Yoga of Day Trading

Day trading is a yoga practice. And that is why I love it.

As Oliver Velez writes in "Tools and Tactics," it is the agape kind of love for trading that sustains a day trader through every conceivable kind of pain.

As PL says (these are real initials, but they could also stand for Profit and Loss), trading is simple, but not easy. If it was easy, everyone could do it. What's simple are the patterns: you recognize 'em, you trade 'em. What's not easy is following the discipline. And here is where the yoga takes place.

I was reminded by Father Rossner that the Sanskrit root for yoga (yuj) is the same as the Latin root for religion (ligare), meaning to yoke or to bind. Yoga binds us to the truth of our authentic self.

I don't think "trading" has a similar etymology, I haven't checked. But it is a yoga practice, in the discipline it requires, and the reminders that every profit and loss brings: are you yoked to reality, or to fear and greed? Are you in the realm of truth or delusion?

Yesterday and today the Market has been choppy. That is not a problem, if handled correctly. The problem is, my discipline went out the door. Why? Simple. I set too wide a stop on the first trade; the loss threw me off psychologically; I then overtraded, which set up a cycle of more overtrading. Then: the Internet went down then came back and I rebooted; the vaccuum cleaner roared; I missed an entry; there was drilling outside; someone came in and asked if I wanted coffee; I hit the wrong key; something else intruded and I became distracted. Whatever.

Before I knew it, I had violated my plan and reached my daily loss limit ... no, my weekly loss limit.

Note: this is not a typical day, just a bad day. And as PL also says, you are not measured by your good days, but by how you handle your worst. There is the yoga.

And then I stepped away from the keyboard to do an intense yoga practice.

Suddenly, in the middle of a forward bend, the full emotional reality burst through system: I had hit my loss limit! There was something beneath the P&L loss, a deeper loss, a whole series of losses over time - losses from this time, maybe from other times. The point was: I had hit my loss limit. No more losses, God!

Just then the full weight of tears held back from other times came surging through to the surface. I have learned from training in energy healing and other healing arts that it takes strength, courage, to allow painful emotions to come through. It is not a weakness. We call it a release in yoga while others might attach some clinical label. My ducts did their work, and powerful emotions attached to reaching the loss limit surfaced. How could the divine have caused, allowed, whatever verb active or passive, these losses? And from grief came anger: how could the divine allow losses anywhere, of the magnitude we know as humanitarian tragedies?

An upward bow -- two fierce ones -- opening the heart skyward.

'Trading triggers' is a popular phrase, and now trading triggered and yoga released.

That is how real metaphors live in and us and we live in them. Healing is not just about spreading light -- it is about facing darkness, within as well as without. The courage is inner as well as outer.

After the release, the calm, the restorative breath. Whatever was clogging has been cleared out. More clearing to come. And back to fiscal P&L.

The Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen offers corporate legal services, litigation consultation, and expertise in health law with a unique focus on holistic, alternative, complementary, and integrative medical therapies. The law firm represents medical doctors, allied health professionals (from psychologists to nurses and dentists) and other clinicians (from chiropractors to naturopathic physicians, massage therapists, and acupuncturists), entrepreneurs, hospitals, and educational organizations, health care institutions, and individuals and corporations.

Michael H. Cohen is Principal in Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen and also President of The Institute for Integrative and Energy Medicine, a nonprofit organization exploring legal, regulatory, ethical, and health policy issues in the judicious integration of complementary and alternative medical therapies (such as acupuncture and traditional oriental medicine, chiropractic, naturopathic medicine, homeopathy, massage therapy, energy healing, and herbal medicine) and conventional clinical care. Michael H. Cohen is author of books on health care law, regulation, ethics and policy dealing with complementary, alternative and integrative medicine, including Healing at the Borderland of Medicine and Religion, Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Legal Boundaries and Regulatory Perspectives (1998), Beyond Complementary Medicine: Legal and Ethical Perspectives on Health Care and Human Evolution (2000), and Future Medicine: Ethical Dilemmas, Regulatory Challenges, and Therapeutic Pathways to Health Care and Healing in Human Transformation (2003).
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Health care and corporate lawyer Michael H. Cohen has been admitted to the Bar of California, Massachusetts, New York, and Washington D.C. In addition to qualifying as a U.S. attorney, he has been admitted and to the Bar of England and Wales as a Solicitor (non-practicing). For more information regarding the law practice of attorney Michael H. Cohen, see the FAQs for the Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen. Thank you for visiting the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Law Blog.