The Ancient Origins of Mindfulness

By Robbi Drake, Guest Author

Mindfulness appears to be a modern phenomenon since most people had never heard of it until fairly recently. Some may know that the Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction, or MBSR for short, program was first developed in the latter part of the 1970s. What most people don’t realize is that it is mostly the name that is new, not the practice. In fact, many ancient sayings could be considered mindfulness quotes, highlighting the origins of mindfulness.

Mindfulness is an ancient practice

The history of mindfulness is indeed ancient with roots going back at least as far as 1500 BCE with the Hindu religion’s yoga disciplines. Moving forward a bit, it also surfaces in the Daoists’ qi gong exercises. Around 535 BCE, Buddhists used focused breathing, which is part of modern mindfulness.

Mindfulness can be found throughout history in various forms, particularly as part of religious practice. This is true even in the major religions of today – Christian, Jewish and Muslim. Prayer is quite often an exercise in mindful meditation. Mindfulness is most apparent in Eastern religions, though and transcended religion in many cases.

Martial Arts Cultivates Mindfulness

Research studies have found that many martial arts practices, such as Tai Chi, generate a mindful attitude, with other effects including increased well-being, calmness, relaxation, improved sleep, less reactivity, and increased self-care, self-awareness (Image source: 123RF stock image)

Many martial arts are steeped in mindfulness

The popular martial art known as Tai Chi involves mindfulness to a significant degree. What most people are familiar with in Tai Chi are the slow movements that are part of the training form. Other martial arts use mindfulness as well. Being as self-aware as possible is a major part of all of them.

Kung Fu is an ancient martial art that is still popular today. In the early to mid-1970s, a television series called Kung Fu used flashbacks to show the training required to master Kung Fu. It was clear that awareness of yourself and everything around you was necessary to become a master of the discipline. Other martial arts, such as Judo and Karate, use mindfulness in varying degrees.

Develop mindfulness through meditation

Today, mindfulness is easier to learn and practice. Classes abound that teach a variety of exercises and disciplines that involve mindfulness. Of course, the heart of mindfulness is meditation. Meditation has long been considered a path to self-awareness. Learning meditation is simple, so simple that you can find online meditation courses numerous enough that filtering through them is what can be time-consuming.

From ancient history to the modern world, little about the practice of mindfulness has changed except the name. The goals are the same, though more refined. If you want to find mindfulness quotes, you may only need to look at the sayings of ancient sages that you may already know but didn’t know they were relative to mindfulness. If you are intrigued with the history of mindfulness, visit

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About Robbi Drake, Director, Need an Article Writing Services

Robbi Drake is the Director - Administration of Need an Article writing services and owner-SEO consultant at No Gravity SEO services. Need an Article is a full-service content creation, website design and SEO provider with a strong view toward quality and service, and No Gravity provides website design, coding, security, marketing, SEO, and content creation support.

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Latest update: March 20, 2017
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