Married yoga teachers Eric, 41, and Lisa Paskel, 43, have the dubious distinction of being the first team ever to get eliminated on The Amazing Race before it even began, coming up short on a needle-in-the-haystack, license-plate-finding task. "It just felt so strange because that's not what we signed on for, but it worked out for the best," Lisa tells TVGuide.com. How so? The pair subsequently went on their own "amazing adventure" and may soon be back on our TV screens with a new reality show. See what else they have to say about their short-lived stint on the series.
TVGuide.com: Your elimination was good TV, but it was unnecessarily mean. Did you have any inkling something like that would happen since there were 12 teams and they usually have 11?
Eric: I realized in one of the seasons, there were 10 teams, in all the other ones there were 11, and I think there was one other with 12, so I knew someone was going fast. I said it to Lisa as well. [I was taken aback when they told us a team would be eliminated] because I know how much time and effort we put in to be on the show and I realized that for a lot of the other contestants, this was very big for them. My heart went out to everyone because 1) I thought it would never be us in a million years and 2) I knew if it was us, we'd be prepared for it and we'd be OK. We'll move on to the next thing.
TVGuide.com: Did you feel like you deserved to travel somewhere?
Eric: Yeah, but any time you're on a show that involves elimination and drama and you need to sell that, there are always going to be twists and turns. The show, they definitely took a risk with that because they had no idea who they were going to eliminate. They probably thought, "Mostly likely it will be these guys," and we'd like to think they felt pretty bad too because they would've loved to have us on.
Lisa: We've gotten thousands of e-mails and Facebook [messages] in the last 24 hours of people just saying how we taught them so much, how to skin their knees and get back up with dignity.
TVGuide.com: You guys were really calm there.
Eric: We wake up every day and we prepare ourselves through study and yoga practices to face whatever the world is going to be like out there that day. We woke up that day, prepared ourselves and got on that bus for the Race. As big a deal as this seemed to so many people, it was no big deal for us because we have what matters. Our life is full of such wonder and goodness that it would really be disrespectful to the people we love, to the things we have, to the experiences we've been through to be caught up in not getting a freakin' license plate.
Lisa: Our bus ride was longer than our time [on the Race]! We were also standing in a very impoverished area of Los Angeles and I was thinking, "We lost the Race, but there are kids up the street right now that don't have food on the table." We live a charmed life. I came home to my beautiful children and I left with the man I love.
Eric: We were also the first team to ever leave the show too. We didn't go to Elimination Station [where eliminated teams are sequestered for the duration of production]. We took off and went to India.
TVGuide.com: You left voluntarily?
Eric: Afterward, we said, "Listen, you guys threw this at us and honestly, I don't know what else you have in store, but no, thank you. We're 20 minutes from our house and we had plans this summer, which was to go to spend time with our teacher in India." So we went there. We're not into spending three weeks somewhere and not knowing what it would be like. We had no trust that it was something that would be good for us and good for our reputation, so we took off and we wound up having the most wonderful time that we could possibly have.
TVGuide.com: What happened with the license plates? The way they edited it, it seemed like you guys, and Lance and Keri figured out the symbol at the same time.
Lisa: Eric was the only person aside from Justin that actually saw the clue on the paper. Everybody else grabbed the license plate by luck. [Keri] saw Eric show me the clue, and that's how they saw it. They made [the clue] look so bright and bold on TV, but it was just a little bit embossed and very teeny on the paper, so it was hard to see, but ultimately Eric did see it. It didn't matter anyway since everyone grabbed them by luck. In fact, they didn't show this, but we got into a tug-a-war over a license plate with the country-singing Christian couple [Mika and Canaan], and they got the plate. He pulled it out of my hand. It is what it is.
TVGuide.com: You know who wins, but do you have a favorite?
Lisa: We don't know who wins. We didn't go.
TVGuide.com: You didn't come back for the finale? Did you stay in India?
Lisa: Yeah. We just said bye-bye. But they're all great. I hope they all win.
TVGuide.com: What's next for you guys?
Eric: We're just finishing up a contract with Leftfield Pictures that is going to be producing a pilot for us called The Ordinary Gurus. It's going to be a day in the life of the Paskel family. We have four yoga studios and a fifth that will be opening in Studio City, and dozens and dozens of teachers, employees. It will be Intervention meets Work Out meets The Osbournes. ... We have an infomercial that I'm shooting in November for a DVD series I have out called Explosion.
Lisa: In the meantime, we run teaching and training. We're leaving for Michigan where we have 80 people we've been working with for the past month. We've been nonstop since then. We showed up to do the best we can on the show. Sometimes the best doesn't look how we want it to look, but it's just another experience. It's not the core meaning of life, but it's great entertainment, right?