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Where Yoga Gets Crazy

We’ll explore the body and mind-bending world of competitive yoga.

Yoga teacher Kyoko Katsura demonstrates standing bow puilling, one of the poses that could be seen during the National Yoga Asana Championships in New York, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012. Katsura will be a competing in the national competition which will take place from March 2-4 in New York City. (AP)

Yoga teacher Kyoko Katsura demonstrates standing bow puilling, one of the poses that could be seen during the National Yoga Asana Championships in New York, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012. Katsura will be a competing in the national competition which will take place from March 2-4 in New York City. (AP)

Yoga has become a big deal in America.  Everywhere you turn, it seems, there’s somebody with a yoga mat.  On their way to class.  To sweat and bend and get centered.  Limber.  Some say alive.  One of those “come to yoga” acolytes was Benjamin Lorr.  He went from chubby mess to yoga svelte.

And then on – to competitive yoga. Yes, there is competitive yoga.  His was hot, Bikram-style.  He found a lot of pain there.  And some joy.  And a lot of insight into the world of yoga.

This hour, On Point:  the body and mind-bending world of extreme yoga.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Benjamin Lorr, author of Hell-Bent: Obsession, Pain, and the Search for Something Like Transcendence in Competitive Yoga.

Cynthia Wehr, USA YOGA winner 2005 and 2007.

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times “How many times have you found yourself clicking through a slide show about someone who has lost lots of weight? In the last one I saw, a woman who lost 160 pounds took a picture every 20 pounds or so. The images were riveting, even though it often looked as if she were standing in a closet under a fluorescent light, her hair stringy, her face un-made-up. The human body amazes — both in its grotesqueness and beauty. Today, physical transformation is the stuff of reality TV shows; a century ago, it was the foundation of Bernarr Macfadden’s media empire. His flagship magazine, True Story, published readers’ accounts of miraculous weight loss. And the miracles rarely stopped at the shedding of pounds: health and vitality were regained, marriages reinvigorated, purpose found.”

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