A Brooklyn Life has a story about taking a free class at Dahn Yoga on Clinton Street — "The flier tacked to the tree on Clinton Street was promising: Free class at Dahn Yoga. As one who shamelessly exploits the various community classes offered throughout this great neighborhood, I was in."
After reading the post and comments, we did a little research. Seems that Dahn Yoga is considered a cult by many and has been accused of brainwashing. Julia Siverls, a NYC college professor died while training to become a "Dahn Master".
The Village Voice wrote about the the circumstances around the professor's death: From another set of documents, a different picture of Dahn emerges. In a 109-point civil complaint, nine of Julia's brothers and sisters allege that Dahn masters "forced and coerced" her to practice their brand of yoga, ultimately compelling her to attend the deadly yoga retreat. They charge that members of Dahn laced her food with drugs before leading her on a grueling mountain hike, during which, despite indications she was struggling, they denied her medical care. And along with various former group members and experts on the topic, they believe that Dahn is a cult. (A Dahn spokesperson denies all allegations.)
Like Scientology and other cults, Dahn has its financial aspects as well:
An annual membership in New York City runs almost $2,000; in its Brooklyn Heights center, Dahn charges $29 for an initial consultation. The hour is capped by an aggressive sales pitch to become a member, complete with instructions to "feel" the decision to join, rather than think about it, and a warning that choosing the gym over Dahn will lead to the buildup of toxins in the body. The session ends with a hug.
Former Dahn masters say the pressure to buy Dahn membership pales in comparison to the pressure to sell it. The masters at each center determine their "vision" for the month—a target amount of money and members—and an internal website details their failures and successes. Tales also abound of masters who are convinced to practice celibacy and separate from family and friends. One former master offers that because "Dahn doesn't really want people to live with non-Dahn people," he finally gave up his Manhattan apartment, sleeping instead at the center where he worked. Finding fault with Dahn is verboten, former masters say, explained away as "bad energy."