Hell-Bent: Obsession, Pain, and the Search for Something Like Transcendence in Competitive Yoga Hardcover – Oct 30 2012
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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.” —Stefanie, Syman, New York Times Book Review
“In all honesty, Hell-Bent may be the best book I’ve read all year… Imagine if you can the lovechild of a sober Hunter S. Thompson and Elizabeth Gilbert and you’ll get an idea of the prose.” —Kayt Sukel, The Big Think
“An addictive read.” —People Magazine (3.5 out of 4 stars)
“This extraordinarily thoughtful book stretches and reaches and bends in several seemingly impossible directions at the same time. It is at once a searching act of self-examination, a fascinating scientific investigation, a brave spiritual endeavor, and a fair minded look at one of yoga’s most controversial icons. All in all, reading Hell-Bent makes for a wonderful, inspiring, maddening, complicated, edifying journey – and one that I was very happy to take.” —Elizabeth Gilbert, New York Times bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love
“A fast paced narrative about how one struggling, overweight undisciplined New Yorker discovers a guru who takes him on an incredible journey of personal transformation… Lorr makes you grimace but also ponder the broader consequences of searching for self.” —USA Today
“Meticulously researched, suspenseful and engrossing.” —Kirkus Review (starred review)
“Lorr writes about his odyssey in vibrant, entertaining prose. Although he is obviously enamored by the discipline that has transformed his life, he retains a critical distance that allows him to present his larger-than-life guru in ruthless clarity.” —Publishers Weekly
“Who knew self-purification could be suspenseful? This tale of an unlikely America yogi and this maniacal outlandish guru is more than memoir. It’s a spiritual thriller.” —Walter Kirn, New York Times Bestselling author of Up In the Air
“A vividly researched, beautifully written insider’s account of the yoga world’s most inscrutable, profitable, and misunderstood subculture.” —Neal Pollack, bestselling author of Stretch
“One need not be familiar with the strange and fascinating world of hot yoga to fall head-over-heels for this book. Insightful, compassionate, and laugh-out-loud funny, Lorr delves deep into the for and motivations behind our human obsession with god-like perfection, introducing a cast of unforgettable characters and exposing a world of faith and devotion, pain and promises, myths and miracles. I could not put this book down.” —Aryn Kyle, New York Times bestselling author of The God of Animals.
“A fascinating, riotous, and hilarious insight into the world of hardcore competitive postural yoga practice.” —Mark Singleton, author of Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Posture Practice
“Hell-Bent is a compassionate, insightful exploration of the emotional and intellectual tug-of-war many of us have experience in our yoga practice, revealing how we can fear and resent our most charismatic teachers – yet still be willing to follow them to the ends of the earth.” —Suzanne Morrison, bestselling author of Yoga Bitch
“You’ll be inspired to strip down to your intimates for hot yoga after devouring this read.” —Marie Claire
“If, in addition to good health, yoga offers insight, then this might be the most thorough and honest book on the topic. Hell-Bent is a personal romp through a bizarre world, a clear-eyed exploration of the science of contorted bodies, and an unflinching expose of a guru that finally leaves you asking: How do you judge the salesman when the snakeoil might actually work?” —Stefan Fatsis, New York Times Bestselling author of Word Freak and A Few Seconds of Panic. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
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.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
(yoga competitions!) can actually be understood as one's personal journey into the strength, power, focus and flexibility that yoga teaches its practitioners. To take a direct quote form the book: to try to define yoga is to limit it". I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys yoga and life.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Neither a hatchet job that shares every piece of dirt to be found, nor an obeisant recital of Bikram's hyperbole laden claims.
Just a smart, insightful, and grounded perspective on the yoga, the people who practice it, the people who teach it, and the man whose name it bears.
Bottom line: There are many things to criticize about Bikram Yoga -- the heat, the expense, the guru, the seeming unstructured flow of knowledge, the extremism -- but there are no unhealthy people in the room. (OK, perhaps 1 1/2 exercise anorexics in the studio where I practice). Working in the mirror takes cojones. Turning inward is difficult, unpredictable and immensely rewarding.
This is more than an entertaining take on extreme yoga from a young author, however. "That's my mother-in-law!" exclaimed a non-yogi friend upon reading the really excellent section on narcissism.
"No! No! It's my ex-husband ..."