Dahn yoga

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Dahn Yoga and Health Centers, Inc.
Privately held
Industry Health and Wellness
Founded June 18, 1996 (1996-06-18)
Founder Ilchi Lee
Headquarters Gilbert, AZ, USA
Number of locations
69 Corporate owned locations,
35 Franchises
Area served
Key people
Dami Kim (CEO and President)
Hee Nam Kim (Executive Director)
Temani Aldine (VP and Gen. Counsel)
Products Yoga and Self-Healing Books, Music and Video
Services Yoga Classes, Tai Chi Classes, Ki Gong Classes
Number of employees
Website www.dahnyoga.com

Dahn yoga (also known as Dahn Hak or Dahnhak) is a Korean physical exercise system and business founded in 1985 by Ilchi Lee. In Korean, dahn means "primal, vital energy," and hak means "study of a particular theory or philosophy."[1] News sources have described its exercises as "a blend of yoga, tai chi, and martial arts exercises." Dahn Yoga is taught through for-profit and non-profit studios as well as community centers.[2]

Training methods[edit]

People practicing Dahn yoga in a Dahn Center.

According to Dahn Yoga Basics, a book published by Dahn Yoga Education, Dahn Yoga has "three unique characteristics": "the mastery and use of energy", "enhancing the body-brain connection", and "self-managed, holistic health care".[3] The practice draws upon traditional notions of ki, also known as chi or qi.[4] A typical class begins with what is called "Meridian Stretching" exercise, which is believed to stimulate the energy in the body.[5] After these stretching exercises, practitioners normally follow a sequence of postures. Classes often include elements of meditation, as well.[1]

An article by three physicians from Weill Cornell Medical College published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine reported the conclusions of a 3-month study of community-based mind-body training methods. The study surveyed 171 adults enrolled at various Dahn Yoga Centers in the New York City area. All of the participants had taken ten or fewer classes at the beginning of the study. The article concludes that participants reported "moderate improvements after 3 months of practice" with increased scores "in all [of the surveyed] domains of health-related quality of life, fewer depressive symptoms, less trait anxiety, and greater self-efficacy".[6]

Brain Wave Vibration[edit]

Brain Wave Vibration is promoted as a mental and physical health enhancement technique developed by Ilchi Lee. According to Lee, brain waves are a type of vibration that has a significant effect on a person’s health and outlook on life.[7] A form of moving meditation (head-shaking), the technique was described by one Dahn instructor: "By shaking your head and vibrating your body, you bring healing energy. You just need to close your eyes and turn your head right and left, right and left, focusing on the center of your brain and keeping a rhythm. Afterwards, you feel very rejuvenated!"[8] As part of CNN's three-part investigation into controversy and lawsuits surrounding Dahn Yoga, Neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjay Gupta was asked about testimonials that Brain Wave Vibration "lowered blood pressure, corrected lazy eyes, [and] even reduced symptoms of multiple sclerosis." Gupta stated that the notion of vibrating the brain or other parts of the body to turn parts of the brain on and off is not grounded in science and that anecdotes are not empirically verifiable.[9]

In 2010 a study sponsored by Ilchi Lee's Korean Institute of Brain Science (KIBS) and published in Neuroscience Letters examined the impact of Brain Wave Vibration training. The study showed subjects who engaged in Dahn Yoga led meditation reported lower levels of stress compared to the control group, which did not practice any sort of meditation.[10] Another KIBS-sponsored study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine showed that Brain Wave Vibration meditation reduced stress similarly to Iyengar Yoga and Mindfulness meditation.[11]

Brain Education[edit]

The tradenames Brain Education, and Brain Education Systems Training (or BEST), refer to a set of exercises developed and promoted by Ilchi Lee subsequent to his "Brain Respiration" and "Dahnhak." According to Dahn Yoga's Web site, after more than 27 years of practice, Lee had developed a system of exercises, breathing, and stretches “to activate the natural healing rhythms of the brain and body.”[12] Brain Education is described as consisting of five separate steps: brain sensitizing, brain versatilizing, brain refreshing, brain integrating, and brain mastering.[12]


In 1985 the first Dahn Yoga Center opened in downtown Seoul. By 1990, fifty locations were teaching Dahn Yoga in South Korea.[13] In 1991, the first U.S. Dahn Yoga Center was opened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1997 the Sedona Ilchi Meditation Center (SIMC) was established, hosting specialized programs open to Dahn yoga members for a fee. Over the next ten years Dahn yoga focused on expanding its operations globally.

The Dahn Yoga Foundation was created in 2006, offering classes for free or at reduced rates in senior centers,[14] community centers,[15] churches, public parks, offices, schools and hospitals.[16] In addition to the outreach classes, Dahn Yoga Foundation volunteers participate in community service projects.[17]

As of late 2015, Dahn Yoga changed its name to Body & Brain.[18]


A wrongful death lawsuit was brought against Dahn Yoga over the death of Julia Siverls, a Dahn Yoga member, during a training hike in 2003. According to a document filed by the Southern District of New York of the United States District Court, the case was dismissed on August 1, 2008, with no fault found.[19]

In May 2009, the Barba et al. v. Dahn Yoga et al. case (Case No. CV-09-1115-PHX-SRB) was filed with the United States District Court for the District of Arizona. In this case, twenty seven former members and employees sued Dahn Yoga and other defendants for fraud, undue influence, unfair and deceptive business practice, emotional distress, wage and hour law violation, and civil RICO.

In this case, ten plaintiffs were dismissed by the Court[20][21][22] and the other seventeen plaintiffs withdrew them in anticipation of being faced with the defendants' counterclaims and difficult challenges in meeting their discovery requirements, and settled the case by mutual release.[23]

No money was paid to any of the plaintiffs by any defendants in this case. On the other hand, a Judgment was entered against seven of the dismissed plaintiffs awarding defendants $11,072.07 in litigation costs.[24] Two plaintiffs admitted that the primary reason for them to have brought this lawsuit was the misrepresentations made by their former attorney Ryan Kent about their claims and his ability to handle their case.[25] In the declaration accompanying his motions to withdraw from the case, Kent stated that "I believed it was probable this matter would settle prior to protracted litigation. As it turns out, I was mistaken in this belief."[26]

Also, several other plaintiffs admitted that the allegations made in the lawsuit are not what they intended or directly contradict their experience with Dahn Yoga.[27]

The case was finally dismissed entirely on April 1, 2013 by court order.[28]

Media coverage of litigation[edit]

The 2009 federal lawsuit against Dahn Yoga received extensive coverage. Several popular media outlets described Dahn Yoga's business as cult-like activists, following the plaintiff's side of the story. Forbes reported on the allegations of the lawsuit against Dahn Yoga in July 2009.[29] CNN presented an investigative journalism segment on Dahn Yoga in January 2010,[30] posting the question of whether it was cult. Rolling Stone Magazine also reported a similar investigative article mainly based on the story of two of the plaintiffs in February 2010.[31] None of the allegations made in the media have been proven in any court of law.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Dahn Yoga Education (2006). Dahn Yoga Basics. Healing Society. ISBN 1-932843-17-5. 
  2. ^ "Lake Braddock Students Learn How To Give Back". Connectionnewspapers.com. 2010-11-10. Retrieved 2011-03-08. 
  3. ^ Dahn Yoga Education (2006). Dahn Yoga Basics. Healing Society. pp. 15–16. ISBN 1-932843-17-5. 
  4. ^ Dahn Yoga Education (2006). Dahn Yoga Basics. Healing Society. pp. 21–29. ISBN 1-932843-17-5. 
  5. ^ Dahn Yoga Education (2006). Dahn Yoga Basics. Healing Society. p. 45. ISBN 1-932843-17-5. 
  6. ^ Lee SW; Mancuso CA; Charlson ME (July 2004). "Prospective study of new participants in a community-based mind-body training program". J Gen Intern Med. 19 (7): 760–5. doi:10.1111/j.1525-1497.2004.30011.x. PMC 1492489Freely accessible. PMID 15209590. 
  7. ^ "Learn The Method: Brain Wave Vibration". Brainwavevibration.com. Retrieved 2011-03-08. 
  8. ^ "Aging Gracefully with Yoga, Humor, and Joy". Neighbor Newspapers. Retrieved 2011-03-08. 
  9. ^ "CNN.com - Transcripts". Transcripts.cnn.com. Retrieved 2011-03-08. 
  10. ^ Jung, Ye-Ha; Kang, Do-Hyung; Jang, Joon Hwan; Park, Hye Yoon; Byun, Min Soo; Kwon, Soo Jin; Jang, Go-Eun; Lee, Ul Soon; An, Seung Chan; Kwon, Jun Soo (26 July 2010). "The effects of mind-body training on stress reduction, positive affect, and plasma catecholamines". Neuroscience Letters. 479 (2): 138–142. doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2010.05.048. PMID 20546836. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  11. ^ Bowden, Deborah; Gaudry, Claire; Seung Chan, An; Gruzelier, John (12 September 2011). "A Comparative Randomised Controlled Trial of the Effects of Brain Wave Vibration Training, Iyengar Yoga, and Mindfulness on Mood, Well-Being, and Salivary Cortisol". Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2012: 1–13. doi:10.1155/2012/234713. 
  12. ^ a b "Classes combining Yoga, Tai chi, Meditation". Dahn Yoga. Retrieved 2011-03-08. 
  13. ^ "Dahn Yoga Video Introduces History and Growth of Dahn Yoga Founded by Ilchi Lee" (Press release). PR Web, Dahn Yoga. 2011-03-12. Retrieved 2011-12-21. 
  14. ^ Fremont's Holy Family sisters enjoy yoga class. Inside Bay Area. April 20, 2011. Retrieved December 21, 2011.
  15. ^ "Burien woman teaches yoga for the blind". Highlinetimes.com. 2011-05-02. Retrieved 2011-12-21. 
  16. ^ "Bethesda woman uses yoga to heal". gazette.net. 2011-10-20. Retrieved 2011-12-21. 
  17. ^ "UCM Reaches Help The Homeless Walkathon Goal". alexandrianews.org. 2011-11-14. Retrieved 2011-12-21. 
  18. ^ https://www.bodynbrain.com
  19. ^ Stipulation of Dismissal, Case 1:05-cv-07518-PKC, Document 144, August 1, 2008
  20. ^ "Court order". dahnyogavoice.com. 
  21. ^ "Court Order". 
  22. ^ "Court Order". 
  23. ^ "Orders Granting Stipulations as to 17 Plaintiffs". 
  24. ^ "Judgments on Taxation of Costs". 
  25. ^ "Leisher Vogel Settlement Agreements". 
  26. ^ "Kent Motion to Withdraw". 
  27. ^ "Plaintiffs Declarations". 
  28. ^ "Court Order". 
  29. ^ "Forbes". 
  30. ^ "CNN Reports". 
  31. ^ "Rolling Stone Magazine". 

External links[edit]