Jason Nemer – Inside the Magic of AcroYoga (#182)

Jason Nemer

“If I had to prescribe two things to improve health and happiness in the world, it’s movement and play.” – Jason Nemer

My guest on this episode of the podcast is Jason Nemer (@jasonnemer), co-founder of AcroYoga.

Jason is an incredible character, who travels the world with next to nothing. He introduced me to my latest obsession — AcroYoga.

Along with Gymnastic Strength Training, I’ve been doing AcroYoga — and I think about doing it all the time. AcroYoga is closer to partner acrobatics: Cirque du Soleil routine meets sensual-but-not-sexual contact.

Even if you have no interest in doing AcroYoga yourself, there are many takeaways and recommendations in this episode that can benefit your life. And for those of you that are interested, we even do a couple of video demos, which can be found here. But don’t feel like you need to step away from the purely audio experience of this podcast to follow along.

Incidentally, the video was recorded at CreativeLive, my favorite place to learn online. I’ve taken hundreds of courses there, but the one I’ll recommend is Six Months to Six Figures by Peter Voogd.

Enjoy the show!

You can find the transcript of this episode here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#182: Jason Nemer - Inside the Magic of AcroYoga

Want to hear another podcast on fitness and training from a world-class coach? — Listen to my conversation with Pavel Tsatsouline. In this episode, we discuss the science of strength and the art of physical performance (stream below or right-click here to download):

Ep 55: The Science of Strength and Simplicity with Pavel Tsatsouline

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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Selected Links from the Episode

  • Connect with Jason Nemer:

AcroYoga International | YouTube | Instagram | Twitter | Website

Show Notes

  • What are we drinking? [06:52]
  • How Jason and I met, and my first exposure to AcroYoga. [07:30]
  • The origins of AcroYoga (and some of its benefits I’ve enjoyed so far). [09:34]
  • The categories of sport acrobatics. [13:43]
  • The dark side of competitive acrobatics. [17:01]
  • The surrender component. [18:41]
  • Beginner AcroYoga basics. [21:26]
  • Freakish hip mobility in action. [29:28]
  • Alleviating lower back pain. [30:36]
  • Why you don’t see a lot of 100-year-old gymnasts. [31:39]
  • Jason talks about people who have trained and inspired him. [32:16]
  • The meeting of two masters. [34:11]
  • What is the handstand approach? [38:44]
  • The cross-pollination of different physical disciplines. [40:34]
  • What is Shadow Yoga? [41:55]
  • Bone stacking and handstand ATB: Alignment, Tightness, and Balance. [45:29]
  • How Japanese gymnasts dominated the ’70s. [50:00]
  • ATB demonstration. [52:03]
  • Some of the most common AcroYoga mistakes. [56:11]
  • Other teachers and mentors who have had an impact on Jason. [59:35]
  • Things about the modern yoga world that drive Jason crazy. [1:03:45]
  • Acrobatic flying demonstration. [1:08:42]
  • The challenges of connecting through microangles. [1:12:42]
  • About handstand rigs, dream machines, and power levers. [1:14:38]
  • Jason tells us how Maurice Ravel’s Bolero and the life of Albert Einstein inspire his attempts to arrive at a Unified Field Theory of AcroYoga. [1:20:33]
  • The drawbacks of competitive athletics vs. the benefits of recreational athletics. [1:23:10]
  • One of Jason’s definitions of an advanced practitioner. [1:27:27]
  • How the meta learning section of The 4-Hour Chef can help you develop skills to transfer to other skills. [1:28:22]
  • How participating in every role leads to understanding and compassion in AcroYoga. [1:29:38]
  • The benefits of combining acrobatic flying with therapeutic flying. [1:31:03]
  • How Hatha Yoga aims for a 50/50 balance between feminine and masculine energy. [1:32:13]
  • The Princess Bride method turns out to be inconceivable. [1:33:21]
  • Who Jason thinks of when hearing the word “successful.” [1:35:06]
  • Books Jason has gifted most. [1:37:34]
  • Jason is constantly traveling. What does he bring with him? [1:39:00]
  • That time Jason smuggled throwing knives into Bali. [1:41:40]
  • Is frisbee golf a real sport? [1:42:12]
  • Purchase of $100 or less that has had the biggest positive impact on Jason’s life. [1:44:03]
  • How Jason practices the philosophy of Svaha. [1:44:16]
  • What does Jason believe that other people think is insane? [1:45:17]
  • Why Jason calls losing everything he owned (including the van where he was living) “really amazing.” [1:46:45]
  • Jason tells a story I’ve never heard before. [1:48:03]
  • What Jason’s billboard would say. [1:50:20]

People Mentioned

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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27 Replies to “Jason Nemer – Inside the Magic of AcroYoga (#182)”

  1. Very intrigued by the Peter Voogd course. If anyone reading this has taken it, would you let me know your thoughts?

  2. Thank you for this episode Tim!

    I love all the content “on the edges” – my mind gets so much joy out of those episodes.

    I loved all the gymnastics, yoga, body development and mastery advice and “secrets”. The concepts of alignment, fluidity of energy in the body instead of stiffness, flexibility AND strength combined. – I’ve been practicing different body/mind disciplines since I was a kid and find lots of correlations between what I learned from my practice and everything James and you talked about.

    I have a question not really related to most of the stuff on the podcast but related to everything.

    From my experience I learned that our body is as flexible, open and “mastered” as our mind is. And although body can influence the mind, the mind (not talking about physical organ – brain here but about consciousness behind everything) the mind is much more powerful to change anything physical, like our body, – and our body is the best school to experiment since it’s connected intimately to our mind.

    So, the question.

    Have you ever met a real mystic, master, reality-bender in your life?

    They come in many forms but I’m curious about the ones who can change physical reality right in front of your eyes? Or can do things physically that by all “laws” of reality they were not supposed to be capable of doing?

    Of course one must be ready to see what the master has to show but I’m curious, have you met any? Heard of?

    This is the area I’m mostly interested in and working on right now – reality bending 🙂

    And that’s what I believe yoga masters at the highest level are masters of.

    One doesn’t need to “sweat” in the physical world much once one masters the mind.

    I’ve been into that stuff since I was a kid. Fascinating.

    PS I wasn’t on any drug writing it 🙂

  3. “If I had to prescribe two things to improve health and happiness in the world, it’s movement and play.” – Jason Nemer

    Yesss! I haven’t listened to the episode yet but had to say that I love that quote. Play and movement are certainly two of the ingredients that most of us have lost due to our domestication. Thankfully other vital ingredients that we’ve lost (such as being part of a tribe and connecting to nature) tend to come back once we start to (re-)discover ways to move and play.

  4. Great podcast — I listened to it on my way to Active Release today (inspired by you of course) and now I can’t wait to watch the video.

    I was kicking myself when I heard about Athletic Playground in Emeryville as we were just in the Bay Area for 10 days and our hotel was in Emeryville (aside: the Hyatt House there has the best unknown happy hour in the Bay Area. $3 for craft beer from 5-7).

    During our trip I was walking around SF looking out for random sightings of you or Kelly Starrett, which can probably clue you in on how often I listen to your show! That would have beaten Yosemite and the Redwoods for coolest part of the trip. haha

    Keep up the great work Tim, I greatly appreciate all you do. I just finished up Coach Sommer’s Fundamentals course today and am looking forward to moving on to Foundations. There doesn’t seem to be AcroYoga in the Richmond, VA area now, but I’ll be the first in line when it comes here.

  5. Hi Tim,

    Love your podcasts : have been listening for ’bout 6 months now. Have read books and bought products that you recommend. Lost 15 pounds the ketogenic diet.


    But hey, I just realized that approximately 98% of your guests are male : is that a fluke or is it voluntary ?

    Kind regards,

    Caroline Phillips

  6. Hi Tim, I’ve noticed you showing off some of your favorite possessions on your Instagram, would you be interested in doing that on my publication Minimums? We feature the most prized possessions of the world’s most interesting people.

  7. I agree … there’s too much ill done by not moving around. As a digital nomad, I get a lot of physical activity, but when I didn’t, my back suffered for it!

  8. Hi Tim,

    I was not sure if this was the best way to contact you in regards to learning more about Ayahuasca retreats, but I figured this was worth a shot.

    I will be in Cusco, Peru this December doing some volunteer work and self reflecting and am looking into Ayahuasca retreats while I am there. You all had mentioned it is most important to find a Shaman with high integrity of his/her practice and I want to make sure I am going about this in the safest way possible and seeing as I am a female, this is my top priority.

    If you do not mind, could you please send me recommendations on the safest/top rated Ayahuasca retreats in Peru? I would greatly appreciate it.

    All the Best,


  9. As a woman, this photo makes me very uncomfortable. It depicts a faceless woman in a compromised position, surrounded and touched by three men. And then the activity is described as having “sensual” contact. Ugh. No thanks. I always knew this podcast and blog was from a purely male POV but this is just too much.

    1. it’s interesting you felt that from this photo. If I were a female wanting to try this out, I think I would prefer to have men making sure I don’t fall, rather than women. Also, maybe she was just the lighter one’s of the group. Or maybe, she was the only one who felt comfortable enough to demonstrate. There’s always more than one side to it 🙂

  10. Tim Ferris. The ultimate challenge. Stand up comedy. Do it well.. Open for chris d’elia or a comic thats hot right now and kill it. Measure killing it and accomplish that. Love you man. I have been reading and rereading 4 hr wrk wk for 3 years and it is my bible. Cheers. Your the man. Cant fucking wait for your show!

  11. Hey everyone – just wondering, do you know of any facebook groups consisting of people who’ve read the 4-hour Work week?

    If yes, I would really appreciate you pointing me (and other people interested of course) in that direction.

    Have a great day!

  12. Hey Tim and all you other amazing web folk!

    I’m an undergrad student currently conducting research on the effects of mindfulness meditation. I’m curious if you have one major question or activity you’d like to have systematically studied dealing with its effectiveness. Currently, I’m thinking of looking into memory, altruism, productivity, and cognitive function, but you’re the expert so I figured I might as well try and see if you had any burning questions.

    If you or anyone else has an idea, please just let me know. Thanks so much! You guys are the best!


    p.s. I know this has not much to do with this particular podcast, but I didn’t know where else to reach you so it’ll have to work =)

  13. Hi Tim, you seem to have some pull with audible. I was thinking it be great if they could add scrolling text on screen to optionally following along as you listen. It would help increase your word-per-minute consumption especially with the speed mode amped up. An added bonus on top of just the content of the audio itself. Keep up the great work.


  14. Anybody else skeptical of Jason’s claim about the shadow yoga master who was ‘metabolizing’ his own breath? So, the guy doesn’t need to exhale carbon dioxide? I find this very hard to believe.

    I know in martial arts, especially Chinese internal arts, there is a lot of ‘woo woo’ and dubious claims about the powers masters have acquired. I suspect there is a lot in yoga as well, and this sounds like one of them.

    Disappointed to see this sort of claim go unchallenged.

    1. I did not see this Zander perform this breathing technique, I have never met the man. The videos you can find on YouTube I think will show you that he is not woo woo. He is the real deal and there are many things I have seen first hand from masters that are not easily explained. When someone becomes a master they can do things that are mind bending. I appreciate your question and like I said I was not there so I can not debate it

  15. Thought this episode was great, thank you. Am curious what book about Buddhism Jason was reading after his van was stolen; the one that said something about homelessness? Thanks!

  16. Hi – my name is Annette and I have been following your podcast for about 1 1/2 years now – in case you might be looking for a VERY interesting person to interview – who would certainly be able to give fantastic podcast – I would suggest Geshe Michael Roach – American Buddist Monk, Princeton Graduate and Bestselling Author of (amongst others) the Diamond Cutter, The Garden and The Essential Yoga Sutra. All the best and good luck for your future ventures!!

  17. Hey Tim, Acro Yoga is great for all the reasons you mention. But I’m also wondering if you’ve looked into Contact Improvisation (dance)? It’s a fantastic way to play with contact, flow, following and leading. Another great way to really engage in that oh-so-important human touch. Lots of great videos on YouTube. (Gonna try to post one here… )

    Thanks for reminding me on a regular basis how awesome life can be. Cheers!

  18. I really valued hearing Jason’s comments on the Yoga community and Tim on just how hard it is to hack surfing (99% paddling…that’s what we get addicted to too….just moving around in the ocean, with no results..!). Perhaps the most powerful takeaway for me was learning that Ravel’s Bolero is a study of sequencing, and so tool in that sense. I look forward to reflecting back to that in the future.