Monday, June 4

Dahn Yoga | Schaumburg, IL

This may be obvious to you, but this was my recent eye-opener during my last class. I love checking out new yoga studios, because it's like traveling. You have no idea what you're getting into, you get to see/do something new, experience something you've done before (like eating, or um, yoga) but in a whole new atmosphere with someone else's influences. It's awkward, but exciting. And when you're done, you're a new person. You've connected with strangers. You're re-energized. And at the same time, you love the comfort of your home that maybe you take for granted until you've been away from it.

LOCATION: What's that? Waze is free on my iPhone? GPS, welcome back, I missed you. And since my last experience, you've gotten your social on and with way cuter icons. Bravo! Getting to this strip-mall setting was easy, thanks to said GPS. Plus they had a huge sign that said YOGA over the door. 
STUDIO:  Simple check in area with a place for shoes, lots of reading materials and local pamphlets. I filled out the waiver form, and one of the ladies showed me to the practice space—asking that I bow to honor the room before walking in. The room itself was also basic, artwork on the walls but no yoga props. There was a basket of socks—was I suppose to put those on? I even left my yoga mat in the back of the room because I apparently didn't need it. The floor was padded, so it was comfy to walk on. 
CLASS DESCRIPTION:  Develop strength, flexibility, proper breathing, and energy sensitivity with our daily yoga classes.
Our classes vary throughout the week for a more dynamic practice experience. Each class will help you shift your focus from outside to within yourself. Through our signature breathing postures, you will gather energy in your core, leaving you feeling strong, calm, and fresh.
INSTRUCTOR: I have no idea. How embarrassing! I go to the class, I'm so thrown off by being completely out of my element. No one introduces me to anyone, we hug goodbye but never exchange names. I realized this driving back to the hotel, and thought, "No worries, I'll look it up on their website." Nothing on their site. Crap. 
CONTACT: Dahn Yoga

My first time running into Dahn Yoga was looking for places to check out in Hawaii (a class I never made it to). This chain of studios describes themselves to be Yoga meeting Taiji (which I took for a few years prior to yoga), but the website has everyone in traditional karate uniform (karategi). What? There's no details on what to wear, props needed, or even a break down of different classes. But they use the word yoga enough, that when I ran into this experience again in Schaumburg, I had to check it out. 

From the second I walked in I knew I had no idea what I was getting into. Everyone was wearing white t-shirts and black pants (not karate garb!). Me, I was wearing an orange tank top and gray yoga pants. My nails were all frenched up for my sister's wedding the next day... I stuck out like a sore thumb. All three ladies even looked at me like I obviously walked into the wrong studio. I enjoyed confusing them, to be honest. I signed my waiver form and she walked me to the studio door. As mentioned before—there were socks (possibly offered, I'm not sure) and my yoga mat was left untouched. I was so uncomfortable, thank goodness I was in a room of strangers. They had already started doing the tapping. 

This actually reminded me a lot of my taiji classes, you stand with legs hip-distance apart. And imagine you're rhythmically pounding your chest like an ape—but instead you do this just below your belly button [3:00 in the video placed below]. We had to hit our belly 400 times, each taking turns counting.

Next we had to walk in a circle around the room, paying attention to the placement of our foot (specifically the ball of our foot). We reversed this and then took it into a jog. I was happy to not be wearing socks at this point, because the other ladies were sliding all over the room. 

From there we did some meridian stretching—nothing was really discussed on form. In fact, at one point I wasn't sure if it was a good pose form my irritable sacrum. But they were basic bends left to right, forward and backward to open up the spine and joints. 

I think next we did the whole body tapping, which is you just slapping your entire body, which wakes up the circulation. We also included rubbing our hands together quickly, to generate heat. Then you place your hands on areas for healing—we did this in taiji too. 

What stood out the most was the energy meditation and brain wave vibration. We all were sitting down on the floor, which ever way comfortable for each person. Our teacher took us through an energy meditation. Closing the eyes you imagined a ball of energy, placing your hands around it. As she walked us through it we adjusted the size of the energy. Personally, I really connect with meditation like this. Maybe it's the years of having a father acupuncturist influencing me plus previous taiji classes, but I'm fully aware of the energy running through our body and how it can be used to to heal. I'm not sure if I can do that all with my brain (yet), but I've seen it work miracles through needles. 

Then things took a twist on me and we went into brain wave vibration—suddenly Kodo-like drum music was playing loudly and we were asked to shake our bodies to it. Shake our hands out. Shake your head back and forth (like you're saying no). Move to it in your own rhythm. I kept my eyes shut and just went for it. Losing my rhythm here and there was definitely connected to losing my focus inward. I felt silly, but just kept reminding myself to not care. Let go to fully experience this class. The instructor prompted us further to release all the anger from our past through our voice. Sorta like an om, maybe? For me it was, at least in sound. Then the guy behind me let it out—I mean, that had to be a lot of anger from the past. I loved it! It allowed the rest of the room to let go more. I wasn't going to scream like him, but my little om definitely got louder. We just repeated this for a while and then faded out with the drum music. It was wild. Did I mention how uncomfortable I was? Which I welcome, because that means I was challenging my brain to do something it didn't think it could do. I usually like to do this in the form of a twisted up yoga pose that I can't quite get into (yet), but this new experience definitely jolted my perception for a good chunk of the day—heck, it still is, who am I kidding? 

We ended with some breathing exercises that moved us into sivasana. And it was done. Crazy. 

If you're looking for traditional yoga—I wouldn't recommend this. Though it offered the same intentions behind yoga, I wouldn't want it to replace one of my weekly classes. If that makes sense. And though it also offered up some familiar warm-ups in taiji, it didn't teach any traditional taiji moves either. It didn't disappoint me, it helped me some with meditation, but mostly I think it's strength was in rocking me out of my comfort zone... literally! I think Dahn yoga just suffers from not being able to define itself to strangers, and I would lose the karate outfit images—that still confuses me. 

Maybe this video can offer up a better explanation for you—maybe.


2 responses:

  1. here was a basket of socks—was I suppose to put those on? I even left my yoga mat in the back of the room because I apparently didn't need it. The floor was padded, so it was comfy to walk on.

    Thank you for post..

    Herbal Tea

  2. There are tons of Dahn Yoga enthusiasts, as well as experts who claim that Dahn Yoga is different from other kinds of yoga practices. As mentioned in the official website of Dahn Yoga, this practice is more on leveraging the energy of a person. According to Dahn Yoga gurus, a person could change his or her life if he or she is able to improve his or her energy. Dahn Yoga followers consider energy as the source of everything.