Though we are generally used to associating yoga with India, it is nonetheless true that certain yoga branches have evolved not only in the western world but in other parts of Asia too. This is the case of Dahn yoga, a Korean system that starts from traditional yoga practices and crosses the borders of tai chi and martial arts. The main emphasis in the study of Dahn yoga is on the unitary development of the emotional, physical and spiritual dimensions of the being. Just like in the case of other yoga approaches, the ultimate goal is enlightenment through the increase of the body-mind connection; this can only be achieved when the energy system is developed well enough.
One of the fundamental operational concepts of Dahn yoga is ki, qi or chi, which means “universal energy” or “light”. Hence, a traditional Dhan yoga class will stimulate the flow of the energy through the body mainly through stretching postures that enable the creation of a circuit for the energetic flow. Meditations complete body postures, so that at the end of the class, the practitioner feels energized and full of vitality. Most often, the postures lead the yogi into accumulating this energy at the level of the abdomen, in the energetic center known as the second chakra.
Over the last decade, Dahn yoga has faced major criticism with lots of voices accusing practitioners of cult-like attitudes. One other defilement of the name of Dahn yoga came from the two lawsuits for wrongful death that marred the history of the organization, as dehydration and heat stroke seem to have caused the death of one of the practitioners during a master training. Furthermore, one other issue that is often brought into discussion is the high cost of workshops and membership. Nevertheless, opinions remain divided, as Dahn yoga has plenty of adepts all over the world, and they testify to the effectiveness of the practice.
Presently, Dahn yoga is considered a great health enhancer particularly for common ailments that include back pain, muscular tension, digestive disorders, headaches and even sleeping problems. Very often Dahn yoga classes are attended by people who are trying to regain control over their lives: people who suffer from eating disorders, low self-esteem, lack of confidence and so on. Practice seems to prove that by the correct channeling of energy and lots of determination, even the most depressed person can improve health management significantly.