Dahn Yoga Voice

Dear Will Dana,

I would first like to express my long time admiration of Rolling Stone Magazine. I feel the work you all do at Rolling Stone is so rich in preserving a part of our culture and history.  I can remember being a child and always seeing that magazine sticking out of my sisters’ beach bag and yearning for the day I could acquire the reading skills to read it myself.

Well, I am 27 years old now and am certainly capable of doing that. However, I am sorry that I am not writing to Rolling Stone Magazine only in admiration. I have read a story on the recent lawsuit filed against Dahn Yoga and its affiliates. I found it very biased and I am disappointed by Rolling Stone’s decision to publish such an article.

I, myself have been an employee of Dahn Yoga in Boston, MA since April 2007. Two months after beginning practicing I also read negative articles about Dahn Yoga online.  I was so shocked to see these and almost stopped practicing.  However, the benefits I was gaining for my health were so profound that I had to trust my own experience and not that of disgruntled ex-employees and former members.  I had been an athlete at the collegiate level and graduated from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, high honors, with a BS in Community Health Education.  During the time I began Dahn Yoga I was working at the Children’s Hospital in Boston and also researching the countless careers available in my line of study. However, I had yet to find one that really incorporated ‘practicing what you preach’.  What I saw from the instructors at Dahn Yoga (and what I am doing in my current life now) is that being an instructor is not just teaching others to be healthy but it is constantly improving and finding new ways to improve your own health as well.

What I saw from many of the plaintiffs while they were instructors here in Boston is that they simply just didn’t do that.  From my experience with them I was shocked to see how unstable they were.  I saw how Liza and Nina Miller were manipulated by Lucie Vogel. Hearing stories from Nina that Lucie would pressure her to make more money in order to do better than her sister Liza. She spoke to me for countless hours about how much Lucie had hurt her and how she doesn’t know if she could ever recover from that.

To me this lawsuit is just Lucie’s continued manipulation. She will manipulate people whether she works for Dahn Yoga or tries to sue Dahn Yoga. In my opinion, these plaintiffs are suing Dahn Yoga for the things they did while they were here.

The people I work with currently are wonderful, kind hearted people. I can assure you that we are not a cult or simply out for money.  In fact, we really are just hoping that the next media report will be a fair one so that the public can hear our side to and make their own decision.  The plaintiffs claim the Dahn Yoga brainwashed them. This is not the case; but isn’t biased reporting essentially brainwashing the general public. Feeding them only one side and making them think this is the truth is not truly informing the public.

I am sorry that Rolling Stone Magazine did not take a stand here and give the general public a chance to really make their own decisions.  In eight pages you had plenty of room to provide balance and fairness. You have wasted an opportunity to tell a full story, to differentiate yourselves from other publications.  You have even stooped below the level of thatextremely poor article by Glamour.  Unfortunately, Rolling Stone will always mean something different to me now.

Sincerely,

Marielle Christofi,
Assistant Manager
Andover Dahn Yoga Center

Dear Will:

I’m currently a student and teaching assistant on full scholarship at the University of Southern California completing my doctoral degree in music composition. I’m also a working musician and record producer in Los Angeles, so my schedule is incredibly active these days. I’ve been a longtime reader of Rolling Stone and value the no nonsense investigative approach always championed by your writers and editors, but I did not see it in your article on Dahn Yoga.

I have been a member of Dahn Yoga for a year now, and I’m writing to let you know that my experience there has been positive and supportive in every way. After two years working as a full-time student, teacher, and record producer my health was beginning to suffer. I was fortunate enough to discover Dahn Yoga last February and began attending early morning classes immediately. The positive effects of the yoga training I received quickly turned my health condition around–I lost weight, improved my energy, and generally felt better.

Having also trained in the martial arts for years, I can tell you that Dahn yoga is beautiful blend of Eastern and Western thought and technologies. The people I have met who run the Pasadena center have been nothing short of loving, caring, respectful and well-mannered at all times. As for the organization being a cult, nothing could be farther from the truth! There are no pictures of Illchi Lee or any other figurehead in the center, no altars, no tithing–just highly effective yoga training. If this were a cult or anything close to it, I would most certainly have nothing to do with it. I felt compelled to express my support for Dahn Yoga because of the clean, gentle and loving way they do business. I had hoped that you would maintain your excellent track record for great reporting by seeing how people like me enjoy the practice and by doing a thorough investigation of the facts concerning the unfortunate legal matter that has brought Dahn Yoga to your attention.  Instead, it seems that you simply focused on the sensational accusations contained in the lawsuit and added even more sensational charges. You would be doing a great service to all of us who have benefited from Dahn Yoga as well as the reputation of your magazine if you had provided a balanced representation of the organization.

Thank you so much,
Ivor Francis

To the Editor of Rolling Stone Magazine,

I am Dave Plummer from Albuquerque, NM and I am writing in response to the article in your February 5, 2010 issue about Dahn Yoga, its affiliates and its founder.    There is typically a copy of your magazine in the lobby at work and occasionally I will scan it for interesting articles.  I am a senior scientist working for TASC, Inc supporting the Air Force Airborne Laser Program doing advanced modeling and analysis for the High Energy Laser System.  I have a Doctor of Science degree from M.I.T. and have been supporting Air Force High Energy Laser research for the last 35 years.  You could say I have had a very successful career and am well respected in the High Energy Laser community.   I was very disappointed when I picked up the above mentioned issue and found the distorted view I read concerning Dahn Yoga.  I would like to share my own personal experience which is much different from what I read in your article.

If I had read your article 2 years ago, I cannot say what my life would be like today.  I have great concern about how many other people who are currently suffering what I suffered will decide not to try Dahn Yoga as a holistic healing technique because of your misguided article.  I became acquainted with DahnYoga from a long time friend who gave me a gift certificate for Christmas 2007.  She felt that the practice of Dahn Yoga would be helpful for my IBS, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia-like symptoms that had forced me to be on total disability for the previous 6 months.  This diagnosis of stress related chronic fatigue came after many tests including MRIs, Cat Scans, and numerous blood tests as well as Psychiatric evaluations.  I was able to recover some functionality through psychotropic drugs but a cure was seemingly far away.

When I went to redeem my certificate, I felt hope even reading the information on the front window.   From the very first class I found improved energy and vitality.  Of course, it faded quickly, but with continued classes and special healing sessions and programs like Shim Sung and Dahn Healer School, I made remarkable improvements to the point that on 1 Jan 2009, I was authorized by my doctor to return to work full time.  The secret to my recovery was getting to know myself better, understanding my choices and Dahn Yoga exercises which helped me connect naturally to my body to circulate energy.  With what I learned about myself, I discovered meaning for my life and understanding of my spiritual nature that was so lacking in my Catholic upbringing.  The constant pain I had been suffering, day in and day out, made me seriously consider suicide before I met Dahn Yoga.  So I literally owe my life to Dahn Yoga.

I have read nearly every book Ilchi Lee wrote and feel a strong attraction to his teachings and his vision to heal the earth and create peace by awakening humanity to the simple fact that we are all connected, that we are all one, and that the divine is within each of us.  Within a couple months of becoming a member, I too became aware of a lot of negative information that can be found on the internet about Dahn Yoga being a cult and some of the allegations that former employees had written.  For me, I could only go by what my body and mind and spirit reflect from my own experiences.  I know that what I felt was real.  And the fact that I have had no recurrences of any chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia-like pains is the only proof I need to dismiss these claims.  All I saw were dedicated instructors wanting only to help me in my healing process.  Your demeaning article on Dahn Yoga and Ilchi Lee causes me great sorrow and sadness because I know the truth from my own experiences, and I have concern that great harm will come from thoughtless reporters simply exaggerating falsehoods for only material gain.

Many new members can be shaken by negative information even if later it is proven in a court of law to be false.  I know this from my former wife’s reactions to the internet misinformation.  She was not willing to experience for herself but willing to accept internet information as truth.  I have read a few other spiritual authors including Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle, Neale Donald Walsh and Silvia Browne and they all speak the same truth as Ilchi Lee.  I see Ilchi Lee as someone seeking to make this world a better place for each of us here now and our children and our children’s children.

Dahn Yoga and brain education are the best training methods for achieving health, happiness and peace I have found.   The only difference between a good, widely beneficial cult and a widely beneficial culture is the number of people who embrace its values.  Dahn Yoga is in the business of contributing to the restoration of Humanity and Earth to health, happiness and peace.

Sincerely,

David Plummer
Albuquerque Dahn Yoga Center, NM

Dear Mr. Dana,

After reading your articlein the February 5th edition on Dahn Yoga, I felt I needed to write and share my story. I have been a member of Dahn Yoga for over 4 years now. I am middle-aged, a business woman with my own company who has a master’s degree in Chemistry, married with 2 grown boys. Dahn Yoga was and is the best investment I have ever made. I attend classes 4 times a week and love them. It has completely changed my life. It pulled me out of a depression, taught me skills that I use everyday to cope with stress and anxiety, and I have met the most wonderful people ever. When I told my husband about this article he coaxed me to write to you. He can attest to the fantastic changes that I have undergone over 4 years. He will tell you that I am a better wife and mother.

I was never pressured to abandon my family and friends as alleged by the people who have filed the lawsuit.We have Family Potluck Night once a month at our center where members bring their family and friends and enjoy food as well as a special class. Also I met my best friend at the Dahn Yoga center. She has MS and this practice has helped her tremendously – so much so that she herself has taught Dahn Yoga to others with MS and has also made a “Dahn Yoga for MS” DVD.

My sister was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and has been depressed and anxious. She now goes to Dahn Yoga 3 times a week. She emails me every week to tell me all the amazing ways that she is healing. There are so many people this organization has helped and I am appalled at how one-sided your reporting is.

I have never witnessed anything but good during my practice. I have been to many trainings in Phoenix and also in Sedona and loved every one of them. Some of the practice may seem strange since it originates from Eastern philosophy. But just like standard yoga, which will seem strange to someone who has never practiced it, the benefits are many. Yes, some of the trainings are expensive, but so are most intense trainings like yoga, dance, gymnastics, etc. I’ve set a timetable for myself and I do what I can based on what I can afford but I never felt pressured to do anything I did not want to.

I would just like to end this letter by saying I am really insulted that you have portrayed me and other members of Dahn Yoga as weak-minded.  Honestly I don’t think I could run a small business in this economy if I was weak-minded. It would have been a better idea if you actually investigated the total picture before writing such a damaging article.

Will Dana
Managing Editor
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,

Andrew Ahr

Dahn Yoga and Health Centers, Inc. and its affiliates operate at over 1000 locations around the world and employ over 5000 individuals.

On February 16, 2010 Andrew Myers filed a complaint with the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria) against Dahn Yoga and other entities.  Principally, Mr. Myers accuses Dahn Yoga and the other defendants of fraud and violation the federal RICO statute.  The suit appears to be a copycat suit to an action pending against Dahn Yoga in Arizona.

Dahn Yoga categorically denies Mr. Myers’ allegations.  He was treated fairly as a Dahn Yoga member and employee.  His involvement with Dahn Yoga, which lasted only ten months, was based on fully informed and voluntary decisions. He is a healthy, well-educated 29 year old adult from a successful and close-knit family. In fact, he was living with his parents throughout the time of his involvement with Dahn Yoga.  At all times, Mr. Myers personally had a network of significant support and resources, including his father, who is a partner in the prominent law firm bringing this lawsuit.

Dahn Yoga will continue to openly discuss matters relating to the charges in the Myers’ lawsuit.  Dahn Yoga remains committed to helping people live healthier and happier lives.

Kimberly Lowe has taught free Dahn Yoga classes in her community for the past year. Through helping others manage their stress and find peace inside, she has helped herself grow and blossom. Kimberly’s dream is to reach out to help more and more people, and bring residents and visitors of her Oahu, Hawaii home together as one.

Kimberly’s Oahu Dahn Yoga Neighborhood Class