April 14, 2006 at 5:41 pm #12729
note: I’m posting this to open it up for discussion. I have no experience with this group. But I know they bought the Sedona property where Healing Tao University had its start in 1995 – the land that Sedona Releasing Method managed to “release”.
A hybrid form of Korean yoga has really caught on in America over the past
few years. It’s called Dahn Hak, and while it’s popular with tens of
thousands of students, for many, it feels like a religious cult. Dozens of
former Dahn students have alleged that brainwashing and mind control
techniques are used, along with high-pressure sales tactics. And now, a
program inspired by Dahn Hak has made it into our public schools.
Proponents of Dahn Hak make no secret of their intentions. They want to
change the way people think. They use something called brain respiration
to stimulate and energize the mind. A lot of people say it’s changed their
life for the better. Others say this is a religious cult. Parents of
students at one local school are going to be surprised to hear about
what’s behind some of the stuff their kids are learning.
Dahn Hak yoga has made major inroads in the ten years since it made the
jump from South Korea to the U.S. It now has 147 centers in 14 states,
including two centers in Southern Nevada. An estimated 50,000 Americans
enjoy the unique blend of yoga, martial arts, and eastern spirituality.
Charlotte Connors, a Dahn Hak instructor, said, “It was so beneficial for
me physically and emotionally. I was like, I want to be a teacher.” Dahn
Hak instructor Art Laquidara said, “My experience is that this is a
fantastic organization for holistic healing and wellness.”
Dahn Hak was born in Korea in the mid 80s, created by Il Chi Lee, now
known as Master Lee. Lee essentially hopes to change the consciousness of
the planet, in part by helping people to make better use of their brains.
After getting into trouble in the early 90s for manufacturing illegal
health supplements, Lee brought his expertise to a new headquarters in
Sedona, Arizona and turned it into a multi-million dollar business empire
with legions of devoted followers. But not everyone sees Dahn Hak in a
positive light. In fact, many former students believe it’s a cult that
depends on mind control, brainwashing, and pushy sales tactics to win
Cult expert Steve Hassan said, “This is a totalitarian, authoritarian
Korean cult that wants you to stop thinking and become a clone.” Hassan
says he has counseled — and deprogrammed — 14 former Dahn Hak students
and that, in his opinion, this organization fits the classic mold. “I see
a lot of people after they’ve left the group. They’re still distraught
having panic attacks, anxiety attacks, sleep problems, nightmares.”
A former Dahn Hak student told the I-Team, “I felt like I was in shock.”
This Las Vegas woman, we’ll call her “Cheryl,” says her experience with
Dahn Hak was one of the worst decisions of her life. She visited the Dahn
center in Summerlin to take yoga but quickly realized this wasn’t like any
yoga she knew about. The instructors told her they could basically fix
whatever was wrong with her.
Cheryl said, “It will cure depression, your high blood pressure. It will
cure any ailment, any medical ailment you might be suffering with.” At the
urging of her instructor, Cheryl signed up for a weekend retreat in
California where she says she was systematically and emotionally
deconstructed. She returned to Las Vegas a basket case.
She explained, “I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat. I felt like I was
drugged.” She was hospitalized for three days and then was treated by a
psychiatrist who said she’d been through mental abuse similar to a
prisoner of war. Cheryl continued, “…said it was a cult and I was
suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.”
It was Cheryl who told the I-Team that Dahn instructors had created a
special program for school kids at Booker Elementary in Las Vegas. A
teacher at Booker who was a Dahn disciple started it five years ago.
Another Dahn instructor, university professor Geoffrey Leigh, took it
over. The intent is to use so-called brain respiration to energize and
motivate the students. To date, there’s little empirical evidence to
suggest it does much for grades or test scores, but the kids sure seem to
Dr. Leigh says it’s not really a Dahn connected program. “It really isn’t
a type of brainwashing, as much as trying to encourage, like other brain
programs for kids, to use their brains. In ways they can choose to do so.”
Booker Elementary Principal Beverly Mathis says this is called “Wake-up”
not Dahn Hak, although until the I-Team told her, she had no idea about
Dahn or the allegations made against it by dozens of former students like
Cheryl posted on anti-cult Internet sites. “No, I hadn’t heard of that
until a few days ago,” she said.
From what we saw during limited visits, we heard no attempts to brainwash
the kids at Booker Elementary, and the students did seem energized by the
exercises. But the critics say this kind of technique for youngsters makes
it far more likely they can get sucked into Dahn Hak later in life.
Friday a 5 p.m., the I-Team will look at just what the Booker students are
learning, and whether it does any good. And we’ll also tell you what
happened when we sent an undercover producer into a Dahn center to sign
Email investigative reporter George Knapp at firstname.lastname@example.org
Live Simply So That
Others May Simply Live
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Yoga-With-NancyApril 14, 2006 at 6:00 pm #12730
I joined a Dahnak school a little over a year ago since it was basically very cloe to where I lived at the time and thought it was just yoga. after the first couple classes I got a really strong cult vibe from them. They were very nice people and seemed to act caring but as soon as you go to a couple courses they start milking you for more money. I knew I was in the wrong place when after a I missed a few classes they started calling me at home. I had a serious discussion with the teacher saying I am not comfortablke with there school.
The philosophy and practice is called brain respiration and they do talk about creating a new world and new human.
I don’t have any judgment they may help some people but my sense was it was not the practice for me.April 15, 2006 at 4:38 pm #12732
I would like to ask a question.
Why is it that chikung and related practices have such potential for appropriation into a cult program?
Falun gong in my opinion is another such group, though it is quite possible some followers of these practices may indeed be among those who read or contribute to this forum so I would like to indicate that I am in a way nuetral about this organization.
The thing is that the practices taught in Falun gong, and presumably in Dahn hak are real practices with real effects. Anyone here who has legitimately practiced chikung can say of their own experience that there are distinct physiological effects from doing these practices, no matter which you care to name.
The danger is seen when you have an organization with a structure and intention to gather followers and acquire power. Whether these organizations were formed with this intent or not (in my view Falun gong was formed with this intent) their net effect is a cult like organization. The danger is to those who are wholly ignorant about chikung and esoteric practices. They can get attached through energy work to such an organization without knowing about alternatives and without thinking clearly about the origins and intentions of the organization they are involved with.
The thing is that as part of the community of internal MA, alchemy practitioners I believe I have the education to discern the nature of practices as I encounter them.
As GS said in such a neutral way – it was not for him.
The problem with Falun gong is that it is widely known internationally. There is probably REAL benefit in doing the practices, on a physical level, while the mental,enotional layers mahy be not so well benefited because of the trappings of the system. Therefore there are many who have positive experience with such systems without realizing what those of us on the outside who are educated in such matters might perceive. There is some merit in their practice of freely teaching out the falun gong practices because of the inherent benefits of ANY chikung practice. This is not so much the case with Dahn hak apparrently as they are very oriented on generating memberships and dues/fees from their disciples.
The point I am trying to make is that there is still some good in the actual work on a certain level. this is the appeal. But on the other side of the coin it is my understanding that this type of practice can also open one up to being bound to a teacher and/or system in a very negative way which goes against the idea of spiritual independance which to me was always a hallmark of the appeal of Taoist energy arts.
So, unlike other cults these organizations use the tools of the energy arts in a very insidious way. This is what is really scary to me. members are getting health benefits and are feeling good, while at the same time they are giving away their spiritual independance to an organization. Giving up your ability to think critically for yourself is in my mind the scariest thing. Of course, in my opinion there are great examples of this mentality in all religious groups which is why I will have no part of them (Happy Easter 😉 )
CraigApril 16, 2006 at 1:45 am #12734
Parasites will stay in your home for as long as you let them, especially if you make it nice and cozy. I personaly feel that this world will not be changed through yoga. My Grand Ma told me to pray with my feet. This world needs virtuous people to get there hands dirty. The Buddhist, and Taoists have come down from the mountains. Go read to poeple in the hospital, be creative, write to your representatives, go out and protest, go be present and active. I do not see us praying, stretching, or breathing your way out of fear based institutions that flood this world. I first believe we should look at corporations, or the capitalist pricipals we where raised on but thats a hole different topic. There is this sales line that if you just go to the pta, pay your taxs, go to work, do yoga, you will have done your part to better the world. I do not know what Dahn Hak teaches. Thay seem to take different terms from different traditions. If the system is old and from korea why call it yoga? I do not see its traditions or lineage. Seems kind of fluffy. That unuff barking for now. Peace Out.
Happy easter!April 16, 2006 at 2:31 am #12736
Amen …. my thoughts …. almost exactly
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