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Yoga, Podcasts and Trend Following

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Michael,

I am the guy who was a member years ago, then recently renewed. I was hounding you in regards to the TradeStation systems that you built. I was also the guy who has been doing yoga, but only with YouTube videos. I used the funds that I won from the super bowl boxes for private lessons at a studio. It was fantastic. My practice grew exponentially. Unfortunately Spring Break with the family came right after the private lessons and I have regressed. I started up again recently, but again only at home. The studio that I like has classes that do not match with my schedule at this time. I enjoy yoga, but my practice is not where I would like. I will need to change my schedule to get my practice to grow. As far as trading goes. I have been watching my portfolio of symbols using a charting software. I haven’t been able to get involved with Trade Station. My wife and I have been having some life changing discussions about our finances. She is starting to come round to understand Trend Following, but so far I haven’t been a good salesmen. I have been listening to your podcasts, and love them. I hadn’t used my phone to listen to them before and now I can’t wait for my commute! I look forward to seeing the notification that you have a new podcast available. I finally figured out how to download older episodes so I will have days of the podcast to listen to. Have you ever had Josh Brown on? One of the podcast that I recently listened to you read an article of Josh’s that was fantastic. It was about everyone being a technical trader. If you haven’t had him on, that would be one for the not miss category. I also loved the stuff that you have done recently with basketball. The part about the Celtics coach and the audio of Gregg Popovich was filled with some great nuggets. I guess this is a long (very long) winded way of saying thanks. I appreciate all the material that you have out there for your students and for all. Someday I will pull the trigger for the TS code. I see that as my only way because of my business.

Thanks again,
[Name]

Thanks.

Josh is a busy guy, but he knows I welcome him any time.

Do Yoga
Do Yoga

Ep. 188: Hendry, Harding, The Pope and Acroyoga with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Hendry, Harding, The Pope and Acroyoga with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio
Hendry, Harding, The Pope and Acroyoga with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Michael Covel touches on on Motorhead, Hugh Hendry, David Harding, Vermeer, The Pope, acroyoga and Saigon psych rock in today’s monologue. How is it all related? Covel explores. First, Covel opens with a quote from Martin Bergin of Dunn Capital: “Everything we do is 100% systematic. There’s no over-ride, no individual decision-making whatsoever. That is the focus of the firm.” Covel moves into a clip from David Harding on Bloomberg. Harding doesn’t completely obliterate Eurgene Fama’s work, but he says, although his work is academic beauty, it doesn’t beat the performance of trend following. Covel then moves into Hugh Hendry. Although not a trend follower per se, he has often said things that are extremely trend following. The quote the Covel explores today, however, gives a clearer picture of Hendry’s strategy (its not TF). Next, Covel discusses a documentary produced by Penn and Teller on the Dutch master, Vermeer, who may have used a tool to complete some of his paintings. The analogy to trading is there. There’s a system; there’s a process; there’s a model. Whether in painting, or whether in trading. Next, Covel talks about the Pope’s recent statement on economic inequality. Covel talks about how anyone who wants the politicians to legislate inequality is extremely naive. They have a vested self-interest. Covel moves on to talk about acroyoga, which he’s been practicing for the last several months. It’s reinforcing the idea of deliberate practice in Covel. That’s how Bergin makes that statement, and how Harding is so confident about trend following: They’ve been down the path of deliberate practice.

Listen to this episode:

Harvard Yoga Scientists Find Proof of Meditation Benefit; Trend Following Benefit Too

Trading can be taxing on emotions. Hard on health. Anxiety can arrive. The good news? There is a proactive health process you should consider right along with your position sizing algorithm:

Scientists are getting close to proving what yogis have held to be true for centuries — yoga and meditation can ward off stress and disease.
John Denninger, a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, is leading a five-year study on how the ancient practices affect genes and brain activity in the chronically stressed. His latest work follows a study he and others published earlier this year showing how so-called mind-body techniques can switch on and off some genes linked to stress and immune function.

While hundreds of studies have been conducted on the mental health benefits of yoga and meditation, they have tended to rely on blunt tools like participant questionnaires, as well as heart rate and blood pressure monitoring. Only recently have neuro-imaging and genomics technology used in Denninger’s latest studies allowed scientists to measure physiological changes in greater detail.

“There is a true biological effect,” said Denninger, director of research at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, one of Harvard Medical School’s teaching hospitals. “The kinds of things that happen when you meditate do have effects throughout the body, not just in the brain.”

The government-funded study may persuade more doctors to try an alternative route for tackling the source of a myriad of modern ailments. Stress-induced conditions can include everything from hypertension and infertility to depression and even the aging process. They account for 60 to 90 percent of doctor’s visits in the U.S., according to the Benson-Henry Institute. The World Health Organization estimates stress costs U.S. companies at least $300 billion a year through absenteeism, turn-over and low productivity.

Seinfeld, Murdoch

The science is advancing alongside a budding “mindfulness” movement, which includes meditation devotees such as Bill George, board member of Goldman Sachs Group and Exxon Mobil Corp., and comedian Jerry Seinfeld. News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch recently revealed on Twitter that he is giving meditation a try.

As a psychiatrist specializing in depression, Denninger said he was attracted to mind-body medicine, pioneered in the late 1960s by Harvard professor Herbert Benson, as a possible way to prevent the onset of depression through stress reduction. While treatment with pharmaceuticals is still essential, he sees yoga and meditation as useful additions to his medical arsenal.

Exchange Program

It’s an interest that dates back to an exchange program he attended in China the summer before entering Harvard as an undergraduate student. At Hangzhou University he trained with a tai chi master every morning for three weeks.

“By the end of my time there, I had gotten through my thick teenage skull that there was something very important about the breath and about inhabiting the present moment,” he said. “I’ve carried that with me since then.”

His current study, to conclude in 2015 with about $3.3 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health, tracks 210 healthy subjects with high levels of reported chronic stress for six months. They are divided in three groups.

One group with 70 participants perform a form of yoga known as Kundalini, another 70 meditate and the rest listen to stress education audiobooks, all for 20 minutes a day at home. Kundalini is a form of yoga that incorporates meditation, breathing exercises and the singing of mantras in addition to postures. Denninger said it was chosen for the study because of its strong meditation component.

Participants come into the lab for weekly instruction for two months, followed by three sessions where they answer questionnaires, give blood samples used for genomic analysis and undergo neuro-imaging tests.

‘Immortality Enzyme’

Unlike earlier studies, this one is the first to focus on participants with high levels of stress. The study published in May in the medical journal PloS One showed that one session of relaxation-response practice was enough to enhance the expression of genes involved in energy metabolism and insulin secretion and reduce expression of genes linked to inflammatory response and stress. There was an effect even among novices who had never practiced before.

Harvard isn’t the only place where scientists have started examining the biology behind yoga.

In a study published last year, scientists at the University of California at Los Angeles and Nobel Prize winner Elizabeth Blackburn found that 12 minutes of daily yoga meditation for eight weeks increased telomerase activity by 43 percent, suggesting an improvement in stress-induced aging. Blackburn of the University of California, San Francisco, shared the Nobel medicine prize in 2009 with Carol Greider and Jack Szostak for research on the telomerase “immortality enzyme,” which slows the cellular aging process.

Build Resilience

Not all patients will be able to stick to a daily regimen of exercise and relaxation. Nor should they have to, according to Denninger and others. Simply knowing breath-management techniques and having a better understanding of stress can help build resilience.

“A certain amount of stress can be helpful,” said Sophia Dunn, a clinical psychotherapist who trained at King’s College London. “Yoga and meditation are tools for enabling us to swim in difficult waters.”

Thanks to Gary Percy for the find. My yoga? See pics on FB.

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From Oct 25, 2012:

On a similar note, I’ve basically spent the past 3 years of my life wandering the globe as a vagabond, with a major emphasis on southeast Asia. So I have a lot of knowledge and recommendations for your upcoming trip (which I look forward to following on the blog/podcast). I am also very likely to be in SE Asia starting fairly soon, so it’s possible that our paths will cross. I’m in LA now, for about 2 more weeks. Anyway, I’ve long wanted to reach out and tell you this stuff, though I have no idea why. I hope you didn’t read this and think “this guy’s some kind of crazy stalker,” because I’m not. But the commonalities have definitely contributed to your podcast resonating so strongly with me.

Regards,
Paul

Thanks for the note Paul. Definitely working toward the SE Asia venture and will definitely want your insight soon! Thanks for reaching out.

From Dec 5, 2012:

I’m in Ubud now, for about 10 days. I imagine that when you talk of coming to Bali, you’re probably talking about Ubud. You must know that the Kuta area, where the bombs have gone off, is pretty much 20 year old drunken Aussie tourist hell. Ubud is a great spiritual place, just lacking a beach (which kind of sucks, but it has lots of other attributes that make up for it in the short term.) I’m basically doing 4-6 hours of yoga a day at an awesome studio called Radiantly Alive, which I highly recommend. No need to go to an expensive yoga retreat here. You can create your own for about 1/4 the price and have more flexibility. Given your path in yoga, you’ll love it here. And the food is great too.

PS: I’m reading Tony Iommi’s autobiography right now. It’s pretty boring, as is Tony himself. Ozzy’s was much better. I hope a Dio biography comes out at some point.

Thanks Paul, perhaps once I get to new year and clear through holidays I circle back for some more great insights!

From May 6, 2013:

Michael, I just wanted to follow up with you on a couple of notes I made listening to your podcasts. First, I love how you used the old school version of NIB, with the long slow bass intro, in the podcast with the John Wooden recording. Nothing like drawing it out at the beginning, before it would really be identifiable as Sabbath style music (unless you know the song, of course.) What could go better together than Wooden and Sabbath?

Second, you talked about Lemmy in another podcast. It reminded me of how I saw Motorhead open for Sabbath twice, including once in 1995 in a small club in West Hartford, CT. I was front row center for Sabbath, though with Tony Martin singing, it was only moderately good. But the club itself had two sides. The other side was a really low grade strip club. My buddies and I wandered over there after the show, and it was mostly deserted. The Sabbath guys were sitting up in a balcony area, and Lemmy was down admiring and interacting with the heinous strippers. He was in all his glory. If it wasn’t so funny, I’d have to say it was sad. But Lemmy isn’t picky.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your Asian trip as much as it sounds on the podcasts. I’m at the beach in Thailand now after a month long tantric yoga course in Rishikesh, India (the “Yoga capital of the world”) and then a few weeks in Nepal, trekking in the Himalayas.

I still recommend Ubud, Bali highly for a place to go nuts with yoga, great food, and good looking western yoga chicks from all over the world.

Cheers,
Paul

Thanks Paul! Sounds like I will definitely have to be checking out Ubud!

Trend Following, Yoga and Meditation

Feedback in:

Michael

Hi, I hope you are well today and managing to keep away from the election hooha.

I have started to listen to your podcasts during my commute to and from work everyday (utilizing my dead time so to speak), anyway this morning I finished episodes 17 & 18, where you speak about your yoga lessons and the zen habits website.

I thought they were most intriguing and I wanted to ask you if you have ever tried meditation? I started about 6 months ago with a small group once a week, mainly to help me deal with the daily stress from my current job, but I have found that meditation has really helped me over various parts of my life, and also helps you to get into the now, which is obviously a theme for you and also many trend follows, most notably Ed Seykota. If you get the chance I would very much encourage you to try it.

As a side note, I had a meditation class last night, and we were speaking about fear and how it stops you from achieving all that we as individuals could possibly achieve, and how being in the now and trusting that situations will work out, and not forcing things is a much better way. How coincidental then that this morning I heard your 2 podcasts that were talking about the exact same things.

Releasing fear and embracing trust I feel are two areas that most of us would do well to try and deal with and understand much more. I did think about this this morning and you can see fear everywhere and if you actually stop you can see how it drives people and is responsible for so many decisions made, many on a subconscious level, as an example – even down to the person pushing to get on the train first as they are fearful of not getting a seat.

I would like to thank you for the time and effort that you put into all areas of your work, that allows someone like me to begin connecting the dots.

I have found that listening to your podcasts on a daily basis really fires up my motivation to do well and succeed at trend following.

I hope you have a great day.

Kind Regards,

— Clare

Thanks Clare! Just getting started on meditation. Learning!

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