Un-Dahn | August 28, 2009 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |


Mountain View Voice

News - August 28, 2009


by Don Frances

NOT LONG ago I wrote about Dahn Yoga, and the fact that Mayor Margaret Abe-Koga had declared an official "Brain Education Day" in honor of ... well, some kind of pie-in-the-sky philosophy advocated by the people who run Dahn Yoga.

Now it looks like neither the mayor nor I should have given them this publicity.

According to an August article in Forbes magazine, 27 former Dahn practitioners filed suit against the company in May, "claiming the group subjected them to psychological manipulation and fraudulently induced them to spend thousands of dollars on Dahn yoga classes and retreats."

The accusations against the company are extreme: "The punishing techniques, they say, included forced isolation from friends and families, exercises like bowing 3,000 times all night long without breaks, disciplining members by sticking their heads in the toilet and making them lick other members' feet, and having them hold certain poses, like the push-up position, for 20 to 30 minutes at a time. On top of those charges, the suit alleges that Ilchi Lee, the 57-year-old Korean founder of Dahn and its spiritual leader, sexually preyed on young female disciples."

Naturally, Lee and the Dahn people deny all these charges. But I think the mayor ought to rescind "Brain Education Day" all the same.

IN MUCH HAPPIER news, the organizers at Deer Hollow are looking for volunteer tour guides.

"It's time for our annual docent recruitment drive at Deer Hollow Farm," writes Gail Nyhan. "Volunteers are needed to lead small groups of elementary school children as they visit farm animals, explore a wilderness preserve, or discover local history and culture in a replica Ohlone village."

To find out more, come to an introductory meeting on Thursday, Sept. 10 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the downtown library's Community Room. Or call (650) 903-6430 or write dhfarms@mountainview.gov.

Don Frances can be reached at dfrances@mv-voice.com.


Posted by Karen P Anderson, a resident of another community
on Sep 1, 2009 at 1:42 pm

Allegations in lawsuits (even when reprinted by Forbes and the MV Voice) are not necessarily true. Their being "extreme" makes them even harder to believe. I am a lawyer and was a Dahn Yoga member until the Mountain View center recently closed. I very much enjoyed the classes and found the "pressure" to purchase additional products and services to be no more than your typical gym trying to upsell personal training or supplements. Until/unless plaintiffs can meet their burden of proof on their extreme claims, judgment and public opinion should be reserved. I sincerely hope Deer Hollow doesn't get sued anytime soon, lest you also withdraw your call for volunteers there!

Posted by Robin Rickert, a resident of another community
on Sep 1, 2009 at 3:23 pm

I am constantly amazed at the one-sided/bias of media. Have you even asked any previous or current members of their experience? Doesn't appear to me that you have. You're just reiterating another publication's article. Not great journalism in my mind. Anyway -- I am a former member of Dahn Yoga. I enjoyed the MV center for over 3 years. There was no pressure, no kool-aid, no weirdness, no harassment. As an organization, it should maintain the right to profit and make money...just like any other gym or yoga center. If you don't really understand something, then don't comment. It makes you look, well, let's just say...uninformed.

Posted by Real Dahn, a resident of another community
on Dec 6, 2009 at 9:42 pm

I lived the nightmare that is Dahn Yoga. Yes the classes themselves can be good. However the real danger is on the employee side, and that is what people do not get here. I watched as a loved one pulled away from the family and put Dahn Yoga first, it was the only thing that mattered and Dahn was responsible for all the good in life. I watched as Ilchi Lee replaced Jesus Christ as the figure of worship. I watched as their financial situation was destroyed due to all the "training", all while Dahn's "masters" stood by and did nothing. I watched as Dahn allowed their employees to volunteer at events time and time again, stating that it was for their personal training (an illegal labor practice). I watched as they paid near minimum wage for the hours they were paid for and didn't even pay time off or for the training that the employees attended that made them better employees and salespeople for Dahn. I know how much effort it is to get someone out of this organization, a therapist and an intervention followed by total chaos as the employee goes through Dahn withdrawals.

So yes Karen and Robin I'm glad you enjoyed your classes but there is a much darker side to this organization. A side that uses employees and changes them in really bad ways. Dahn can come out and publish comments ripping the members of this lawsuit but I know what is true and what was happening "behind the curtain".

Trust me when I say that you were lucky your center closed, I wish the ones in my area would so nobody else has to go through what I did.