Hell-Bent by Benjamin Lorr
Obsession, Pain, and the Search for Something Like Transcendence in Competitive Yoga

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“Hell-Bent” is witty and wise. If you don’t practice yoga, read it anyway — you may learn something about the impulse for self-transcendence. And if you do practice yoga, you will laugh and cry with recognition.
-NY Times

Synopsis

Author Benjamin Lorr wandered into a yoga studio—and fell down a rabbit hole

Hell-Bent explores a fascinating, often surreal world at the extremes of American yoga. Benjamin Lorr walked into his first yoga studio on a whim, overweight and curious, and quickly found the yoga reinventing his life. He was studying Bikram Yoga (or "hot yoga") when a run-in with a master and competitive yoga champion led him into an obsessive subculture—a group of yogis for whom eight hours of practice a day in 110- degree heat was just the beginning.

So begins a journey. Populated by athletic prodigies, wide-eyed celebrities, legitimate medical miracles, and predatory hucksters, it's a nation-spanning trip—from the jam-packed studios of New York to the athletic performance labs of the University of Oregon to the stage at the National Yoga Asana Championship, where Lorr competes for glory.
The culmination of two years of research, and featuring hundreds of interviews with yogis, scientists, doctors, and scholars, Hell-Bent is a wild exploration. A look at the science behind a controversial practice, a story of greed, narcissism, and corruption, and a mind-bending tale of personal transformation, it is a book that will not only challenge your conception of yoga, but will change the way you view the fragile, inspirational limits of the human body itself.

 

About Benjamin Lorr

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BENJAMIN LORR graduated from Columbia University with a degree in environmental biology and creative writing. He lives in New York City and is currently at work on his second book.
 
Published October 30, 2012 by St. Martin's Press. 321 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Sports & Outdoors. Non-fiction
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NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Stefanie Syman on Nov 21 2012

“Hell-Bent” is witty and wise. If you don’t practice yoga, read it anyway — you may learn something about the impulse for self-transcendence. And if you do practice yoga, you will laugh and cry with recognition.

Read Full Review of Hell-Bent: Obsession, Pain, a... | See more reviews from NY Times

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