Hell-Bent, by Benjamin Lorr
Sunday 20 January 2013
Yoga in the Olympics? It's coming, if USA Yoga have their way. But before the International Olympic Committee make a decision, they might like to read this account of the life and times of one Bikram Choudhury, founder of a severely strenuous and painful form of the discipline and husband of Rajashree, USA Yoga's leading light.
Benjamin Lorr remains a devotee, and a qualified teacher, of Bikram Yoga, but it hasn't stopped him dishing the dirt on Bikram himself, characterising him inter alia as cruel, narcissistic, money-obsessed – in true guru style he owns about 40 Rolls-Royces – and more than a bit bonkers. Yet the likes of Andy Murray, David Beckham and the NBA's all-time leading scorer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar claim Bikram benefited them, and Lorr instances seemingly magical recoveries from life-threatening ailments.
Lorr's writing style can be infuriatingly fancy and self-conscious – his introduction is entitled "A Short Note on Folk Singing and the Space Between Solutions" – but among the archness is an interesting debate about the interplay of the mental and physical in life – and sport – and how learning to use mind with body, rather than mind over body, can achieve startling results.
But is yoga a sport? Having sanctioned synchronised swimming, and facing claims for the inclusion of pole dancing and sheep shearing, it's a question the IOC may have to answer sooner than later.
Published in trade paperback by Bloomsbury, £12.99
TV Jungle security stepped up after murder and 'suspicious death' near to camp
Jeff Fletcher found fame in 1990s
'At times I thought he was me'film
Review: One Direction, Fourmusic
Review: The World of Ice and Firebooks
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jungle security stepped up after murder and 'suspicious death' near to camp
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Jeremy Hunt: 'I took my children to A&E because I didn't want to wait for GP appointment'
- 4 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
- 5 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jungle security stepped up after murder and 'suspicious death' near to camp
Zoella: YouTube sensation Zoe Sugg's debut novel set to become bestseller
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs
Naked free runner captured in breathtaking photographs above London's streets
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police