Want to be more financially secure? Do yoga.
I'm serious. Yoga helps keep us from being run ragged by our emotions. It teaches us to breathe when the going gets tough and reduces our stress and anxiety.
And once we've got our emotions under control, we can make smarter decisions about our finances -- and about the rest of our lives.
"Once you get emotional on any topic, you're probably going to make mistakes," TD Ameritrade CEO Joe Moglia cautions.
Some of this I've learned from experience. I'm a certified financial planner by day and a yogi by dawn. For 17 years, I've started my mornings at 5:30 with a two-hour practice of the ancient Ashtanga system of yoga postures. As I've gone from the yoga studio to client meetings, I've noticed that conventional financial wisdom doesn't work for the great majority of people.
Below, I've outlined a few yoga-based tips for getting your finances in focus. But first let me explain why yoga matters in the first place.
Our cultural norms tell us it's all about the money -- that more money will bring us the freedom to stop worrying and just enjoy life. We are told to spend less, to save more, to find the perfect career or even to think positive thoughts that will create the abundance we want. We set goals, create budgets, put the right insurance in place, write updated wills and estate plans, and invest as told.
But these actions, though important, aren't enough because they approach money from the outside in, rather than from the inside out. There is an implicit assumption that something must change "out there" in order to be happier "in here."
This is where yoga comes in. My book, "It's Not About the Money," shows people how yoga's self-awareness tools can improve their financial lives. Instead of telling us to change our external behaviors, yoga helps us understand what's going on inside us. It helps us gain a better understanding of who we are, why we behave in certain ways when we're stressed or anxious and what the root causes of our suffering are. Studies already tell us that yoga can help sufferers cope with back pain, multiple sclerosis, insomnia, cancer, heart disease and even tuberculosis. This same awareness also can help us tremendously when we apply it to our finances.
Here are four yoga-inspired recommendations to help put your mind over your money matters:
1. Create balance
Whether we hoard, splurge or give it all away, most of us perpetually repeat ineffective patterns of financial behavior simply because we are used to a particular