The Beginning of the BE ULTIMATE Podcast
Welcome to the first ever episode of the BE ULTIMATE podcast. Travis shares his inspiration and intention for launching a podcast. He provides an overview of what topics you can expect each week along with his path to finding Ultimate.
– What inspired The BE ULTIMATE Podcast
– What you can expect each week
– My personal journey (Cliff Note’s Versions!)
– The importance of Zen Beginner’s Mind
– Inspiration from Confucius and Mark Morford
– BE ULTIMATE prayer
“Stop thinking this is all there is. . . . Realize that for every ongoing war and religious outrage and environmental devastation and bogus Iraqi attack plan, there are a thousand counter-balancing acts of staggering generosity and humanity and art and beauty happening all over the world, right now, on a breathtaking scale, from flower box to cathedral. . . . Resist the temptation to drown in fatalism, to shake your head and sigh and just throw in the karmic towel. . . . Realize that this is the perfect moment to change the energy of the world, to step right up and crank your personal volume; right when it all seems dark and bitter and offensive and acrimonious and conflicted and bilious . . . there’s your opening. Remember magic. And, finally, believe you are part of a groundswell, a resistance, a seemingly small but actually very, very large impending transformation, the beginning of something important and potent and unstoppable.”
[The following is the full transcript of this episode of “The Be Ultimate Podcast.” Please note that this is direct from Travis speaking unscripted and unedited.]
Hey guys, Travis Eliot, yoga instructor, meditation teacher, and author. And I am pumped because this is the first ever episode of the Be Ultimate podcast. So thank you for tuning in. Thank you for listening.
I thought in this first episode of the podcast, we could talk a little bit about my intention, the overview, subjects and topics that we’re going to cover, and really what you can expect each week as we connect here on the Be Ultimate podcast. So I was actually a little bit late to the game of podcasts, and it really wasn’t until maybe about two or three years ago that I got into podcasts. And that was through my beautiful wife, Lauren. She was always listening to podcasts and telling me how much she really loved to learn and to engage within this format. And one day I checked it out and really knew exactly what she was talking about. Now I live in Los Angeles, and as you probably have heard, the traffic in Los Angeles can be horrid. So I would turn these podcasts on, and I’d be in traffic, and I wouldn’t even care about the traffic. I didn’t even want the traffic to let up because I would be learning stuff and feeling inspired. I was listening to podcasts like the Rich Roll podcast, the Joe Rogan podcast, the Tim Ferriss podcast, Oprah’s SuperSoul Sunday podcast, Jack Kornfield The Heart Wisdom Hour. And I could have stayed in traffic for hours and hours and hours and not even care because I was so lit up. I was so inspired.
So I’m a big fan of this format. And I haven’t really wanted to do a podcast because I’ve had so much stuff going on and I always thought that a podcast was done interview-style because those are the ones that I typically listen to. But over the last couple of years especially, I’ve heard from many of you guys, many of my students across the world that have done my yoga DVDs or online yoga that you really appreciate the commentary and the inspiration that you hear in these classes. And so I had this thought, “Why not create a podcast where, each week, I can share stories and science and quotes and strategies and techniques and just suggestions to really help you to live your ultimate life?”
That word, ultimate, means the best imaginable of its kind.
So these podcasts, I think, typically are going to be my plan about 20 minutes. And who knows if they’ll end up going longer or a little bit shorter. I’m doing this in one take. I’m not into overproducing these things. I want to keep it raw and real. And those of you that are watching on YouTube, it’s kind of like a hangout, me and you hanging out. Again, if you’re listening in your car or maybe working out or getting ready to go to school or work, you put this on and you’ll just hear these words and these ideas that hopefully make your day better and hopefully make your life better.
There’s a lot of chaos going on in the world. There’s a lot of negativity, especially if you flip on the news. But really, for every act of negativity, there’s probably thousands and thousands of acts of generosity and positivity. And I’m going to share a quote along those lines towards the end of this episode with you that really resonates for me and that I really want to share with you guys. So you can expect each week, I’ll release something. And sometimes I’ll release even more because I also want to include meditations within this podcast. So the word, ultimate, it really was inspired by my DVD set called The Ultimate Yogi, which really spread all across the world. And at the end of each class, I would tell the students to be ultimate. And this was a phrase that really caught on with all sorts of people, professional athletes, business people, moms, police officers, fighters in MMA. You name it.
That word caught on and kind of became like a slogan because within all of us, we have this drive or this yearning to really tap into our fullest, deepest potential. And that’s what ultimate it’s all about. And we’re not just talking about ultimate on a superficial level.
If you really, really want to be ultimate, it all starts in your mind and in your heart. It starts from within, and then it begins to spread outward.
So this isn’t some, superficial, asthetic meaning of ultimate. We’re talking about ultimate on all levels and within all dimensions.
I’m going to tell a little bit about my story, and I’m going to try and keep it brief. But basically, my story really has inspired me to help millions of people to also live their ultimate life. And I’ve struggled. And I haven’t been in this place where I am where– I’ve really cultivated a lot of success, a lot of victories. I’ve fulfilled a lot of my greatest goals and desires. I even exceeded that. But I wasn’t always like that. And so if you’re watching or listening and you’re thinking that Travis has always been successful, I’m here to tell you that I haven’t always been. And there is probably a lot that we actually have in common, believe it or not. And so I feel like I have something that I can share that maybe will help people. And if it’s helpful and useful and inspirational, then indulge, indulge because I’m going to be here each week. I release DVDs. I release yoga and meditation content all the time for free on YouTube, on my website, traviseliot.com, or through my company, innerdimensiontv.com. So I’m going to be here, and you are more than welcome to participate in what you want. And if it doesn’t resonate for you, then, of course, you don’t have to listen. Or if you resonate with some of it but not all of it, take what you want and leave behind what you don’t like.
I’m not here to shove something down your throat that doesn’t feel like is in alignment with where you’re at. So I just want to put that out there. And although I am a yoga instructor and a meditation teacher, if you’re not a yogi or you’re not a meditator, you can still listen and you can still, I think, benefit from a lot of what I’m going to share with you. And another reason why I wanted to do this podcast was because I wanted to reach people above and beyond just the yogis and the meditators of the world. That this information and these stories that are told are really, really universal, and they speak to all of our humanity.
Each week, we’re going to explore inspiring techniques. I want you to be able to take away things from each podcast so that you’re not just getting lip service, you’re not just hearing stuff and it’s going through one ear and out the other ear, but you really have these tangible tools, strategies, and techniques that you can incorporate immediately within your life. So we’ll cover stories. I’m also in the science. And I think we live in very, very exciting times because for so long, you’ve had this river spirituality, and then you’ve also had this river science. And these two rivers have not really been flowing together. They’ve actually been in conflict with each other until now.
Now we’re starting to see the great river of science and the great river of spirituality beginning to converge and merge together into one.
The science is confirming the spirituality, and the spirituality is affirming the science. So it’s a very exciting time to be here on planet Earth. So we’ll cover science, and we’ll cover ancient wisdom, wisdom from the different great traditions, whether that’s Buddhism or Christianity or Taoism. We’ll draw the best of the best from these ancient cultures and really what is applicable today.
So, again, I’m not really interested in the theory of this stuff or just talking about this. I’m really, really interested in the practice of them.
Confucius said, “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”
So, again, you got to do this stuff. You can’t just see it. You can’t just hear it. But you got to bring this stuff into action. So, hopefully, we’ll achieve that each week, and again, that’s why I want to bring the meditations into the podcast. So in addition to these episodes where we’re talking about certain things, you can also expect time to time for there to be just meditations included so that you can actually practice this.
So topics that we’ll cover, being a yoga teacher, obviously, I can’t help but talk about yoga. So you can expect inspiration from yoga. You can also expect inspiration from meditation and mindfulness. We’ll be talking about personal growth. What are things that you can do to grow within your life, to keep growing and flirting with your edge, testing your growing edge, so that you keep flourishing and thriving. Not just surviving in life, but I want you to thrive.
Again, I want you to live the ultimate life, and I want you to do it with an ultimate body. So naturally, we’ll be talking about health and sometimes things physical. We’ll be talking about an ultimate mind, exploring neuroscience studies that have happened within the brain, bringing the science into it. And then, also, an ultimate heart.
If you’re not able to master your emotions, if you’re not able to harness anger and harness sometimes these powerful negative emotions that take us over like a storm, then you’re not going to live an ultimate life.
So, again, this is like a holistic way of looking at personal growth, that you really look at all these different components of who you are. And also, spirituality. We mentioned the neuroscience and the health as well. So these are all topics that I’ve really dedicated my life to. These are things that fire me up. This is what gets me out of bed at night. This is what keeps me up late at night. Sometimes I like thinking about all this exciting stuff and I can’t fall asleep because I’m just passionate about these topics. And I want to share what I’m passionate about with you.
So a little bit about my journey. For those of you that don’t know and even those of you that do know a little bit, this is just kind of a little recap as to this crazy but really amazing journey that I’ve been on.
I was born in a town outside of Houston, Texas, but soon after about the age of four, I moved to a small town in North Carolina called Winston-Salem. So if anybody is from Winston-Salem, shout out to you. Hope you’re doing well. So I grew up, elementary school, middle school, high school in this town of Winston-Salem. And when I was nine years old, I was fortunate because my mom introduced me to meditation. So I would take these meditation cassette tapes. I’m that old. Yeah. So, back in the day, this would have been like, I don’t know, in the mid to late 1980s. We had cassette tapes. So I would take these cassette tapes. I’d stick it in the stereo. And they were these guided meditation. So I would listen to the instructor that was guiding. There was music. And because I was nine years old, I didn’t judge the experience. I didn’t filter the experience. I went on the journey and the ride that the instructor was leading without any sense of criticism at all.
I had these profound experiences, and this was my first taste into this world that really exists beyond the senses.
And we know that the senses are incredibly limited. We know that our eyes can only see so much on the color spectrum. We know that we can only hear so much on the sound spectrum. So all of our senses are limited. And so there’s much more than what our senses are reporting to us. And these great ancient wisdom paths, they developed these practices and these techniques to move beyond the senses so that we could access what Albert Einstein called the unified field and what modern day scientists call the quantum field.
That was like a big seed that was planted in me at a young age. But as I got older, I got into other things. I got into normal things, like girls and partying and all that stuff. But even in high school, I had this tremendous love for filmmaking. So I worked at the local news station. I worked at a public access station. I worked at the local school board station because I really loved this way of storytelling and creating stories to film. So I would be in a boring ass chemistry class, and the teacher is just rambling on and on and on and on. And I got my papers out and I’m drawing out this film set. I’m going to put a camera here and then put the lights over here and the lights over here. And I’m going to put one camera on a dolly track over here. And I lived very often in this world of imagination.
Now when I went to college, I decided to study acting. And being an actor in college– I went to East Carolina, so any ECU Pirates out there, shout out to you as well. I studied acting, and it was a way for me to really explore all of what it is to be a human and to do it in these plays and these films and within these scenes that it was safe to sometimes throw stuff and get angry or to laugh hysterically or to even emote, to sometimes cry. And a lot of these areas of myself I had really disconnected with. So the acting was really a huge part within me embracing all of my humanity. And so as I went through college, I was studying, and I also started landing gigs and commercials, Levi’s commercial, Kohl’s commercial. I started doing professional industrials. I started doing extra work on TV shows like Dawson’s Creek and all this stuff.
And funny thing, my senior year in college, I actually got a call from George Lucas’s casting director, who was looking for Anakin Skywalker. And they actually had reached out to my agent at the time to request my demo reel. And I was so excited. Here I am in North Carolina, and Hollywood’s calling. I, of course, didn’t end up getting the part, which I’m very grateful for now because I would never be on this path. But it was exciting at the time.
So right after college, I moved from Greenville, North Carolina to a place called Wilmington, North Carolina because Wilmington was a mecca for a lot of movie and television production. And I got a gig on this movie called Domestic Disturbance with John Travolta, Vince Vaughn, and Steve Buscemi. So I just graduated college, and I was hired to be a wardrobe production assistant. But soon after, I was actually promoted to become a Teamster. So here I was, fresh out of college, making all this money, getting all these benefits, worked on it for five months. And right after that production wrapped, me and two buddies of mine moved out to Los Angeles to go pursue our dreams of working in Hollywood. So I moved to L.A. And as I was doing the acting thing, I lost all my money. Right? I spent all my money. I was going out all the time, partying, doing drugs, hanging out with girls. And it was not good. I was getting a hole in my soul, and I just wasn’t happy. And I was going downhill fast. Fortunately, I had to get a job to pay the bills at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. And at the hotel, I was working in the banquets department, and this guy was talking about yoga class. So I had never been to yoga. Here I am, I’m probably like 24, 25 years old. This guy is talking about yoga and I had this crazy stigma as to what yoga is about. And it took him a year to convince me to go to a yoga class.
Eventually, I did. It was love at first sight. It was the most amazing experience. It was actually the best form of exercise I’d ever experienced because it was strange and flexibility, balance, stamina, detoxification. And then beyond that, it was also mental and emotional and spiritual. And I felt like at the end of that class, that I had been reconnected back to that kid that I was when I was nine years old. And it was a bit like a homecoming.
I had really traveled far away from who Travis is about. I had lost that connection to my authenticity, but now I was back. And I immediately, after that first yoga class, dropped all things negative and toxic. I stopped drinking. I stopped smoking. I stopped hanging out with people that were negative. And I just started moving down this path of going to yoga and meditating and eating well and taking care of myself as much as I could.
Now four months or so after I had started practicing yoga, I went on a yoga retreat. And on this yoga retreat, I had a near-drowning experience which I’m going to talk about in a later podcast. I want to just focus solely on that. But basically, I am lucky to still be here. I came very, very close to drowning and dying.
And then if that was an intense enough, a year after that, I was in Thailand when that tsunami of 2004 hit, and I witnessed the whole tsunami.
Within the span of about one year, I had two close calls with death. And as you can imagine, this really rocked my world and this really changed my life around. And this really became the unexpected experience and event from the universe that sent me down this path of teaching yoga and teaching meditation.
I went back to Los Angeles after having been in Thailand, and I started teaching yoga in this little martial arts dōjō to one, two people. And then over time, my class started to build up. I got regular classes at Santa Monica Power Yoga, owned and run by Bryan Kest. And I just kept teaching, even though I hadn’t done a yoga teacher training. I was fired up about yoga. I loved yoga. Yoga was my life. And I was just teaching from that place, sharing it. And I think people could feel that passion and that energy and that commitment to this path, and so classes really, really, really took off.
And so I built a following. I started hosting workshops. I started making DVDs. Having been a big fan of filmmaking, I brought my love of filmmaking to yoga. And I would hire my buddies to come and we’d go to a yoga studio and we’d make a DVD. And it wasn’t the best DVD in the world, but people still liked it. And so people started buying these DVDs, and it was helping them out. And then I started to travel.
I went to India because I wanted to see, you know, “Where’s all this stuff coming from?” And when I went to India, I was shocked to find that I couldn’t find one yoga studio there. Because in India, the popular forms of yoga isn’t physical yoga. It’s more of the spiritual yoga and the mental yoga, the Raja yoga or the Bhakti yoga. And it really reframed the way that I looked at this yoga stuff.
And I started leading retreats. I started teaching in places like Bali and Costa Rica and Thailand. It just took off. And the crazy thing is that it was as if I was being led down this path. When I was on that acting path, I was rising and grinding. And it felt like a grind, and it felt like I was slugging through mud. But as soon as I shifted from that path of acting to that path of being this yogi that I never expected, that I never wanted, it was like the doors were just flying open. And I still had to show up. I still had to take action. But it was as if I was being led down this path.
And then that inevitably lead to making The Ultimate Yogi, which went on to become one of the best-selling yoga DVD programs of all time. Many of you that are watching or listening, you probably are Ultimate Yogi alumnis. In many ways, that has inspired this podcast. So thank you for listening. Thank you for tuning in.
I’ve always been a musician, so I went and made a chant album where I would take mantras and put it to kind of a rock and roll format called The Meaning of Soul. That ended up debuting at number three on the world music charts on iTunes.
I started creating books. My first book, I co-authored with my lovely wife, Lauren, called Holistic Yoga Flow: The Path of Practice. I recently released my second book called A Journey Into Yin Yoga, all about yin yoga. We’ll dedicate an episode talking more about that yin yoga.
And then I created a company called Inner Dimension Media that started producing best-selling programs like Yoga 30 for 30. And we recently launched this Netflix of yoga meditation called Inner Dimension TV, where you can go and stream yoga and meditation classes. And I just released a successful program called Power Yoga GOLD, a 90 day program.
So, basically, I’ve traveled down this path where I love what I do. To me, it’s not work. To me, I love what I do. And I get to travel all around the world. In addition to the places I mentioned earlier, I get to go to places like Cambodia, Peru, Canada, all over the United States of America, Latin America, Asia, traveling all over the world, teaching yoga and teaching meditation and sharing things that bring health and happiness to people. And I get to do it with the ultimate wife. And I have two ultimate kids.
I have a family– this life is so rich and so full, and it feels ultimate. So that’s kind of why I’m here. And for whatever it’s worth, I just want to share.
So if it’s helpful, I want to share these strategies and these real tools and these inspirational stories and quotes and science, so that you too can live your ultimate life, that you too can be absolutely, absolutely ultimate!
So, again, you take what you want. You leave behind what you don’t want.
Look at this as an inspiration buffet. And you go to this inspiration buffet, and you indulge within as much inspiration as you want. And if there’s something in the buffet you don’t want, you don’t have to take it. It’s all good.
Now I also want to say– I’m a student. And we sometimes call it the Zen beginner’s mind. Even though I’ve reached a lot of success financially, spiritually and family and healthwise, I still feel like I’m a baby on this path. So I’m a student just like you, and I’ll always be a student.
Every day, I want to grow because the more that I grow, the more that I can give and the more that I can share. And the more that I can share and the more that I can give, then the more fulfilled life is. It’s not just about money in the bank. It’s not just about a nice house and stupid things like job occupations– and I learned this when I almost died. That is not the stuff that makes us happy. It’s okay if you have that, but just know that that’s not the be all, end all.
Now along the lines of being ultimate, I would like to share a quote with you from Mark Morford, who writes from the San Francisco Guardian.
Mark Morford writes, “Stop thinking the global crisis is all there is and realize that for every ongoing war or religious outrage or environmental devastation, there are a thousand counter-balancing acts of staggering generosity and humanity and art and beauty happening all over the world, right now, on a breathtaking scale, from flower box to cathedral. Resist the temptation to drown in fatalism, to shake your head and sigh and just throw in the karmic towel. Realize that this is the perfect moment to envision re-enchantment of the world to change the energy, to step right up and crank up your personal volume. Right when all seems dark and bitter and offensive and acrimonious and conflicted and bilious, there’s your opening. Remember mystery. And, finally, believe in the seeds you plant. Believe that you are part of a groundswell, a resistance, a seemingly small but actually very, very large impending transformation, the beginning of something important and potent and unstoppable.”
I hope you guys find that inspirational because that’s what this podcast is all about, man. It is about cranking up your volume. It’s about stepping up to the plate. It’s about hitting that grand slam because the world needs you to show up. The world needs you to be ultimate. The world needs you to let go the things that are bogging you down, to let go the things you’re holding on to, to let go of your resistance and your obstacles, and to be ultimate, to be ultimate in your body, be ultimate in your mind, be ultimate in your life. If you’re not ultimate, you’re being selfish. You got to be selfless.
So we are going to get into it each and every week. I hope you’re going to join me next week. I’m excited to connect with you each week to explore all things ultimate. Now let’s finish with the last little closing ritual.
“May we bring strength where there is weakness. May we bring courage where there is fear. May we bring compassion where there is suffering. And may we bring light where there is darkness. May we be ultimate!”
All right, you guys, that’s it. Episode One already in the bag. Upcoming events I want to share with you guys.
-I’m going to be in San Luis Obispo, SLO Yoga, February 15th through the 17th.
-Also excited to be coming back to Toronto, Toronto Yoga Conference, March 28th through the 31st.
-I’ll be in Columbus, Ohio at GoYoga USA, April 26th through the 28th,
-Hallowell, Maine, at Panacea Yoga, May 17th through the 19th.
-This is going to be great. We got a Portugal retreat coming up May 25th through the 31st. We only have a few more spots left. That’s almost sold out. That’s going to be phenomenal.
-And, lastly, I’ll be at the Mammoth Yoga Festival June 13th through the 16th.
So please subscribe to the podcast. Please share the video. If you’re watching on YouTube, leave me a review. Thank you for listening. Be ultimate!
Produced by Jason Reim
Opening Music by Howie Hersh
Closing Music by Ryan Richko