Investment and Yoga
Investment Inspiration

Investment and Yoga│Practice for a Better Life

Although the connection may not be obvious at first, investing and the practice of yoga have a number of things in common. Finding balance is key to achieving your goals in both and, as yoga encourages us to bring mindfulness to everything in life, being mindful is a core tenet of successful investing.
In times of market stress, a mindful investor does not let emotions derail a financial plan. This is similar to the way a yogi stays on the path, no matter the obstacles. The yogi and the mindful investor have discipline in common, and that’s not all.

Here are five yogic principles that apply equally well to the investment world:

1. Set an intention

Transforming yourself in positive ways is the goal of a yogi. To get there, the first thing you’ll need to do is to set an intention, i.e., put your mind to it and commit. As an investor, it’s equally important to be committed to a goal, be it to be able to retire with enough income or to put your kids through college.

Your goal is to make wise investment decisions, so you should set an intention to always be guided by logic, taking your financial goals into account and a time frame for achieving them. These plans form the basis for creating and adjusting your investment portfolio.

2. Remember to breathe

What goes up must come down, and market fluctuations – including crashes – are part of the market cycle. When the chips are down, it’s important to stay calm and take deep breaths. Yoga itself begins and ends with the breath. The thinking is that once the breath becomes erratic, the mind follows; when the breath is still, the mind becomes clear. Mastering the breath comes before learning postures in yoga, and the same goes for investing: a calm mind should precede any action. And if you find yourself on that uncomfortable investment rollercoaster ride, remind yourself that no bear market, recession, depression or global financial crisis lasts forever – and breathe.

3. Hold that position… but don’t force it

We all know that rushing into investments at the top of the market and selling in panic at the bottom is a terrible investment strategy, but it’s easy to fall into these traps. If the value of your investment is plunging, resist the urge to sell in a panic. Do your research into the reasons behind the price drop. Are short- or long-term factors involved? Consider the pros and cons, and keep an open mind.

With an uncomfortable position, a yogi settles into it by breathing through it while observing the body. The aim is to surrender into the pose – which is not the same as giving up. Rather, being at ease with the outcome after doing your best is the goal. Don’t force the body to go beyond its limits. Similarly, while it’s hard to watch a losing investment, ride it out if the long-term outlook is favourable. If not, don’t be afraid to cut your losses.

4. It takes practice

A yogi does not expect a physical or spiritual transformation to happen overnight. It’s unrealistic to expect to master a yoga posture on the first try. So why would you expect to nail your investment choices the first time around?

To learn the art of investing, start with small allocations and choose a sector that interests you. Monitor the news, study financial reports, subscribe to relevant financial newsletters and learn as much as you can. Stay curious, and over time, you’ll hone your investment instincts and make better, more informed decisions.

5. Go with the flow

A mindful investor is flexible and knows how to go with the flow. Accept that you can never predict – let alone control – all the variables out there. Learn from your mistakes and forgive yourself. Be careful not to judge yourself based on the rise or fall in the value of your investments. Find your zen as you surrender to the flow of life. Be a yogi of investment.