Dahn Hak, once a relatively obscure but growing presence in the United States is garnering increased attention. The most recent news reports were published by the Albuquerque Tribune one is titled “Dahn Yoga stretches into controversy.”

'Grand Master Lee'Another article published yesterday by the same newspaper offers the history of the company and its founder Seung Heun Lee, who claims that enlightenment he received on a mountain led him to establish his global “yoga empire.”

Dahn has steadily expanded in the United States and now has 147 centers across the country and claims 50,000 American members. An official spokesperson also said the business has about 400 branches and 150,000 more members in other nations.

The Dahn organization, which is set up through various corporations began in South Korea and has been called a “cult.” And various aspects of its structure, dynamics and practices seem to reflect a religious/philosophical movement rather than a for-profit company.

The Ross Institute (sponsor of CultNews) first began to archive information about Seung Heun Lee and his Dahn Hak studios during 1998 after a man in Mesa, Arizona complained about how the group had recruited his wife to become one of its “little masters.” These devotees are often celibate and serve as a low-cost labor force for Lee, whose followers frequently call “Grand Master Lee.”

Many complaints have come to the attention of the Ross Institute regarding Dahn Hak from across the United States and internationally; these complaints can essentially be broken down into two categories.

First, paying clients complaining that Dahn Hak has charged excessive fees for classes, uniforms and retreats and uses high pressure tactics to persuade people to sign long term contracts for its services.

Exercising at Dahn HakSecond, even more serious complaints about the methods used by Dahn Hak to influence and recruit new full time workers or “little masters” to serve the “Grand Master Lee.” And closely related family complaints about how those workers often become increasingly isolated and difficult to contact.

Personal stories, such as the one featured within Now Magazine of Toronto about Dahn’s so-called “brain respiration,” make the group’s practices sound more like “brainwashing” than physical exercise.

The Journal News of Westchester, New York also reported about interventions or “deprogrmming” undertaken by families to get people out of Dahn Hak.

All of this conjures up images of another South Korean led group the Unification Church, commonly called the “Moonies,” which has also been criticized for the tactics it used to recruit and retain members. A man who also claimed to have received “enlightenment” from a higher power, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, led that organization.

The media has been taking a harder look lately at Dahn Hak since the tragic and untimely death of 41-year-old Dr. Julia M. Siverls. Dr. Siverls was a respected professor within the Department of Social Sciences at Queens Community College of the City University of New York. She died under strange circumstances while attending a Dahn Hak retreat in Sedona, Arizona.

CultNews first reported about Dr. Siverls death during August of 2003 and since then her family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Dahn Hak and Seung Heun Lee.

The recent report from New Mexico and an earlier articles published by the Journal News of Westchester and the New York Post further detailed about this tragedy.

CBS News affiliates in several cities including both Boston and Phoenix also have recently run investigative reports about Dahn Hak.

More legal woes have entangled Lee, who is also facing court action for patent infringement concerning “colour breathing,” a technique apparently first developed by Allison Bourne of Energy Press in England and allegedly later copied by Lee.

Was that somehow part of the “enlightenment” the “Grand Master” downloaded from a higher power on a mountaintop?

What is Dahn Hak?

Is it a chain of exercise studios featuring “yoga,” “martial arts” and other forms of eastern exercise?

Or is it a new religious movement with a latter-day messiah following in the footsteps of Rev. Moon?

Perhaps the grieving family of Julia Siverls will find out through the discovery process in their ongoing lawsuit.

Meanwhile the mainstream press and media seem to be increasingly interested in Seung Heun Lee and his “yoga empire”


no comment untill now

Sorry, comments closed.