This week’s Village Voice reports on the 2003 case of a woman who died while training to become a Dahn yoga master. In “Fatal Trek,” Kathryn Belgiorno writes that Julia Siverls, 41, of Brooklyn, pictured below, died on a mountainous hike in the Arizona desert with other Dahn devotees. Siverls’ family is now suing Dahn (Dahn Yoga here; Dahn Healing Institute here), claiming the organization amounts to a cult that “forced and coerced” Siverls to practice its brand of yoga, laced her food with drugs before the hike, and denied her medical care when she fell ill.
“According to the Siverlses’ complaint, Dahn lures members with free classes and then pressures them to spend big on retreats, workshops, and healing sessions, an allegation based at least in part on the more than $15,000 Julia paid out to Dahn. 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.”
A spokesperson from Dahn denied all the family’s allegations.
Now we’re asking you: Anyone out there done Dahn?