Q: What about money? It sounds like your company is driven by money. The claims in the lawsuit charge that employees were so pressured to make number goals that they were encouraged to take out student loans to contribute the money to their studio’s revenue. Is this true?
A: This is only true for Lucie Vogel and those who followed her. Because she was so competitive, the only pressure Lucie Vogel felt was the pressure to be the number one manager in the country. She created a complicated Ponzi scheme involving her own money, loans of other employees, loans from members to finance her fictitious transactions.
Q: It is no surprise that Dahn Yoga denies the claims in the lawsuit, but why would someone make up something like this?
A: The plaintiffs’ claims consist of falsehoods and distortions. The plaintiffs’ lawyer has publicly stated that his clients’ injuries are worth millions of dollars. They clearly have millions of reasons to make these things up.
Q: The Mago story sounds like a creation story. Does the telling of this story mean that Ilchi Lee is a prophet?
A: Rooted in ancient East Asian tradition, Mago(麻姑) is a name for Mother Earth. Ma means “mother” and go means “eminent and ancient origin.” Mago is similar in significance to Gaia in Western culture. It is a name that signifies deep reverence, love, and gratitude for the Earth. Ilchi Lee has introduced the concept of Mago at this time as part of the Earth Citizen Movement, to encourage people to develop a more personal relationship with the earth and encourage personal commitment to reversing the pattern of damage to the earth.
Q: Dahn Yoga claims that many people have been healed from Diabetes and Arthritis by taking the classes. Do you have any scientific proof to back that up?
A: Our members have provided anecdotal evidence about their experiences of healing and wellness with respect to a variety of health issues. We have chosen to include information about experiences with diabetes and arthritis because of the large number of reported success stories and the prevalence of these conditions in American society. Physiological improvement by many of these members have been documented by their physicians. Currently, we only have scientific studies on improvement of emotional well-being for Dahn Yoga practitioners. We hope to establish studies soon in diabetes and arthritis because we hope that the discoveries from this research would help many people.
Q: Does Dahn Yoga ask for that much of money as the plantiffs claimed?
A: Dahn Yoga promotes health, happiness and peace, but it is also a business. 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. Each center has local expenses to meet and share in responsibility for the national organization’s expenses, so selling is a natural part of each center’s survival. Ask center manager transparent prices and fees of program so that you are making better informed choices.
Q: If the plantiffs liked Dahn Yoga program that much, why did they become so opposed to you?
A: The plaintiffs in the lawsuit loved Dahn Yoga so much that they connected to Dahn Yoga like a family. Unfortunately, they were young and also projected the expectations of their families onto Dahn Yoga. So they unfortunately became confused by the business aspects of a Dahn Instructor’s life. They could not handle the responsibility and they wanted to control the environment. That love and desire for control has turned into resentment, and they are still focused on Dahn Yoga.
For your reference please read Dr.Bratt’s psychoanalysis of the plaintiffs with regard to the question:
Historically, when we look at organizations, we study leaders and leadership styles. There is not much attention to the role of the “follower”, the followers’ impact on the leader and how that contributes to group dynamics. We take a top down look as though the leader exists without followers and the followers have little power. The contribution of the follower in shaping any group is a perspective that deserves much more exploration.
Employees generally experience what is referred to as a transference reaction to the authority structure within any group or organization. They unconsciously interpret motives and relationships in ways that occurred in their family of origin and can react based on those old systems. This can become even more powerful when the product of a business has to do with health and well-being and the authority is a charismatic leader. Staff can grow to view the business as a mission to which they owe allegiance. Disappointment and disillusionment can occur when faced with the reality that a business exists to make profit not to do good in the world, even if positive, social benefit is a byproduct of the business.
Microsoft and financial firms all place productivity expectations in terms of numbers on employees. This is accepted as the norm. When the business involves health and well being, and the natural antagonisms that can occur in any group arise, such as disagreement with management policies or changes, residual transference responses can be triggered. People feel slighted, mistreated, ignored, or dismissed. They can become vengeful or withdraw depending on personality style.
Q: Does Dahn Yoga force its employees to work too many hours?
A: In teaching and practice Dahn Yoga places a high emphasis on personal choice. Dahn Yoga members and employees alike are strongly motivated by their own sense of enjoyment and commitment. As in many work or social environments, each Dahn Yoga employee brings her or his own expectations and interpretations to the work environment. Moreover, Dahn Yoga is an entrepreneurial environment and allows more room for a range of individual responsibilities and motivations. Again, like any other workplace, an individual employee’s motivation toward achievement, team contribution or competition influences the choices they make about working and work hours. Dahn Yoga employees are ostensibly working at the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs–“Self Actualization”, and their behavior may seem different than comparable employees who are only seeking to meet physiological needs. This generally creates a happy environment for employees and members alike, because employees are working well at something that they consider important. However, since no individual or situation is static, it is not surprising that some employees’ expectations and attitudes may change over time. An individual’s continued participation or attrition will likely reflect their own individual backgrounds and unconscious motivations.