Dahn Yoga as an energy exercise started from a public park when the founder Ilchi Lee started to teach exercise, in 1980, for a single person whose half body was paralyzed due to stroke. Beginning from the single person, many people benefited from the exercise including better health, more energy, and positive attitude toward life.
The principles behind the practice and exercise that he taught originated from 9,000 year-old Korean traditional practice for spiritual awakening and self-realization called Sun Do (Tao). Sun Do originated from the ancient Korean people in Northeast Asia. It was practiced as part of popular culture during the Dahngun era, from 2333-108 B.C., and then disappeared into the mountains where it continued to be practiced in secret by Sun Do masters for centuries. From a modern perspective, Sun Do may be considered similar to other types of yoga, tai chi, meditation, or martial arts. Dahn Yoga includes most of the elements of these body and mind practices.
Dahn Yoga, first introduced in Korea as Dahnhak Seonwon (Vital Energy Arts Center), grew steadily in Korea throughout the 80’s and 90’s. In the mid 90’s, Ilchi Lee retired from management of Dahn Centers and went on to pioneer ways to use Qi energy (Ki) to maximize the potential of the brain. Dahnhak had spread to the U.S. in 1991, at the invitation of a Korean businessman living in Philadelphia. Centers grew steadily over the years, and eventually added a franchise system in 2008.
A brief timeline of Dahn Yoga's modern day history:
- 1980 Ilchi Lee starts teaching holistic exercise in a park.
- 1985 After five years of developing his methods with free classes in the park, the first Dahn Center opens in downtown Seoul for his growing number of students. The first edition of Dahnhak: Its Principles and Training Method is published.
- 1986 The practice spreads, and advanced students start spreading the practice.
- 1987 Dahnhak starts to be known as a new successful practice. Large corporations, including Gold Star (now known as LG), SK, and Daewoo ask for Dahn Yoga to be taught to employees. Dahn Yoga is also introduced to athletes-in-training and troops in the Korean military.
- 1989 The energy healing side of the practice starts to develop. A small energy healing center in Seoul is opened, giving energy evaluations and treatment plans based on Dahn Yoga and energy healing.
- 1991 As practitioners experience Dahn, they are eager to bring it to where they live. A Korean businessman living in Philadelphia invites Ilchi Lee to the U.S. Soon after the speaking engagement, his top student opens a small center in the US.
First Dahn Yoga center in Japan
- 1996 The first Japanese Dahn Center is opened in Tsuruhashi, Osaka. Shortly after, Canada gets its first taste of Dahn Hak. The first Canadian Center opens in North York, Toronto, Ontario.
- 2001 Ilchi Lee starts the Healing Chakra tours in the US. This tour would extend through the next three years around the world. By the end of the three-year tour, close to 15,000 people have participated in these workshops. Today, the Healing Chakra is lead by senior Dahn Yoga practitioners.
- 2002 The Dahn Yoga practice spreads to England, and a center opens in Surrey, England, just outside of London.
- 2006 Volunteering in the community was part of Dahn Yoga's history since Ilchi Lee started from teaching for free in the parks. Dahn Foundation is born as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to officially develop and support such activities.
- 2006 The first Dahn Center is opened in Samara, Russia.
- 2007 Ilchi Lee develops the Brain Education program to organize the various programs developed over the years into one complete training system.
After experiencing significant improvement in MS symptoms, an active member in Arizona develops Dahn Yoga Classes for MS sufferers through the Dahn Foundation. Eventually, a Dahn Yoga for Multiple Sclerosis and Similar Conditions - DVD is made for people with MS to benefit nationwide.
- 2008 A franchise system is developed in the US for individuals who want to own and operate their own Dahn Centers. They are called 'Body-and-Brain' Centers.
Brain Wave Vibration evolves from Brain Respiration as the quintessential Brain Education training and spreads quickly throughout Dahn Yoga centers. The Brain Wave Vibration book is published and translated into 4 languages.
- 2009 Brain Management Consultant (BMC) is developed to train instructors who want to be licensed to share the principles of Brain Education through teaching Dahn Yoga, Brain Wave Vibration, or principles of Brain Management in their organizations, homes, and workplaces.
The franchise centers start to spread overseas, and the first Body+Brain Center is opened in Sweden.