Friday, August 9, 2013

Hot In There

Saw Hell-Bent somewhere and immediately put it on my must-read list and it didn't disappoint.

Cracked the cover and wondered when I had gotten the book wet. Did I take it to the pool? I was so relieved when I saw H20 dmg of 1st 80 pgs. Now, if I can only locate the two copies of Cooking Light that are hiding from me...

Benjamin Lorr arrives at a Bikram yoga studio fat fat. His words not mine.

One evening at a party, I overheard a good friend say, "It looks a lot like Ben ate Ben." (14)

Early on in the book, Lorr gives feeback from Dr. Yeargin, a sweat scientist who studies heat. I like what she says about fainting.

When you faint, your body is essentially commanding you to lie down fast. The new orientation makes it easier to get blood to the brain. (35)
Don't ask me why I like information like that...

There are several stories in Hell-Bent (and elsewhere) about yoga working for people with debilitating knee and back pain or addiction but what will draw a lot of people to this book is a look into the world of Bikram yoga founder, Bikram Choudhury, who has multiple lawsuits against him. When I saw part of a deposition with Choudhury responding to a suit, he came off as petulant and dishonest. After reading Lorr's book, I'm pretty sure that those lawsuits have merit.

There has long been talk about the absurdity of letting Bikram copyright yoga postures and how he doesn't embody the true spirit of yoga. I like how Lorr addresses narcissism and charisma in his book. Lorr talks to Eleanor Payson, a therapist, about narcissism:
"A narcissistic relationship is a one-way street," Eleanor explains, "Once you engage the narcissist, the dynamic increasingly takes place on his terms -- each encounter dictated by his moods and whims, and inevitably serving his agenda..." (208)
There are times when I'm in yoga class and get frustrated by eagle pose or the fact that I can barely lift my arms when my hands are clasped behind my back and I know it's because strength training has made my body rigid to a certain degree so what Tony Sanchez, an "excommunicated" Bikram teacher, said resonated with me:
..."Most yogis believe yoga is a total solution -- that yoga will cure all their problems. If you tell them that you run or lift weights, they'll act like you are betraying them...This is utter nonsense...Actually, it is worse, it is fraud and will end up harming people. Yoga is a system for maintaining one aspect of your health..." (263)


  1. Competitive yoga? I had no idea there was such a thing!

  2. I like the thing about fainting too :-)

    Something I've gradually come to realize, and particularly since becoming primalish, is that a lot of things we view as abnormal, or negative, or some sort of bad ending - like fainting - are actually our bodies running a process to help, to counteract the injury or dangerous condition. Sometimes we short-circuit our own ability to heal ourselves by preventing or interrupting those processes. Not that I'm in favor of fainting :-) but as that quote points out, there's a reason for it. It's part of restoring equilibrium, not the end of the story.

  3. Yes, USA Yoga sponsors the Yoga Asana Championship. Bikram's wife, Rajashree Choudhury, is the president and founder.

    Re: fainting, never experienced it but I've certainly felt dizzy (mostly after prolonged sitting) and felt that I might faint. That explanation takes away the fear and, yeah, I've not in favor of fainting either. ;)