What Is Dahn Yoga (Body and Brain Yoga)?

Dahn Yoga, more recently known as Body and Brain Yoga, is a Korean exercise system that combines yoga, tai chi, martial arts, breathing, and meditation.

During a Dahn Yoga class, you’ll experience a variety of practices that each aim to increase your energy and improve your mind-body connection.

In this article, we will learn about the benefits of Dahn Yoga, what it is, when to practice, and how to practice. We’ll also be sharing a few of our favorite poses and online classes so that you can get started today!

Dahn Yoga Definition

Dahn Yoga is a Korean exercise system created in 1985 by a man named Ilchi Lee. Also known as Dahnhak, Dahn Hak, and Body and Brain Yoga, when translated, the practice can be understood as ‘the study of primal, vital energy’.

Though officially created in 1985, Dahn Yoga is grounded in an ancient Taoist mind-body practice called Sun Do and includes elements outlined in a 9000-year-old text about Ki energy called ‘Chung Bu Kyung’.

Dahn Yoga classes focus on building strength in the core as a foundation for improving your overall mental, physical, and spiritual health.

According to the book titled Body and Brain Yoga Tai Chi: A Beginner’s Guide to Holistic Wellness, Dahn Yoga (or Body and Brain Yoga), is made up of three elements:

  1. The mastery and use of energy
  2. Enhancing the brain-body connection
  3. Self-managed, holistic health care

Classes usually start with gentle stretching to stimulate the meridians (energy paths through the body), followed by a sequence of postures. During a Dahn Yoga class, you can also expect to practice meditation and breathing practices intended to bring fresh energy into the body.

Ilchi Lee believes that with a strong mind, you can achieve health and happiness – which is the foundation of Dahn Yoga.

Benefits of Dahn Yoga

As with any yoga practice, there are some general and some more specific benefits to practicing Dahn Yoga. Here are just a few of the benefits you may experience from practicing this style.

Improved sleep

All forms of exercise improve sleep, and with the additional meditative and breathing skills that you’ll learn by attending Dahn Yoga classes, you’ll be equipped with all the tools you need to get a better night’s sleep!

Reduced stress

Dahn Yoga offers an effective way to reduce stress. Not only will stepping onto your mat encourage the day’s worries to slip away, but by bringing your attention and energy to your mind-body connection, you’ll actively bring your focus away from the outside world.

Enhanced creativity

Through Dahn Yoga’s focus on practicing rhythmic movement and focused attention, this style of yoga can be great for enhancing your creativity.

Better memory

Your memory will benefit from attending yoga classes where you’re encouraged to try new practices, movements, and forms of meditation.

Great emotional control

Yoga is the practice of getting to know yourself better and having greater control over your emotions. When attending Dahn Yoga classes regularly, you may begin to notice that you can respond to upsetting and uncomfortable situations from a place of calm.

When to Practice Dahn Yoga

Dahn Yoga is an ideal practice if you’re looking for a gentle style of yoga that will help you relax both your body and mind. It’s also a wonderful choice if you’re interested in spiritual growth and improving your mind-body connection.

Dahn Yoga Poses

Dahn yoga poses include:

Cobra Pose

Start by lying on your belly. Bring your hands to rest on your mat below your shoulders and point your toes away from your body. Bring your legs slightly apart and allow your heels to fall in towards one another. From here, push into your hands to lift your chest, keeping a deep bend in your elbows. Gaze ahead and bring your chest through your shoulders.

To exit the pose, come back down to the floor on an exhale.

Jung-Choong breathing in bound angle pose

Start by laying on your back. Bend your knees to cross your legs, then bring your crossed legs to rest on the ground. From here, tuck your chin slightly and bring your hands to rest on your lower abdomen. Inhale and exhale gently through your nose, focusing on the heat and energy created by your breath gathering in your lower abdomen beneath your hands.


Start by laying on your back with your legs shoulder distance apart and your hands 45-degrees away from your body. Tuck your chin and allow your spine to lengthen and relax. From here, bring the heels together and let your toes fall out to the sides. Begin tapping your toes together repeatedly – aiming for the inside of your big toes. Tension in the lower back and legs might make this exercise feel difficult at first, but your muscles will loosen with practice, and it will become easier.

How to Practice Dahn Yoga

You can start experiencing Dahn Yoga from the comfort of your own home by picking a couple of the exercises that we’ve described above or by watching one of the follow-along videos in the next section.

But if you’re a beginner, you might find it easier (and more enjoyable!) to follow the instruction of a Dahn Yoga teacher in a studio.

Start Dahn Yoga at Home

Check out these follow-along videos if you can’t make it to a yoga studio or want to try Dahn yoga out at home.

Dahn Yoga Daily Warm-Up

Stretching for Beginners – Body & Brain Yoga Quick Class

Dahn Yoga FAQs

What Is Dahn?

Dahn means ‘energy’ or, more specifically, ‘primal, vital energy’. Through the practice of Dahn yoga, we learn about and work with the energy in the body to create a greater connection between the mind and body.

What Is a Dahn Master?

You can become a Dahn Master by taking the Dahn Master Course with Body & Brain Yoga. The course guides you into mastering the practice of Dahn Yoga so that you can deepen your personal practice and teach others.

Does Dahn Yoga Still Exist?

Yes, Dahn Yoga still exists! Nowadays, it’s more commonly referred to as the school of Body & Brain Yoga.

Important: Check with your doctor before trying Dahn Yoga for the first time if you have any injury, illness, pain, or you are pregnant.

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