- Obsession, Pain, and the Search for Something Like Transcendence in Competitive Yoga
- Narrated by: Ben Lorr
- Length: 9 hrs and 41 mins
- Unabridged Audiobook
- Release date: 01-21-14
- Language: English
- Publisher: Audible Studios
Regular price: $19.95
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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.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By xebian on 02-11-15
love this book
I really enjoyed this book. This book is about yoga and I'm a fat truck driver. This would not be a book truck drivers would like. It's a really good story and it's really interesting. I learned lots of things from hell bent that I didn't know and would never learn. Please understand this was an entirely arbitrary and random choice. The title appealed to me and I had no idea it was about yoga. I was surprised to say the least. As you would have it, I'm now very interested in hatha yoga. I'm gonna go bend. Maybe I'll stop being fat.
22 of 22 people found this review helpful
By SuZieCoyote on 05-14-14
Great Book On Many Levels
Where does Hell-Bent rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
One of the best! Very well done.
What did you like best about this story?
The thoughtfulness and reflective approach to telling the story. He was immersed in the the story, but at the same time, a witness to the story.
What about Ben Lorr’s performance did you like?
His enthusiasm and obvious joy in yoga.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
There was a story about the young woman who came in second place in the yoga championships and was initially disappointed she couldn't use the winning tour to raise money for childhood cancer. Then, she decided to go on tour as if she *had* won. She invested herself and her own resources to achieve her goal. She learned she didn't have to win the championship to fulfill her goal. This was a very powerful lesson and Lorr's admiration of this young woman was evident.
Any additional comments?
The information on Bikram was about what I expected and had gleaned from other sources, but the story was wonderfully told and transmitted the excitement, fear, disappoints and joy of the Bikram yoga experience. The description of the teacher training class was new to me and quite appalling and basically showcased cult indoctrination. Anyone on the outside could see Bikram was frankly abusing and mistreating his students. Lorr shows, through highlighting other successful yogis (such as Tony Sanchez) that cruelty and bullying were not necessary for the yoga to be effective. I tried Bikram yoga a few times, but instinctively knew it wasn't my kind of yoga. Now I know why. At the same time, I respect the good it has done many people. I think this is both because of, and in spite of Bikram, the guru. The ambivalence of this is theme of the book and the central mystery of Bikram yoga.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful