Keep your focus on your mat. Don’t push past your edge. Try to find a point of focus. You may have heard these teachings during your yoga practice. But what would happen if you applied these lessons to your finances?
Time spent on your yoga mat is a perfect way for you to connect with and build your self-awareness—and even your relationship with money.
When it comes to your finances, the key to managing your money well is to manage yourself well. If you can create awareness of your current beliefs, habits, and behaviors with money, you can then develop a more conscious and intentional practice with your money. Below, five simple lessons from the yoga mat that anyone can apply to their finances.
“The future depends on what we do in the present.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Yoga teaches us to remain present on the mat so that we can learn to remain present off the mat. Being present is the ability to tune into this very moment, no matter how difficult or what distractions are going on.
Being present with your finances requires you to make an honest assessment of your current reality with money. It involves getting clear on what you earn, what you spend, and what you owe. Creating this consciousness around how you use and think about your money will provide you with more control over it and empower you to make more mindful and intentional money decisions.
Commit to Your Practice
“Yoga is 99 percent practice and 1 percent theory.” – Pattabhi Jois
What is good in theory is often good in practice, but it is only with sustained practice that we will see results on our yoga mat and with our finances. While you probably know that you should set a budget, spend less than you earn, and save for the future… Just because you know it, doesn’t mean you do it! To truly master anything—whether it’s a yoga pose or your spending habits—requires commitment to a regular practice and discipline to stick with this practice even when your motivation lacks or willpower weakens.
Set a Sankalpa (Intention)
“The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates
It’s common to set an intention at the beginning of your yoga practice. The purpose of setting an intention is to connect your mind to your body so our intentions and actions are in alignment. When it comes to your finances, setting a clear intention of what you wish to cultivate will enable you to better direct your energy and align your actions in order to achieve it. Just like in your yoga practice, your intention can be a word or phrase that represents a value you’d like to cultivate, such as balance, focus, compassion, gratitude, or control.
Find Your Drishti
“You cannot always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside.” – Wayne W. Dyer
The term “drishti” refers to the ability to find a point of focus to rest your gaze and provide you with a sense of stability. Your drishti can help you to maintain balance in a difficult or challenging pose as it provides a point on which to concentrate in order to remain steady and in alignment. When you are faced with many distractions, this technique is useful for stilling the mind in order to focus on one specific thing—that which you are trying to achieve.
Maintaining your drishti when it come to your finances requires you to set a clear goal and have a point of focus for your money. Creating a focus for your money makes it easier to find balance in using and spending your money and can help you to stay on track when distractions, excuses, and bad habits come into play.
Keep Your Focus on Your Mat
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt
It can be very tempting to compare yourself to others both on and off the mat, but there is no competition in yoga. Yoga is a personal self-development practice, so your focus should remain entirely on your own mat at all times.
When it comes to your money, the quickest and easiest way to create feelings of scarcity, jealousy, and unhappiness is to focus on what you’re lacking or on what others may have that you don’t. Rather than considering it a competition, you could look towards others as sources of inspiration for your own journey with yoga and money practices.
The lessons you learn in yoga and on the mat fit almost perfectly into any area of your life, from your relationships to your health and even to your finances. Yoga is a practice not to be performed, but to be lived, and the many lessons that yoga offers provide inspiration to positively shape your life and your finances.
Lea Schodel is a financial planner who is both serious and fun, powerful and vulnerable, inventive and safe, a lover and a fighter, a leader and a follower, a doer and a thinker, a homebody and an explorer, a student and a teacher. Find out more about her here.