Article by Larry Rosenberg
Courses in yoga, the union of body and mind, continue to increase in popularity in the United States. Many different yoga systems are available, although they usually share the features of stretching, posture, breathing, relaxation and meditation.
While most Americans think of yoga as coming the Indian cultural or Hindu traditions, there is a yoga with more-than-5,000-year-old roots in Korea, In its modernized holistic fitness training version, 30 years old, it is called Dahn Yoga and can be learned and practiced at the 120 Dahn Yoga & Health Centers in 15 metropolitan areas of the U.S. Sister Dahn organizations operate in Canada, South Korea, Japan, United Kingdom, Germany, Russia and Brazil. Worldwide, there are 600 centers, with around 1,000,000 people using Dahn Yoga and related Brain Education methods daily. The originator of Dahn Yoga is Ilchi Lee.
Dahn Yoga is an integrated body-mind-brain system of exercises for improving the body’s health, the mind’s capability, and the spirit’s connection. From practicing Dahn Yoga, the results tend to be individual health. But it is natural for Dahn Yoga practitioners to share what they have learned, directly or indirectly, with others – family, friends, workplace, and community.
Here is a prime example of the dual set of benefits – self and others – that Dahn Yoga often produces: Linda is in her early 50s, a school teacher in the Midwest. She started to exercise at a Dahn Yoga Center in the Midwest, originally becoming a member to make her middle-aged body more flexible. But soon she found out that Dahn gave her many more benefits.
As Linda put it, “In the first year of practicing Dahn Yoga regularly, m life changed completely. Yes, I achieved my original goal – my body became more flexible. But in addition my overall health condition improved a great deal. Specifically, my headaches disappeared and my lower back stopped aching. My body posture became straighter and my shoulders more relaxed. I was feeling happier too. When I did not feel pain, I was still able to concentrate better on the tasks I was doing. My concentration improved tremendously. Projects at home and work were completed faster and easier.”
With work often being the most stressful place in people’s lives, the positive effects of Dahn Yoga are usually observable there. This happened to Linda, who stated, “Being a schoolteacher exposes me to a lot of stressful situations. But after practicing Dahn Yoga, I became better able to handle even high stress levels around me. I have learned to choose my emotions and am no longer overtaken by them. My reactions have changed. I am quieter and calmer. The relaxation techniques taught at Dahn Yoga have helped me to become a better teacher, co-worker, friend and family member.”
As if these individual benefits from doing Dahn Yoga were not enough, people like Linda often report that they feel compelled to share their new health and well being with others. For Linda as a school teacher, this meant to teach selected Dahn Yoga exercises to her students. As she explained, “I began teaching my students (6th and 7th graders) to have good posture and relax their bodies. Before class or tests, we would do a few minutes of exercises and their concentration is improved. Since doing these Dahn Yoga exercises, my students’ performance went up remarkably. I have taught my students to use more of their brain potential, which is more possible after they relax their bodies by doing Dahn Yoga techniques. Their confidence levels have increased as they were able to perform successfully after doing the Dahn Yoga exercises, many of them for the first time in their lives.”
Seeing in the workplace the positive results generated by everyone practicing Dahn Yoga can in turn elevate the self-confident and self-esteem of the instructor. According to Linda, “My confidence level was raised from sharing Dahn Yoga exercises with students and colleagues. I started much more to believe in myself. Speaking in public was always a challenge for me. Since practicing Dahn Yoga, my speaking anxiety has disappeared. I now actually enjoy public speaking because by sharing my experience I can help others. I have more to offer my students now that I have been doing Dahn Yoga. I have become a much better teacher.”
Another aspect of life that emerges for many Dahn Yoga practitioners is that they want to give more to the community. In Linda’s case, this led her to a unique volunteering experience. As she expresses it, “I am teaching Dahn Yoga exercises to developmentally disabled adults, as part of an outreach program organized by the nonprofit Dahn Foundation. This is a very rewarding personal experience. It feels good to share Dahn Yoga methods in order to add to people’s health and happiness. I have found something that I will continue to do when I retire – teach Dahn Yoga and spread health, happiness and peace to other people. Thanks to Dahn Yoga training, I have truly found my life purpose.”
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