20 Mar How Yoga Helped Me Become A Better Trader
There are many ways to establish an upper hand in trading, whether it be from a technical perspective or from a psychological viewpoint. One of the practices that I have relied upon to become a better trader is yoga. Growing up in Vancouver, BC, I was exposed to a yoga rich culture where it was regularly promoted and viewed as a way to improve calmness and focus.
Before I started yoga, the main way I would deal with any stress while trading was to go for a Japanese Shiatsu at least once a week. However, in 2005 a good friend introduced me to yoga and I started practicing it on a regular basis. It wasn’t long before I was hooked. Not only did I thrive off the stress relief it provided, but the meditative benefits were something I cherished. In particular, I have always preferred yoga that is practiced in a hot, sauna like room – Hot Hatha Yoga or Bikram Yoga are two specific versions I enjoy.
I’m not alone in endorsing yoga, with many bankers, traders and executives on Wall Street viewing it as a way to remove their doubts and negativity, relieve stress, improve their alertness and efficiency, while ultimately giving them an advantage over their peers. From Goldman Sachs who offer onsite classes, to individuals like Steve Doll from Cowen & Co., the practice has become very popular. But what specific benefits does it provide?
Flexibility – in my opinion, this is one of the most important benefits. Since trading is more often than not a ‘desk job’, hot yoga allows you to expand your flexibility and act as a therapeutic exercise to help heal the body or prevent the onset of potential injuries.
Focus – to me, focus is equally as beneficial as flexibility. The routine associated with hot yoga is one that ensures you practice your concentration levels, something that will no doubt serve you well in your ability to maintain composure while trading.
Strength – training muscles that you don’t use regularly is a great way to maintain a healthy equilibrium.
Detox – by sweating and engaging in certain postures, you’re allowing your body to detox.
Cardio and Breath – a hot environment creates the same strain on your body than running might, so when practicing yoga and particular postures, you are not only building up your cardio strength but you’re losing calories too. Similarly, you will learn to regulate your breathing patterns.
If you’ve never tried yoga before, I would highly recommend that you join a class in your city. I’ll see you at the mat!