smart spending

Banker's yoga is financial crisis tonic

Jay MacDonaldThank you all for coming today. Looks like my teaser Tweet about "new banker stimulus program" really set the old BlackBerry phones on rumba mode, am I right?

Good to see the Morgan Stanley corporate brass here. A warm welcome to the top dawgs from JPMorgan Chase, Mellon Bank and U.S. Bancorp. Hey, isn't that Goldman Sachs in the house? You all look splendid, even without your bespoke suits.

Now I can tell by your puzzled expressions that you're wondering, "Hey, Mac, why am I standing here in my boxer shorts and T-shirt?"

You're probably thinking, "Is this some wacky new hazing ritual like they pulled on me at Hilton Head? Or one of those weird 'Survivor'-themed executive bonding exercises like they tried down in Bora Bora? Are you gonna go all Stephen Covey on my threadbare bottom?'

Banker's yoga

No worries, my too-large-to-discharge friends. You've all been through quite enough in the past year, a collective public stoning of such biblical proportions that it's a wonder it's not raining frogs by now.

No, a beating as acute and prolonged as you've endured cannot be healed by a mere eight-figure bonus or more stock shares than you can cram in the trunk of a Lexus LS 600h.

The stimulus you need is yoga. Banker's yoga.

First asana (position): Petulant Child

Remember when the market crashed and you crawled under your walnut Herman Miller desk, leaned forward and pounded your forehead into the Berber carpeting? That's Petulant Child. Without the pounding.

Hold this for two minutes. Then, we'll wake the Goldman Sachs team and continue.

Second asana: Scaredy Cat

After you crawled out from under your desk, you were on your hands and knees, checking to see if the janitor had been by and the coast was clear to vamoose. Resume this pose, inhale, contract your abdominal muscles, round your back and drop your head.

Then, exhale, arch your back and lift your head, as if checking to see if you still have a spine. Repeat five times, or until you feel a spine.

Third asana: Downward Facing CFO

JPMorgan team, you might want to remove your sock garters before attempting this.

From Scaredy Cat, straighten your legs, shift your weight toward your heels, reach forward as far as you can and press your palms into the floor. Then, lift your tailbone upward, drop your head toward the floor and distribute your weight evenly between hands and feet. Hold for five breaths.

Done correctly, this pose of supplication should roughly resemble the attitude your distraught CFO took when you requested the financials. Without the wailing and whimpering, of course.

Fourth asana: Deadwood Plank

Shift your weight forward into pushup position, arms straight, hands on the floor under your shoulders. Your back should be as rigid as the deadwood you immediately trimmed from your work force after the meltdown.

Fifth asana: Upward Facing Cash Cow

From Deadwood Plank, curl your toes under and shift your weight forward, arch your back and let your head and chest rise upward -- the direction your financials took once the TARP funds arrived.

Sixth asana: Sum Salutation

To complete the Sum Salutation series, begin with your feet together and hands at your sides. As you inhale, roll your arms outward to bring your palms together over your head. Lower your joined palms to your heart center.

In this pose, whisper the Sanskrit phrase "Namaste," a bow to the creator, and offer a heartfelt prayer that the sum of all our financial fears never comes this close to occurring again.

Now get outta here. We've got insurance executive dodge ball in 15 minutes.

If you have a comment or suggestion about this column, write to Bank Shots.

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