For some, yoga is about strength, others breathing or flexibility. At Dahn Yoga Center, yoga is about energy. Originating in Korea, the practice of Dahn yoga combines stretching, flowing movement, deep breathing exercises and meditation to develop the body’s physical, mental and spiritual health. Dahn means life force, or energy, so it is no wonder why Dahn Yoga offers yoga classes to help understand and apply three primary energy principles: where the mind goes, energy follows, “water up, fire down” and stages of energetic growth.
The energy principle, where the mind goes, energy follows, states that energy follows the direction of your mind and leads to the creation of reality in your body and in life. Meditation is an ideal way to apply this principle. Laura Castagnino, manager and head instructor of Downtown DC Dahn Yoga explains, “Yoga was something I found helpful, in a period of high stress in my life. The meditative aspect helped me to get more clearly focused on where I was heading.”
Dahn Yoga offers several types of meditation classes. Ji-Gam, a meditative exercise, introduces the awareness of energy. “Ji” means to stop and “gam” means emotion or feeling. The method encourages the mind to be still, quiet and undisrupted by the movement of emotions. “Energy dance”, or Dahn-Mu is a form of gentle dancing to control and utilize “qi” or natural energy. By dancing with the natural flow of energy, practitioners experience qi energy as a gentle vibration inside the body, which assists in experiencing a gentle, dynamic meditation.
In order to achieve optimal energy balance, it is important to direct your flow of energy effectively. “Water up, fire down”, the second energy principle, expresses that one experiences optimal energy balance when your head is cool, chest is open and your abdomen is warm. This simple technique helps to manage energy by keeping hot fire energy in your belly and cool water energy in your head. In this energy state, you are physically strong and mentally clear. “Dahn yoga is centered around your brain,” says Castagnino, “When I began taking weekend workshops, I started getting a deeper understanding—intellectually, physically, emotionally, spiritually. I could see the changes, and I started to feel I was a real product of that brain education system.”
The final energy principle, stages of energetic growth, explains that as you stabilize your physical energy you will attain emotional well being. This relates that our body, mind and spirt are not separate from each other. Energy martial arts, DahnMuDo, tai chi and qigong are offered at Dahn Yoga to achieve stability of physical energy. DahnMuDo is a Korean healing and martial arts form for the enhancement of life energy and development of the ability to use energy. It can be translated to “the art of being limitless”. Castagnino says, “Dahn yoga helps a practitioner to be more aware of their own energy condition—how to manage it and control it. The first step is to focus more inward to feel and sense energy and be aware of what you need to modify. It is a very empowering practice.” Additional classes offered include core strengthening, core energy breathing, energy refreshing exercises and Tao Yin Meridian exercises, or deep stretching to improve circulation and alignment. Workshops, private sessions, lifestyle coaching and customized exercises are also available.
There are no class levels at Dahn Yoga. Each class incorporates a little bit of everything, be it meditation, core strengthening or energy balance. The class instructors help you identify a tangible goal and give guidance on how to obtain the results that you want. “I can teach a different class and everyone will get a different benefit,” Castagnino exclaims, “The best thing to do, is just come and try it, feel it in your own energy. We want people to know you have your own system of healing inside of you, you just need to learn how to awaken it.”
Downtown DC Dahn Yoga is located at 700 14th St. NW Washington, D.C. For more information and additional locations, call 202-393-3440 or visit DahnYoga.com.
Sharon Hadden, writer, editor and public relations consultant helps businesses manage and understand their digital footprint.