When yogis Lauren Eckstrom and Travis Eliot met early into their respective practices, they recognized each other as kindred spirits. Today, over six years later, they’ve worked on countless projects together, including the creation of the original series, Journey to Yoga: 10 Days of Connection and Yoga 30 for 30.
Now, as they bask in the launch of their new online wellness platform, Inner Dimension TV (which boasts 23 new yoga and meditation classes), Lauren asks Travis to paint a picture of his journey from then to now:
Lauren Eckstrom: Travis, can you talk about your journey as a pioneer in the yoga movement and how you came to this path?
Travis Eliot: I always think of my spiritual path beginning at the age of 9, when my mom gave me books and tapes on meditation. That experience opened me up to a world that exists beyond the five senses. Many years later, in my mid 20s, after having been swept up in destructive behavior related to alcohol and partying, I was dragged to a power yoga class in Santa Monica. It was love at first sight! I practiced yoga as much as possible.
Soon after, I attended a yoga retreat and had a near-death drowning experience in Kauai. A year after that, I was in Thailand and experienced the devastating tsunami of 2005. These events awakened me to the purpose and meaning of life. We are all here to grow and to give. I took a vow to spread the teachings of yoga and meditation to as many people as possible. Over the years, that has unfolded through live classes, retreats, teacher trainings, books, DVDs, CDs, digital programs and now our new monthly platform, Inner Dimension TV!
LE: You’ve created yoga programs that reach people across the globe, making yoga accessible and simultaneously spiritual, athletic and transformative. How have your programs changed people’s lives for the better?
TE: One of the greatest things about traveling and teaching is hearing people’s stories. A couple of years back, there was a beautiful lady who took us aside and shared how she was on the verge of killing herself. But somewhere within that deep despair, she heard the voice of hope and wisdom. She soon found one of my yoga programs and attributed it to saving her life. She now teaches yoga and has a beautiful daughter and amazing husband.
Last week, I had guy in my class at Santa Monica Power Yoga visiting from New York. He came up to me before the start of the class with a mile wide smile across his face and said, “I just want to thank you for your The Ultimate Yogi program because it saved my life!” He went on to tell me his story of how he was an alcoholic and 200 pounds overweight. He said the yoga completely turned his life around and now he is studying to become a neurosurgeon!
In a couple of weeks, we are going to teach yoga and meditation in the Maine State Penitentiary. Our administrative contact who set this up notified us of an inmate who has a special request during our upcoming visit: Apparently, while in prison, he was practicing with my yoga regularly. One day, he was put into solitary confinement and severely restricted which included his yoga practices. He expressed that during this horrible time, the only thing that saved him was what he had learned from the yoga practices. Even though the physical yoga had been taken away from him, its deeper lessons had carried him through. As Gandhi said, “You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind.”
LE: For people who don’t know, why don’t you describe Inner Dimension Media and our vision and mission for this new platform?
TE: The vision of Inner Dimension Media is to create innovative digital yoga and meditation programs, books and music that inspire the world. Our new platform, Inner Dimension TV, is a monthly streaming platform that provides thematic power yoga, meditation, yin yoga, restorative yoga, gentle yoga, yoga basics and pranayama, produced with cinematic detail. This new platform will also host classes from our globally successful programs Yoga 30 for 30, and Journey to Yoga. You can also find other transformative programs like Meditation 101 and Yoga for Beginners. Classes range from 10 to 60 minutes, so there really is something for everyone! Also, we believe in giving back and will be donating 10% of our profits to revolving charities like environmental protection, hunger, women’s education and social justice.
LE: Now that we’ve brought it to life, what impact do you envision Inner Dimension Media making on the lives of its community members?
TE: I hope that we can provide content that is inspiring, meaningful and accessible. I want people to finish one of our Inner Dimension TV classes feeling strong, empowered, clear, calm and motivated to share their talents and gifts with the world!
LE: How do you Live the Process each day?
TE: I think Jay-Z said it best: “Don’t go with the flow, be the flow.” In other words, I'm trying to be the process instead of living the process. When you let go of the small self, then you allow the big self to unfold through you. So often we try to control the process and things we have no control over. You know what this is called? It’s called “rope burn”! The deeper I've moved down this path, the more I've learned to let go of the rope!