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How to call on yoga in times of financial stress with Brent Kessel, cofounder Abacus Portfolios, a sustainable investing firm, and writer of It’s Not About the Money.
Your reaction is normal. The sage Vyasa’s commentary on the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali states, “In every creature there is a desire for self-welfare.” But when economic times are bad, remember that everything that arises in the world of form is impermanent. The impermanence of our economic well-being—which, for many of us, is synonymous with “survival”—can, of course, create a sense of freak-out. But such fears are rarely based on a present-moment experience of lack. The mind’s tendency is to extrapolate today’s minor disturbance into something much larger and more threatening tomorrow.
Experienced yoga practitioners are not necessarily immune; I have seen many a yogi and wise sage lose their cool when it comes to the possibility of financial loss, even if they are masters of equanimity in arduous asana or meditation practices. But if we know where to look, yoga gives us many tools that we can call on in times of distress.