Is This the Greatest Yoga Video of All Time?

The truth is, we’ve had these Travis Elliot “Ultimate Yogi” videos in our sights for over a month, thanks to Babs reader, Dyspeptic Skeptic, but were never quite sure how to present them. At first it seemed like a no-brainer to put them up, since they’ve obviously got it all:

  • shoes on in a yoga “temple”
  • surfer humility
  • boy-ish excitement
  • studio sets with lots of fire
  • Gandolf hanging out teaching asana
  • reference to the number “108” as “powerful”
  • the sentence “You’ll be like a super hero”
  • copious amounts of sweat
  • hot chix
  • token old dads
  • buff hairless dudes

They’re also great examples of “yoga” in the market/commercial/just-invent-whatever-and-make-it-up-as-you-go economy. So, when I say it really felt as if we hit the jack pot, I’m not kidding. Par exemple:

Here’s one of Travis teaching….

Here’s one with a slight Indiana Jones vibe….

Here’s one with a little Japanese Zen garden flavor…

Here’s one where “Patty” practically get’s impregnated by Travis (min. 00:30 is insertion / min 01:10 is the gentle slow withdrawal)….

But, then something switched. We found ourselves really feeling for the guy. You know? Like, watching the videos we started to think that maybe ol’ Travis really cared about making people ripped and sweaty. I mean, it’s obvious he’s really excited about all this stuff. It’s like, when you watch these you’re thinking, this is what happens when you learn about something, get super excited about it too quickly, decide you’re going to take that something and reinvent it by mixing it with a bunch of other stuff you know a little bit about, and then just do it. It’s almost too genuine. Like the kid in the high school talent show who sings “Bye Bye, Birdie.”

But, we’re here to discuss yoga in its most commercial manifestations, so….

Be nice.



Sticking with this week’s “weight loss” theme, there’s also this weight loss video, only with no reference to weight loss…

…which actually reminds me more of this video for some reason:


  1. Yoga Observer

    OMG, the Matthew McConaughey of yoga videos. I particularly like when he says Aquanimity instead of Equanimity. I’m sure he’s got a billion dollar business going. Gandolf is not only his wizard but his yoga business consultant.

  2. April Gold

    this guy sounds just like Bryan Kest. he ripped Bryan off! Bryan is from michigan and so is the “aquanimity” accent and he does the rhyming thing too. is this guy trying to be Kest?!

  3. april gold

    this guy sounds just like Bryan Kest. he ripped Bryan off! Bryan is from Michigan and so is the “aquanimity” accent and he does the rhyming thing too. is this guy trying to be Bryan…who is one of the country’s best and most authentic teachers (even if he does curse and burp)? plus if you read this guy’s about page he does not mention any lineage or who he studied with, so, what, he magically appeared as a modern yogi? painful.

    • J

      He does sound a lot like Bryan Kest. He sounds a lot like Baron Baptiste, John Friend, Seane Corn, Brock Cahill, Elena Brower, Shiva Rea and for that matter practically EVERY OTHER contemporary celebrity yoga teacher who is (despite all of their protesting otherwise) trying to make a buck.

      Seriously… Bryan Kest?

      Here’s some video of “one of the country’s best and most authentic teachers”…

  4. Itstrue

    There is something so endearing about old Travis. I am thinking about what if Mr Iyengar or Mr Jois were watching Travis as he walks around the yoga temple with his eco-shoes on proclaiming ultimate yoga powers with his trusted wizard while longingly and knowingly gazing into everyones eyes.
    Also, who wants to do yoga in a zen garden sand box? Those pebbles are prickly!

  5. that is NOT a michigan accent – granted, michigan accents are nearly as silly, but that’s not it. but it IS a strange speaking cadence that anyone who practices or teaches with the kests – jonny or bryan – seems to pick up. whenever i go back to the detroit area and go to class there, all the fellas that teach there speak the exact same way. maybe it’s some sort of requirement of jonny’s teacher training.

    and i, too, find travis delightful. the wizard part – i want to magically be transported to the creative meeting where somebody said to travis, “you know what would be really great? a WIZARD teaching you yoga!” and then travis thought that sounded like a great idea.

  6. I’d rather have Sebastian Bach from back in the day over Travis, adjust me, any day.

  7. gross

    omg KILL me now! what an obnoxious voice. ewe.

  8. Em

    His teaching seems well done and authentic, and he clearly has the passion– but boy, is his delivery annoying in the vinyasa section! It’s such yoga video speak. If I had to listen to that voice for 108 days I might stab myself in the eye.

  9. gross


  10. Chai Fan

    The Indiana Jones-like one if very Jan Brady voices -in-your-head like. And then….fire…and smoke…and poses…wooooo

  11. This Travis guy is a real gem….and such a poet.
    My face hurts from watching these videos.
    Thanks for making my day Baba.

  12. Why aren’t these students smiling. It’s soooo funny:))

  13. Thaddeus

    I am going to forgo my daily “equanimity inhale” and commitment to ahimsa and declare here and now…I will fight Travis if I ever meet him. Now, granted Dumbeldore may interfere, which will complicate matters, but I think I have a realistic chance of winning.

  14. Bobcat

    Wonder how many Vids they sold. What kind of idiotic suckers would fall for Travis’s yoga infomercial. It’s good to see these bleachers in a spotlight. Before SN, EB, a whole host of Anusara and ex-Anusara teachers and now TE I thought yoga was a deeply quiet personal practice. These shallow white Barbie & Kent type image of a yoga persona really open my eyes to the twisted and marvelous yoga Disneyland. And we have Wanderlust and YJ conferences to meet these freaks!

  15. California dude all the way

  16. the moment already came

    In that second video where he’s dropping those dope rhymes, he’s also walking around like he dropped something in his pants.

  17. bryan kest to send cease and desist to this jackoff

  18. yogaweed

    too funny – the PX90 of yoga videos… “kids – what’s the matter with kids these days?” – I miss Paul Lynde

  19. Yogically speaking

    Travis reminds me of another “mate” who taught a wide range of poses in a petting zoo also steeped in ancient tradition. Steve didn’t simulate as much sexual activity perhap but he was a natural empath who combined the cuddly, the callisthenic with the kinetic for maximum fitness benefit to those in his care. If you look closely you will see cat cow, forward bending, side angle, and cactus poses all carefully demonstrated. And Steve manages to pay special tribute to Ganesh, too!

  20. Imitation must be the sincerest form of flattery.
    Too bad the style does nothing for me.
    I like someone trying to imitate Baron Baptiste better. That style, at least, seems phoned in but personal.
    Though an audio/video of topical, droll or wise-ass patter gets too old with repeated use …
    If I were to have and brand my own style, I would hate for my talk-through to be imitated.
    Demosthenes has yet to lead a yoga class ….

  21. wondering

    He never stops talking. Not for a moment. There’s no quiet, no stillness.If he blabs in Savasana I would want to scream…”relax your fucking lips.”

  22. carnyx

    You got a problem with Yoga in America…Seriously!
    Looked like a teaser for Survivor or something…

  23. Question: Does the DVD set *come* with flaming torches and a smoke machine, or must I provide those myself?

  24. jorge

    this is pure gold, love these vids. wonder who bank rolled this whole thing for him, and if they’re pissed that it hasn’t panned out in to anything. fun to think about what it must have been like behind the scenes on the set amongst all the people who are in the videos, can you even imagine!?!?! would have loved to watch it all go down….hell, i probably would have agreed to be in it! i thought i had found the new strange gem recently with this- but travis takes the cake, for sure.

  25. Peggy

    He said he was honored to be my God.

  26. __MikeG__

    Watching the intro caused a small piece of my soul to die.

  27. gross

    i keep thinking about good old travisty, and he’s growing on me. i think its the part of me that wants to nurture the runt of the pack. he does seem like he is a nice guy. oh travis, sorry to have to spoil your fun!

  28. Lalala

    I can’t beleieve this is not a parody.

  29. mrs. rolledin

    well congregations to you on this artsisan, you actually critiquered a boy

    • wondering

      congregations to you too. Are you an artsisan? You’re critiqueres are fun to read? Like a spelling puzzle…a guess the word kind of game!

  30. Pingback: Yoga Terrorists or Yoga Saviours? My Sit-down with Aghori Babarazzi. | elephant journal

  31. Pingback: R.I.P. Humility: "You Better Check Yo Self Before You Wreck Yo Self." | elephant journal

  32. Wow. The DVD set has a five star rating on Amazon. I guess there is something for everyone.

  33. Karma Kop

    Lots of hate here!
    Two thoughts…
    1. Karma coming your way
    2. I know Patty. Patty is going to kick your ass.

  34. Karma Kop

    Oh, she’s coming for you. No worries.
    And jorge, it was one amazing experience for each
    of us on that shoot- truly life changing.
    If the commenters here would get off their collective
    arses and do some of this asana me thinks their
    Negative mind sets would be happily stilled.
    Yoga DVD rated the series the best of 2012.
    Further…. Each individual DVD of the set would
    also be considered he best of 2012.
    Do put that in your bong and take a big hit.
    You are welcome. And namaste, of course.

  35. Karma Kop

    Dang, you got me hooked!

  36. jen

    Good lord, what a bunch of hateful people here. Not very yoga-like. Anyway, to the people who are saying, “OMG! He SO ripped off Bryan Kest!” – He trained with Bryan Kest, so of course there’s going to be some similarities.

    As for myself, I tried yoga many times in the past, and I flat-out hated it. Then I saw Travis’s Yoga Foundations DVD highly recommended on a fitness forum I frequent, and I decided to give yoga one more try. I found myself enjoying it for the first time. I recently started the Ultimate Yogi program (though I’m doing it every other day instead of every day as the program recommends), and I’m enjoying it. Yes, it’s cheesy in spots, but I can get past that. I feel great after finishing a workout, and that’s what counts.


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