How Yoga Can Help Your Trading

02/12/2015 6:00 am EST

Focus: STRATEGIES

Michael Bellafiore

Author, One Good Trade: Inside the Highly Competitive World of Proprietary Trading

Veteran trader Mike Bellafiore, of SMB Capital, outlines how yoga relates to trading and how it helped him alleviate trading stress and learn to cope with the inevitability of losing trades. Plus, he shares an introductory video for traders who have trepidations about starting that first pose.

We sit too long as traders leaving our bodies stiff, inflexible, and drunk with stress. We can find best practices to alleviate these mental and psychical states that are not optimal for our best trading. One way is with yoga stretches that I have found very helpful.

As I get older, I rise from after the opening session around 11:00AM feeling funny tweaks and body tightness. I can’t help but think a stiff body leaves traders more stressed and in a less desirable state to make trade decisions. Not to mention you just don’t feel that great.

During days when I lift and do cardio, I have been experimenting with the exercises below. They have left me calmer, more flexible, and centered with my thinking.

Many of us have heard about the benefits of yoga but do not know where to start. Benefits such as:

  • reduced stress
  • sound sleep
  • reduced cortisol levels
  • improvement of many medical conditions
  • allergy and asthma symptom relief
  • lower blood pressure
  • smoking cessation help
  • lower heart rate
  • spiritual growth
  • sense of well-being
  • reduced anxiety and muscle tension
  • increased strength and flexibility
  • slowed aging process

More specifically to our work as traders, yoga adds the benefits of increased productivity, enhanced memory, and stress reduction.  Where did that stock breakout from again?  How did I miss that stock?  Why didn’t I review those charts before the open?  Why am I so tense during this trading session?  Apparently, yoga can help with this.

Yoga can help us deal with the inevitable losing trades argues this trader.

Yoga helps us perform better.  Remember, too much stress harms performance as this article explains. If pressure is too high or too low then our trading performance will suffer.

I remember the first and only yoga class I went to with Steve Spencer, Co-Founder of SMB Capital. The instructor came over to me during one pose and asked, “Why are you sitting this pose out?” I thought I had been doing the pose.  I was certainly trying as hard as I could to do it.  Apparently, I was so bad she thought I was resting. So starting can be intimidating for some. The video below is a great place for you to start and see if yoga is worth further pursuit for your trading.

By Mike Bellafiore of SMB Capital

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