Dahn Yoga: Taps Into Your Ki
Jun 24, 2012 06:55PM
By Megy Karydes
Young Lim Lee
Regular practitioners of “traditional” yoga may be surprised to learn of Dahn Yoga, a mind/body practice based on traditional Korean medicine and Korean Taoist philosophy. Dahn Yoga operates centers across the U.S., with nine locations in the Chicagoland area. The Northbrook center opened five years ago and according to Manager Young Lim Lee, the exercises and classes are designed to help practitioners become more aware of Ki (also called qi), or energy, in their bodies.
“In Korean, dahn means primal, vital energy,” says Lee. A key component to the practice is being aware of this energy and that is done through a more integrated approach, which includes body vibration, body tapping or intestinal exercises. “This differs from a common view of yoga that many westerners have, which limits yoga to a series of poses and breathing techniques. In fact, ‘traditional’ yoga from India was more focused on creating a union of body, mind and spirit, and included more of an emphasis on meditation and lifestyle, along with stretching and breathing. Dahn Yoga is more in line with that integrated approach, even though it hails from Korea.”
Lee, a neuroscientist by training, spent more than 20 years researching and teaching about mood disorders at medical schools and pharmaceutical companies. She first learned about Dahn Yoga when she visited a center to help her reduce and manage her stress. “With Dahn Yoga, I experienced so much healing and saw the effects it had on treating the same disorders that I had worked with through medicine, that I became a firm believer of [its] principles,” she says.
Lee encourages people to come to their first class with an open mind and prepare for deep relaxation. It’s not unusual for her to hear how quickly some practitioners are improving their flexibility and balance, especially among her older practitioners. Beyond those experiences, many people also report relief from lower back pain, migraines, insomnia and sciatica, to name a few, Lee adds.
“We have also had a remarkable number of people experience relief from autoimmune disorders like fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis,” Lee says. Among the benefits of Dahn Yoga is that the exercises can be modified to suit different body conditions that have proved very effective for people that have physical limitations. Other benefits, she says, include quicker recovery from both minor and major injuries.
For those interested in learning more, she recommends booking a Private Introductory Session, a private class with an instructor where a client can learn about the basics of Dahn Yoga, as well as review their physical condition by performing basic exercises to assess stress levels, balance, flexibility and strength.
“This is important, because everyone comes to Dahn Yoga with different goals, and there are many types of Dahn Yoga classes that are offered,” Lee says. “For instance, some of the Dahn Yoga classes focus on intestinal and organ health, while others are based on energy martial arts. The Private Intro Session helps us best match someone with the proper classes.”
Lee notes that practitioners of traditional yoga they may find some of Dahn Yoga’s methods unfamiliar, such as body vibration, body tapping or intestinal exercises. “I would encourage them to treat Dahn Yoga as a supplement to their regular yoga at the beginning,” she recommends. “Our warm-up and breathing exercises can greatly enhance what they may already be doing, and our stretching and holding postures will be quite familiar.”
While the majority of Dahn Yoga practitioners tend to be women over 40, Lee admits there really isn’t a typical practitioner. “Dahn Yoga is suitable for almost any age or body condition, and our classes tend to draw a very diverse crowd,” she says.
Depending on the location of the center, some offer separate classes for children, as well. “We are beginning to partner with IBREA, the International Brain Education Association, and utilize their Brain Education for Kids programs to link the power of the body with the power of the brain,” Lee adds. “We have already seen amazing responses from children doing Brain Education programs and are excited to begin sharing them in our communities. We also have a book of Dahn Yoga exercises for children, which parents can use at home.”
Lee is a firm believer that anyone is able to achieve a completely healthy, happy and peaceful life through qi energy training. “My passionate wish is to introduce these tools to everyone, so we can share the healing effects that I have seen firsthand and to build healthier and happier communities.”
Dahn Yoga has nine centers throughout the Chicagoland area, including at 1947 Cherry Lane, in Northbrook. To learn more, call 847-562-9642 or visit DahnYoga.com.