Yoga & Its Benefits For Forex Trading
When it comes to forex trading, we all know how important it is to keep your emotions properly in check. Leading with your heart instead of your head will only get you into trouble later down the line and it can be very hard to make rational well thought-out decisions that adhere to your trading strategy when you’re impassioned over something.
Controlling your emotions is certainly easier said than done when trading currency pairs and the good news is that you’re by no means alone if you are struggling in this regard. Even professional traders can find it hard to keep a lid on it when it’s necessary, so if you are new to the trading game, don’t worry too much about it.
There are lots of ways you can start to build up emotional resilience and strength so that when something does happen, you have the skills and experience you need to fall back on, helping you to steer clear of potential trouble.
For example, coming up with a robust trading strategy based on your analysis of the markets is a great first step to take, as this will allow you to devise different ways to approach certain situations and scenarios, knowing when to stick and when to twist.
Take this as an opportunity to also come up with some golden rules for yourself, such as getting out after a series of three wins or three losses, which will help ensure that you continue to trade consistently and without bringing emotion, positive or negative, into the equation when making decisions.
But there’s something else you could consider giving a go if you really want to master your emotions so you can trade lucratively… and that’s yoga.
Emotional management is an essential skill if you’re to be a successful trader, allowing you to react to everything in a much more constructive manner.
You can develop these skills in a variety of different ways, such as journaling (which is recommended for traders, in any case) or breathing exercises… which are especially effective for emotional regulation during times of excitement or stress.
A lot of yoga practice is focused on the breath and becoming more aware of your breathing and the associated sensations is a really effective way of anchoring yourself in the present moment, which in turn helps to calm and quieten the mind.
This gives you the time and space you need to absorb and adjust to what’s happening externally so you’re better able to approach it in a more rational frame of mind in the future.
But it’s not just the mental health benefits you can enjoy with yoga. Engaging in more physical activity and getting more exercise will only serve you in good stead when trading, allowing you to get rid of any tension that may have built up in your muscles over the day, as well as any pent-up aggression or stress you may be feeling.
Traders often find themselves hunched over their desk or staring at a screen for prolonged periods of the day, so this kind of exercise can help you work out any niggles or aches and pains you might be experiencing.
What’s great about yoga is that it’s a win-win and you’re able to enjoy both the mental health benefits and the more physical ones at the same time, helping you to keep your focus and continue to trade with a positive outlook and the best mindset for success.
If you’re new to yoga and aren’t sure where to start, here are some beginner poses and techniques you could try, either at home or in the gym.
This is an essential yoga pose to familiarise yourself with. It’s actually a rest pose and you can use it whenever you need to if some of your other more difficult or taxing poses start to feel uncomfortable.
Child’s pose is really easy to do and is an effective way to relax your nervous system. All you need to do is kneel on your mat with your toes tucked beneath you, then lean forward and stretch your arms across the mat in front of you, lowering your glutes towards your feet.
Rest your stomach comfortably on your thighs and let your forehead fall forward to gently touch the mat. In this position, you’ll find that your spine, thighs, hips and ankles enjoy a gentle stretch. It can help you calm the mind, reduce tiredness and anxiety and help increase blood circulation to the head.
Cat and cow is a really lovely flowing pose to try, helping you with the mobility in your back – which is great for traders, since you’ll often find yourself sat at a desk in front of your laptop.
To try this one out, kneel down on the mat and place your hands below your shoulders, pushing gently through the mat with your fingertips and palms so you feel well supported. Keep your spine neutral and your abs engaged.
Take a big deep breath in and, on the exhale, round your spine so it extends towards the ceiling, while tucking your chin towards the chest so you release your neck.
When you breathe in, arch your back and relax your abs while lifting your head and sending your tailbone upwards. Move slowly and follow your breath, making sure you only move within your comfortable range of motion.
There are all sorts of health benefits associated with this particular yoga pose, including improved posture and balance, strengthening of the spine and neck, improved coordination, stress relief and a greater sense of emotional balance.
This is one of the most well-known and most popular yoga poses of them all and it’s a brilliant way to give your back, arms, shoulders and hamstrings a good stretch… although you’re sure to feel it throughout your entire body!
To do it, get down on the mat on your hands and knees, with your palms just past your shoulders and the fingers pointing forwards. Position your knees so they’re below your hips, then lift the hips and press your palms down into the mat so you form a V-shape with your body.
Keep your feet hip-width apart and hold the pose, focusing on your breath as you inhale and exhale. On the exhale, gently draw down with your heels so that they’re closer to the mat – but don’t overdo it and make sure you stay within your range of motion. If you feel any twinges, relax out of the pose and don’t push yourself any further than that.
If you can’t reach your heels to the floor, it suggests that your hamstrings are too tight and you should never try to force yourself into any yoga pose, as this could result in injury if you’re not careful. Always make sure that you listen to your body when practising yoga!
As well as strengthening your upper body and elongating your spine, downward dog also helps you build strength in your hands, wrists and fingers, as it’s a weight-bearing posture. From a mental health perspective, you may find that this pose relieves feelings of anxiety and depression, stress and any mental fogginess you may be experiencing.
If you’re feeling a little stronger and want to try something a bit more challenging, the Warrior I pose is a great place to start.
This pose will really help you focus on the alignment and positioning of your body – and focusing so intently on what you’re doing physically will really help you clear your mind of any and all troubles you may be experiencing on the trading floor.
Start in downward-facing dog (see above!), then step your right foot forward so the toes are in line with the fingertips. Bend the front knee 90 degrees so your thigh is parallel to the floor and your knee is stacked above the ankle. Then pivot your back foot so it’s at 45 degrees to the side of the mat, making sure your feet are placed so you feel nice and stable.
Keeping the back knee straight, extend your arms up so that the hands are shoulder-distance apart and the palms face each other. Squeeze the shoulder blades together and down, lifting your chin to gaze at your hands. Hold the pose, then repeat on the other side.
Physically, this pose will help you strengthen your legs and upper arms, as well as stretching the muscles around the hips and helping you improve your balance and core strength.
Of course, these are just four beginner poses to try and there are countless others that you might find useful as you become more experienced as a yoga practitioner. You may also find it beneficial to join a yoga class, however, since it can be difficult to progress on your own and you may not be doing the poses in such a way as for them to be most effective.
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