Getting My Om On

Remember those goals I listed in a post in early January? I’m proud to say I’m on my way to accomplishing one of them. I signed up for a trial of Dahn yoga and attended my first class this week.

I took yoga semi-regularly in college so it’s not completely foreign to me, but I have never attended a Dahn yoga class. I did a little research before selecting the class and found some interesting information.

The goal of Dahn yoga is to manage your energy effectively though various exercises and mind-body practices. The classes combine yoga, tai chi, and martial arts exercises to help achieve this goal. One of the things I liked most is that there is equal focus on physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Below is a promotional video from the Dahn yoga website.

My first Dahn yoga class was very different than any other yoga class I’ve attended. We began with the repetitive movement of (lightly) hitting your fists against your lower abdomen. This is believed to help activate your second chakra and create energy. I’m not sure if I was doing it incorrectly, but I didn’t really feel much of anything after this exercise.

Then we did various stretching exercises like standing side stretch, rolling your shoulders, and forward hang stretch. I enjoyed this part and felt good after each stretch. I liked that the instructor guided us and also challenged us to hold the stretch for a little longer each time.

Interspersed within these stretching exercises were different movements like rapidly shaking your entire body, bouncing up and down, and head shaking. I didn’t really like this because it made me feel a little dizzy. The head shaking is called Brain Wave Vibration and is a component of Dahn yoga. It is believed to improve mental and physical health.

Last was the meditation portion, which was my favorite. The instructor turned on soft instrumental music and dimmed the lights to prepare for this part. She guided us through the beginning of the meditation and then allowed us continue on our own for about 10-15 minutes. Both the stretches and the mediation helped me to feel very relaxed by the end of the class.

We finished the class with all the participants forming a circle and each person was asked to say how the class made them feel. Then we gave our neighbors to each side two thumbs up and jumped in the air. This part was a little cheesy.

After thinking about it for a couple days, I’ve decided that Dahn yoga isn’t the best form of exercise or way to relax for me. I am not knowledgeable enough on the topic of your body’s natural energy, Qi, to fully appreciate the purposed effects of managing it. Also, I also found some not so positive information and controversy related to Dahn yoga and its centers.

What helped to confirm my decision is that many sources, including CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, say that there is not enough science-backed information or completed studies to prove the positive claims of practicing Dahn yoga.

This is a simplified overview of what I researched before I signed up and my experience at my first Dahn yoga class. There is a lot of information about Dahn yoga and its components available on the web if you want to learn more. And if you’re interested in practicing Dahn yoga, I would suggest reading about it, educating yourself, and trying it out at least once to help decide it’s a good fit for you.

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