What Is Mindful Yoga?

Mindful Yoga or Mindfulness Yoga is the combination of Buddhist-style mindfulness practice with modern yoga to provide a means of exercise that is also meditative and useful for reducing stress. Its use for stress was pioneered by Jon Kabat-Zinn in 1990. Courses in Mindful Yoga are provided in Buddhist meditation centres, yoga studios, and stress clinics around the world.

Ardha Chandrasana by Nina Mel, Yoga Teacher


The practice of Mindful Yoga has spread to meditation centres and stress clinics, with drop-in classes and courses available around the world, for example in the West London Buddhist Centre.[1]

Jon Kabat-Zinn wrote in 1990 that “Mindful hatha yoga is the third major formal meditation technique that we practice in the stress clinic [at the University of Massachusetts Medical School], along with the body scan[a] and sitting meditation…”[3][4] Kabat-Zinn has developed a course in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction including sitting meditation and mindful yoga.[5]

In 2008, Yoga Journal ran a feature on bringing “Mindfulness onto the Mat”, noting that teachers from many backgrounds, such as Frank Jude Boccio, the psychotherapist Stephen Cope,[6] Janice Gates, Cyndi Lee, Phillip Moffitt, and Sarah Powers, had “each, independently, discovered the benefits of merging mindfulness with asana”, leading to “something we might call ‘mindful yoga’.”[7]

The Vice President, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu addressing the gathering after releasing the Book ‘Yoga and Mindfulness’, authored by well known Yoga exponent, Ms. Mansi Gulati, in New Delhi on October 29, 2018.


In 2004, Boccio published Mindfulness Yoga, relating Buddhism, the Yoga Sutras, and asanas.[9] This has been followed by other books such as Charlotte Bell’s 2005 Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life: A Guide for Everyday Practice, structured around the eight limbs of Patanjali’s yoga,[10] Anne Cushman’s Moving into Meditation with awareness of the body,[11] Hannah Moss’s 2018 The Practice of Mindful Yoga: A Connected Path to Awareness, which argues that “Yoga is only safe and effective when it has mindfulness at its heart”,[12] and Robert Butera’s 2018 Body Mindful Yoga: Create a Powerful and Affirming Relationship with Your Body.[13]


  1.  Cushman states “This body-sensing journey … is one variation of the ancient practice of Yoga nidra … and of the body-scan technique commonly used in the Buddhist Vipassana tradition.”[2]


  1.  “Mindful Yoga”. West London Buddhist Centre. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  2.  Cushman 2014, pp. 44–45.
  3.  Kabat-Zinn, Jon (1990). “Mindful Yoga”(PDF). Palouse Mindfulness. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  4.  Kabat-Zinn, Jon (1990). Full Catastrophe Living. Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing.
  5.  “Syllabus for Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Course”MBSR Training. Retrieved 11 April 2019Welcome, to the true Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. Developed at the University of Massachusetts Medical School by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
  6.  Cope, Stephen (2000). Yoga And The Quest For True Self. Bantam. ISBN978-0553378351.
  7.  Isaacs, Nora (21 October 2008). “Bring More Mindfulness Onto the Mat”Yoga Journal. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  8.  Gulati, Mansi (2018). Yoga and Mindfulness: The Basics. Konark Publishers. ISBN978-9322008840.
  9.  Boccio, Frank Jude (2004). Mindfulness Yoga: The Awakened Union of Breath Body and Mind. Wisdom Publications. ISBN978-0861713356.
  10.  Bell, Charlotte (2005). Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life: A Guide for Everyday PracticeRodmell PressISBN978-1930485204.
  11.  Cushman 2014.
  12.  Moss, Hannah (2018). The Practice of Mindful Yoga: A Connected Path to Awareness. Leaping Hare Press. p. 10. ISBN978-1782405696.
  13.  Butera, Robert (2018). Body Mindful Yoga: Create a Powerful and Affirming Relationship with Your Body. Llewellyn Publications. ISBN978-0738756738.

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