The Mindfulness Secret: Exploring the Shared Origins of Yoga and Ayurveda

One of the great wonders of the modern age is the incredible access we global citizens have to the cultures and traditions of the rest of the world. While we once had to travel great distances to gain insight into other healing modalities, we can now learn about them in an instant.

Yoga poses at Gaia's farmhouseBut there’s a danger in that access too. When we compartmentalize — when we learn about yoga poses that destress or Ayurvedic herbs that energize — we’re at risk of losing sight of the big picture. We may miss that yoga and Ayurveda are birthed of the same spiritual roots. The overarching theme of both is not simply about bettering our physical health — it’s about practicing mindfulness so we can harmonize all aspects of our well-being.

The Yoga Ayurveda connection

Five thousand years ago, in the North of India, the oldest sacred texts were written: the Vedas. It is in these ancient Hindu scriptures that yoga was first mentioned. Many people today think of yoga as simply a kind of gentle exercise. But in its earliest form, yoga was primarily a spiritual practice that sought to train the mind in order to alleviate suffering and achieve enlightenment.

As you may have guessed, the ancient medical system of Ayurveda (“ayur” meaning “life,” and “veda” meaning “knowledge”) was also first recorded in the Vedas. The guiding philosophy of Ayurveda is that the root cause of illness is disconnection within the self. True health is achieved when the body, mind, senses and spirit exist in harmonious balance.

The ancient secret to well-being?

Yoga poses at the Yoga class in Gaia's FarmhouseBoth yoga and Ayurveda share a powerful insight: Our thoughts have tremendous power to impact our reality. When we let them run wild with no oversight, they can have a destructive effect on our life. That’s why yoga and Ayurveda both emphasize the importance of the practice of mindfulness to achieve a greater sense of well-being.

When we are mindful — when we focus on the present moment and become aware of our thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations — we can start to make more conscious choices that foster our highest well-being.

 5 Easy Mindfulness Practices

Here are 5 simple ways you can introduce more mindfulness into your daily life.

  1. Meditate for 5 minutes a day. Meditation is the best way to get a little distance from your thoughts. And when you do that, they lose their control over you. Research shows five minutes a day is enough to make a difference.
  2. Eat without distraction. Step away from your phone, put away that magazine, and simply…eat. Notice the flavors, textures, colors, and aromas. You’ll likely enjoy your food more and eat less.
  3. Take a mindful stretch break. Instead of checking social media on your work break, try some mindful stretching instead. You don’t need a formal stretch routine. Just follow your body’s cues, and slowly, intentionally stretch the parts that want to be stretched.
  4. Choose a cue. Mindfulness cues are reminders to bring our conscious awareness back to the present moment. Your cue could be stepping through a doorway, sitting at your computer, or reaching for your phone. Every time you encounter your cue, breathe deeply three times.
  5. Unwind with a cup of Golden Milk. Find your golden hour during the day or night and relax with a comforting, nourishing cup of Golden Milk. An Ayurvedic ritual dating back hundreds of years, Golden Milk is a beverage of warm milk blended with turmeric and other herbs that benefits mind, body and soul.

Why Mindfulness Matters

Mindfulness is not simply a nice thing to do. It’s a fantastic method to help find inner peace and restore emotional well-being. Explore our website for even more ideas to be your best self.