Yoga and the Wisdom of Time

I’m traveling so get ready for some wild moves. Our proprietary “Alex-is-traveling” indicator has a 100% hit rate. The logic behind this particular indicator is that the Market Gods are vengeful and never miss an opportunity to punish me for leaving my desk. You’ve been forewarned.

On a positive note, the tape and indicators have been turning more constructive over the last week. So maybe this vol will come in the way of an upside surprise? Watch BTC as the lead.

I write this while on a train from Copenhagen heading into Sweden. I’m going to a 10-day yoga/meditation retreat at the Haa International Retreat Center. This is something I’ve wanted to do for years but just haven’t. With the launch of our new fund I figured it’s now or never as I’m going to hit the ground running when I get back, and we’ll be putting in long hours over the next couple of years.

I’ll be completely unplugged for 10-days. They take all your electronics when you arrive. This terrifies me a little.

I’ve gotten really into yoga over the last 2-years. That sentence is something I never thought I’d say. Definitely not with a straight face.

But before you think I’ve gone all granola and dreadlocks, let me make a few things clear. I know what probably comes to mind when you think yoga; bored housewives, lots of lululemon, and bodily contortion

This is not what I’m talking about.

Yoga, real yoga, is so much more. The “yoga” that has been popularized in the West is considered a warm-up routine to doing actuayoga in the traditional sense. See, the goal of traditional yoga is to yoke the individual consciousness with the greater universal one. It means to create harmony with mind, body, and spirit.

This is attained through preparing the body and its energies so it and the mind can sit for extended periods of time, in perfect unbroken concentration.

The yogis of old who developed and refined these techniques over literally thousands of years, realized the truths of the mind-body connection. They knew that a sick unhealthy body makes for a sick and busy mind, and vice-versa.

So they developed a number of exercises (asanas), breathwork (pranayama), and meditative practices to prepare the body and mind for the more advanced meditative practices. All so the yogi can peer further into his or her consciousness, explore reality, and realize greater truths.

Yeah, okay, that’s pretty hippy-dippy… So I’ve gone off the reservation a little, big whoop.

Anyways… one of my obsessions over the last few years has been studying things that survive through time and geography. There’s this concept called the “wisdom of time” or something like that. I actually don’t remember the exact name or where I came across it. I know Taleb talks about it some when he advises reading old classics over new books, because if a book has been able to survive hundreds of years then it must contain some imperishable truths.

The idea is that time acts as a great filter for what’s true and useful. Things, knowledge, practices, etc… that are able to survive the ages, do so for good reason.

Yoga definitely falls under this category. It’s been practiced in the Indus valley for at least 5,000 years, probably longer. There’s strong evidence that similar, if not identical practices, were also prevalent in ancient Egypt, pre-Columbian Americas, and within various ancient African cultures.

When a practice such as traditional yoga, which on the surface appears odd and gives zero evolutionary advantage. Survives for this long and spans so many geographies, cultures, languages, etc… It tells me that there are some deeply inherent truths and benefits to it.

The last couple of years I’ve been diving into it to see if there’s anything useful there. I’m still very much a noob, in every sense of the word. But I’ve journeyed far enough to say that yoga — again, traditional yoga — is unequivocally the best system or grouping of knowledge on human development that I’ve ever come across.

One of the things that I most enjoy about it (and there are many), is that it’s based completely on experiential truth. There’s zero faith, no ideology or belief system necessary. No hierarchy or power structure telling you what you should think or believe. You simply practice the techniques, learn to hone your concentration, and through that, much is revealed.

Simply put, yoga is the best performance hack I’ve ever come across. And I’ve explored many.

Since MO is not just about trading and investing in markets, but also learning, growing, and evolving into the best versions of ourselves (real success in markets and life cannot be attained independent of one another), I’m going to start regularly sharing with you the practical tools and methods I learn as I venture along on this journey of yoga.

I’ll report back in 10-days on how the retreat went. Don’t break the markets while I’m gone.

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Brandon Beylo

Value Investor

Brandon has been a professional investor focusing on value for over 13 years, spending his time in small to micro-cap companies, spin-offs, SPACs, and deep value liquidation situations. Over time, he’s developed a deeper understanding for what deep-value investing actually means, and refined his philosophy to include any business trading at a wild discount to what he thinks its worth in 3-5 years.

Brandon has a tenacious passion for investing, broad-based learning, and business. He previously worked for several leading investment firms before joining the team at Macro Ops. He lives by the famous Munger mantra of trying to get a little smarter each day.

AK

Investing & Personal Finance

AK is the founder of Macro Ops and the host of Fallible.

He started out in corporate economics for a Fortune 50 company before moving to a long/short equity investment firm.

With Macro Ops focused primarily on institutional clients, AK moved to servicing new investors just starting their journey. He takes the professional research and education produced at Macro Ops and breaks it down for beginners. The goal is to help clients find the best solution for their investing needs through effective education.

Tyler Kling

Volatility & Options Trader

Former trade desk manager at $100+ million family office where he oversaw multiple traders and helped develop cutting edge quantitative strategies in the derivatives market.

He worked as a consultant to the family office’s in-house fund of funds in the areas of portfolio manager evaluation and capital allocation.

Certified in Quantitative Finance from the Fitch Learning Center in London, England where he studied under famous quants such as Paul Wilmott.

Alex Barrow

Macro Trader

Founder and head macro trader at Macro Ops. Alex joined the US Marine Corps on his 18th birthday just one month after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He subsequently spent a decade in the military. Serving in various capacities from scout sniper to interrogator and counterintelligence specialist. Following his military service, he worked as a contract intelligence professional for a number of US agencies (from the DIA to FBI) with a focus on counterintelligence and terrorist financing. He also spent time consulting for a tech company that specialized in building analytic software for finance and intelligence analysis.

After leaving the field of intelligence he went to work at a global macro hedge fund. He’s been professionally involved in markets since 2005, has consulted with a number of the leading names in the hedge fund space, and now manages his own family office while running Macro Ops. He’s published over 300 white papers on complex financial and macroeconomic topics, writes regularly about investment/market trends, and frequently speaks at conferences on trading and investing.

Macro Ops is a market research firm geared toward professional and experienced retail traders and investors. Macro Ops’ research has been featured in Forbes, Marketwatch, Business Insider, and Real Vision as well as a number of other leading publications.

You can find out more about Alex on his LinkedIn account here and also find him on Twitter where he frequently shares his market research.