While many forms of yoga originated on the Indian continent, Dahn yoga is actually a combination of yoga and the Korean method of healing known as Dahnhak. You will not find Dahn yoga at your local fitness center, however. You must become a member of a Dahn center to begin this practice.
Understanding the Practice
Dahnhak is defined as "energy study:"
- dahn, meaning "energy"
- hak, meaning "study"
According to the Dahn Yoga website, reports say that Koreans practiced a form of mind and body healing more than 5,000 years ago. The style had all but died away until a new practitioner, Dr. Ilchi Lee, resurrected it in the 1980s with a studio in Seoul, Korea and a book explaining the practice. In the past 25 years, hundreds of practice centers have popped up worldwide.
The life force known as chi but referenced in Dahn practice as Ki, is said to be enhanced by the practice of Dahn yoga, which includes a fluid integration of:
- meridian stretching exercises, similar to calisthenics
- martial arts, often referred to as Qigong
- deep breathing and relaxation
- spiritually- and energy-focused mediation
Practice usually lasts an hour, followed by tea with the instructor and other classmates.
Those who follow the Dahn method believe that continued practice activates a certain level of energy, or Jin-Dong. The body physically responds to this accumulation of energy by vibrating.
Slight Controversy Regarding the Practice
Unlike other specialized forms of yoga, such as Kundalini or Bikram, in which certified teachers are in yoga studios and fitness centers around the world, people interested in learning Dahn yoga must become members of a Dahn studio. Critics have judged this as being too exclusive and focused on generating profit, rather than sharing the wealth of information and peace that most yogic practices promote.
Some also have concerns regarding the appearance of pressurized sales tactics; the lack of qualitative information on the practice; the "strong suggestion" that all practitioners wear the same uniform; and rumors of a cult-like atmosphere spread by former members and studio staff.
In 2006, Dahn Yoga centers received negative press because of a wrongful death lawsuit involving former member Julia Siverls. The Dahn Yoga Voice updates the case. The site Boston Skeptics provides some details about Siveris and other claims against Dahn.
The Benefits of Dahn Yoga
According to the Dahn Yoga website, practitioners view this form of yoga as an "enhancement to an individual's mental and emotional well-being." There are many physical benefits of the exercise as well, including:
- increased energy
- relief from stress
- heightened immune system
- better balance, flexibility and range of motion
- improved sleep
Proponents believe that daily practice of Dahn yoga promotes "health, happiness and peace."
Information gathered at this time did not indicate any particular restrictions, but it's always advisable to check with your health practitioner before starting any exercise program.
For More Information, Visit a Center Near You
While Dahn Yoga has an online community and offers courses over the Internet, you must be a member to have access to these features, as well as the multimedia tools, radio program and newsletter. However, a brief overview of the practice is viewable at Dahn Yoga. You'll find a complete listing of centers across the United States and around the world. While the website allows for online membership registration, the membership is non-transferable for one month until the processing system recognizes it. After processing, members are free to attend any center they wish.