ALEXANDRIA, Va., Feb. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Andrew Myers, a 29-year-old former Virginia resident, filed a civil fraud and racketeering lawsuit this week in U.S. District Court against several entities affiliated with Dahn Yoga®, a nationwide chain of facilities that purports to offer a "unique type of yoga" for the body
The suit brought by Mr. Myers alleges that Dahn Yoga and its founder, Ilchi Lee, participated in a scheme to defraud its clients through a systematic indoctrination process using thought reform techniques, such as "Brain Wave Vibration," that diminish the individuals' ability to exercise their critical thinking skills and rational judgment. While under the influence of Dahn, Mr. Myers and other victims of the scheme spent tens of thousands of dollars on Dahn classes, "healing sessions," and retreats, took on credit card debt, applied for educational loans, and otherwise expended all their resources on the false promises of healing and reaching a "vision" of enlightenment promoted by Ilchi Lee and the Dahn ideology.
The indoctrination by Dahn was so strong in Mr. Myers' case that the organization rapidly recruited him to become a Dahn "Master," for which he was required to give up his regular employment to work as an intern at Dahn Yoga, endure physically and emotionally demanding "training," isolate from family and friends, and "volunteer" to recruit new victims into the scheme. Outside of the deception and manipulative practices perpetrated by Dahn, Mr. Myers would not have engaged in any of these activities. Mr. Myers broke from Dahn in the summer of 2008.
"I want to help others who have been manipulated by Dahn Yoga. I learned the hard way that contrary to their public statements, [Dahn Yoga] is not an organization dedicated to healthy exercise and lifestyle but one that operates a scheme that identifies vulnerable people, and uses sophisticated techniques to defraud them," said Mr. Myers. "I hope this lawsuit will expose the manipulative methods that Dahn Yoga and Ilchi Lee use to take advantage of people."
Dr. Cathleen Mann, Ph.D., a recognized expert in cult matters, explained, "High demand groups such as Dahn use deception to recruit their victims by misrepresenting their true purpose and exploiting socially acceptable terms such as 'yoga' to attract participants. Dahn engages in a number of harmful practices designed to systematically impair critical thinking among its followers, including isolating its victims from their friends and family, depriving them of sleep and adequate nutrition, and requiring devotion to the group to the exclusion of all else. These practices, which are a hallmark of cult behavior, are deceptive and disturbing."
Mr. Myers' mother, Christine Myers, noted, "As a parent, it was terrifying and painful to watch my child go through this. Without professional help, parents are completely helpless and powerless against the brainwashing and other mind control techniques used by Dahn Yoga. We fought to get Andrew back, and were lucky to find the resources that could help us. Many families are not so fortunate."
Dahn Yoga faces similar lawsuits in other jurisdictions, including an action brought by more than two dozen former Dahn members in federal court in Arizona that was featured in a recent "CNN Investigates" series and a feature article in Rolling Stone magazine.
Myers' lawsuit asserts violations of the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and the Virginia Consumer Protection Act, as well as claims for fraud, unjust enrichment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Contact: Holland & Knight Strategic Communications
SOURCE Holland & Knight Strategic Communications, for Andrew Myers
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