Hell-Bent: Obsession, Pain and the Search for Something Like Transcendence in Bikram Yoga (BOK)
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Hell-Bent explores the fascinating, often surreal world of Bikram Yoga, a style taught to millions by a very living guru, Bikram Choudhury. Bikram Yoga is distinguished from more 'conventional' forms by the extreme heat it is practised in, an overt, almost masochistic focus on pain, and the rabid materialism of its founder. It is also distinguished by impressive results - sport stars such as David Beckham and Andy Murray swear by it, while body-conscious supermodels rave about its benefits, and even Prince Harry is rumoured to be a fan. Benjamin Lorr walked into his first yoga studio on a whim, overweight and curious, and quickly found the yoga reinventing his life. He was content to slim down and tone up until a run-in with a competitive yoga champion convinced him to take his practice to the next level: to train for the national championship. So begins a journey into the strange, amazing world of competitive yoga. Populated by athletic prodigies, wide-eyed celebrities, medical miracles, and predatory hucksters, Hell-Bent follows Lorr as he grapples with his new obsession: researching the health claims and history, humanising its maniacal guru, and eventually stepping on stage at the National Asana Championship to compete for glory. The culmination of two years of research, 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 and corruption, and a mind-bending tale of personal transformation, it is a book that will not only challenge your conception of yoga, but change the way you view the fragile, inspirational potential of the human body.