Yoga and mindfulness might seem like the opposite of the mental and emotional intensity that often comes with investing, yet these practices have parallels that may be useful to building wealth.
Meditation is a technique for resting the mind and attaining a state of consciousness different from the usual waking state. It allows the mind to focus on something other than events around us. Similarly, Hatha yoga is a practice aimed at caring for the body and mind, helping us to develop focus, patience and calmness.
“I think that mindfulness definitely informs how we feel about our investments,” says Kathryn Mandelcorn, B.C.-based certified money coach, financial management advisor and director of cash flow strategies at Spring Financial Planning. Practicing mindfulness helps us manage reactions to the things that life throws at us — which can apply to our financial situations as well. So, the next time you’re in yoga class, consider whether some of these popular asanas (postures) might help with your investment process.
Warrior 1 & 2: Aim for your goals
“If you’re really clear on why you’re investing and that these choices are in alignment with your values, then outside noise becomes less scary,” says Mandelcorn. With investing, as with yoga, it’s important to understand your values and purpose. If you’re only attending class or investing in something because your neighbour or colleague is doing so, you’re more likely to be pulled off track by day-to-day financial news. In yoga terms, you can think of your investment philosophy as your “financial dharma”.
Downward Dog: Know when to pivot
Start with a plan based on what your goals are and what’s important to you right now, but check-in from time-to-time so you can adapt that plan when your life or goals change in a significant way, says Mandelcorn.
“To me, mindfulness or yoga is meeting yourself where you’re at right now and not trying to put pressure on yourself to be at a certain place.” Ask yourself, ‘what do I need to do to adjust in this space right now?’
Tree: Think Long-Term
“With investing, as with yoga, we have milestones and goals that we’re trying to reach. We may get to retirement, but even in retirement we’re still investing. There’s never a final destination,” says Mandelcorn.
Headstand: Try a different perspective
If you’re uncomfortable and stressed about your investments, ask yourself whether you need to change the plan. And don’t be afraid to seek support when making those choices. “We’re in a silo with our thoughts. Checking in with a financial professional or whomever you need to will ensure you’re not making impulsive decisions based on fear,” says Mandelcorn.