"Annoyed by the aggressive sales pitch"

"Sick of the incessant nagging"

March 2000
By former students

My husband and I are young, active people who decided to do Yoga together for fun. The Dahn Center, which we had never heard of before, offered "Yoga" classes conveniently near our home. We decided to try it out and set up an "evaluation appointment" with a very eager instructor.

I was the first one to go in and immediately was told that I had a lot of problems with my breathing, internal organs, flexibility, etc. I was also told that the Dahn Center's Korean Yoga would solve these problems--if I followed their exercise regimen carefully.

I was then harassed to pay for the highest one-year membership which was about $1,500.00. I had to argue that paying such a lump sum all at once would present a hardship for me. But the instructor insisted that it was not--because I "would be doing something good" for myself. I had to argue for a simpler membership, which would allow me to cancel at any time and could be paid by a monthly (nevertheless high) payment.

My husband then went in and was told that he too was in a dire shape--despite the fact he is an athlete. Likewise, he was also hit for the expensive one-year membership.

We were both annoyed by the aggressive sales pitch, but decided that we would give it a shot anyway--figuring that since the money business was now settled, we would be able to focus on the classes.

How wrong we were.

We started going to the classes--they were actually not so bad and the instructors were very friendly. However, we soon found out that if we wanted to change levels, we would have to pay for a mandatory evaluation. And we were supposed to "change" levels every month.

We found out that besides paying a monthly fee, we would have to add the test evaluations to the total charge. This charge had never been mentioned before enrolling.

Needless to say, we were the only ones in the most basic level after two months [because we had not undergone these tests]. We received letters and reminders that we HAD to take the test/evaluations soon--despite the fact that we kept telling them that we just wanted to work out and not bother with all the levels. After each class everyone would meet in the foyer for some green tea--it was during those meetings that the pressure tactics began. We were constantly told that we had to go to all these workshops, which were expensive and finally that we had to go to the "Shim Sung"--if we wanted to "evolve." At first we just said we were not interested, but soon we were practically being ordered to go, by our classmates as well as our instructors.

The Shim Sung was also ridiculously priced and when I asked what happened there all I was told I'd spend a whole weekend in a hotel with a bunch of other members doing "workshops." But despite my questions they wouldn't tell me much--because somehow it would ruin the "secret." Shim Sung was supposed to "open our hearts." Often during these "green tea meetings" the instructor would take people who had some muscular or back pain into the exercise room. My husband was often called in and was always given a pleasant massage that alleviated pain in his back. We thought this was just part of the program, but soon after he was told that if he wanted more massages in the future--he would have to pay substantial fees.

We also saw how our workouts were quickly becoming "meditation" classes rather than yoga classes. We would maybe warm up for 15-20 minutes and then be told to meditate for another 20 minutes.

Another thing that bothered us was that when we asked our instructor, a young South Korean man, if he missed his family he said emphatically, "I do not and I don't need to seem them." It also appears that he and the other instructor at this suburban center had a very long workday and no days off!

All these things made us quit. And once we quit we received calls from one of the instructors claiming that she was very sad and missed us. We actually enjoyed the classes at first, but were so sick of the incessant nagging to participate in other activities outside the class! We suspected it was a "cult," [sic] and finding this page and other accounts helped us to realize that this group was not only problematic for us.


Copyright © Rick Ross.


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