I have been pondering writing a blog post on yoga for many months and finally decided to put fingers to keyboard today. I have had a regular yoga practice for about two years and I usually make it to the yoga mat 3-4 times a week. For me yoga is an essential reset that not only greatly benefits my health but more importantly allows me to melt away stress and experience a brief reprieve from the digital matrix most of us are trapped in throughout the day. For me yoga is an everyday practice, the only thing that changes is the form of yoga which I practice (meditation, hatha yoga, acroyoga, laughing yoga, hot yoga, etc.)
For traders and investors who are regularly spending hours a day staring at screens and often experiencing stressful situations, yoga is a delicious and welcome respite. The benefits of yoga, and having a regular yoga practice, are numerous and I'd like to share some of them with you today:
- Yoga allows me to clear my mind and hit the reset button. There is nothing more therapeutic than immersing myself in a 75-90 minute yoga class after a long day in the market.
- While practicing yoga my mind is quiet and I am disconnected from electronics - this is like your brain taking a bath for 60-90 minutes.
- Yoga has been proven to help increase concentration and focus through the practice of rhythmic, focused breathing.
- Most of us spend many hours a day sitting at a desk staring at monitors. This has been proven to be extremely unhealthy over the long run and often leads to excess weight building up around the mid-section, a major risk factor in heart disease. Yoga helps to strengthen and open tight areas of the body, and has been proven to improve spinal health. This helps to improve our posture when we are seated, in addition to improving our overall body stability.
- Stress reduction - Yoga supports us in practicing being in the moment, accessing presence. The movements in yoga also stimulate more effective blood circulation throughout the body; inversions (when the head is below the heart such as in downward dog) help to stimulate the pineal gland, thereby ensuring healthy production of melatonin and seratonin (hormones that regulate various human functions such as sleep, appetite and mood).
- Yoga helps to improve strength and stamina which can come in handy during long days which require above average levels of focus and concentration. Simply put, yoga makes your body and mind stronger.
And the list could go on but I think you get the point. This link from the University of Rochester helps to outline the benefits of yoga in more detail, in addition to offering some tips and routines to help you get started. It's also important to understand that there is no right or wrong way to practice yoga and word yoga . Moreover, there are all sorts of modifications possible for people who have significant physical limitations and injury such as chair yoga. There are also other forms of yoga such as laughing yoga (no matter how bad of a mood you are in I guarantee you will feel better after practicing laughing yoga for even ten minutes) and acroyoga (also can be called partner yoga, and involves a base and a flyer) which add an entirely different element to what most people consider to be "yoga".
I invite you to try yoga if you haven't already, figure out which type of yoga practice works for you and then commit to practicing regularly. And if you are already a yoga practitioner are you committed to having a regular practice? And are you open to trying something new like laughing yoga or acroyoga?