New York: The Dow of Yoga
Stocks are falling, real estate is crashing, something called the Dow (not to be confused with the tao) is swinging wildly. And the core heart of all this trading, sweaty, money-drenched panic is New York City. This is partly the reason I signed up for "Financial Yoga," a class held at Integral Yoga taught by Wall Street veteran-turned-spiritual-financial adviser, Claire Kinsella.
Kinsella started the class by asking us to share our first money role-models, because, she said, our childhood is likely informing our current relationship to cash. Unsurprisingly, there was nary a happy story. One woman described her father keeping his salary a locked-door secret, another said her mom was so debt-averse she advised her daughter not to go to college because of the loans.
Though we didn't do any actual asana, Kinsella went over the financial organization system she's created, Financial Safety Space, explaining how she's aligned each kind of money transaction with a chakra. For example, the root chakra—the one that grounds us to the earth—is all about income streams, the money that comes in to nourish and support. The third chakra in the solar plexus (normally associated with power), is, she said, related to contracts—debt, taxes, legal issues, etc. Heart chakra is about home, marriage, and child expenses, etc. It's really quite cool.
She recommended creating a filing system for your finances that reflects this notion. She showed her us her file box filled with a rainbow of chakrically-coded file folders. For each chakra/money issue, she also recommends a corresponding chant and yoga posture: For dealing with financial contracts and debt—all third chakra-related—we chanted Ra and Ram, and she suggested doing Upside-Down Triangle pose to open that chakra.
To learn more, you'll need to contact her and take one of her classes, which she teaches around the city.
One of the most potent things she said was, "The number-one reason people get into debt is loneliness." For a second there was dead silence, as we all surely combed over our own recent emotion-spurred splurges. Like every financial planner she suggests writing down your expenses, but unlike any other, she also suggests writing the feeling you had when you made them.
Powerful stuff for, er, interesting financial times.