Planting Positive Seeds

The time spent incubating two babies and raising them through their first year of life gave me perspective. After a 19 month hiatus, I’m back teaching yoga, now with my own signature touch integrating my interests for practical application. My original foray into sport psychology evolved into an embrace of positive psychology along with my ongoing study of eastern philosophy. The union of these ideas has finally coalesced.

For years, I relied on the HALT acronym (hungry, angry, lonely, tired) as a quick scan of how I was doing in any given moment. I picked up the HALT scan during my time as a substance abuse counselor. It is a commonly used tool in the rehab world to help those in recovery identify relapse triggers. This past year, my own mindfulness practice was put to test as a mother to twin boys. The experience of mothering multiples only reinforced my reliance on the basic tenets of staying fed, rested, calm and connected. I had an aha, though. HALT dwells on the negative. In an effort to turn it on its head and focus on the positive, I pulled out my thesaurus to devise my own inventory tool searching for an elegant corresponding acronym.  The rules I gave myself: the focus must be positive, present tense and preferably an action verb versus a noun or descriptive adjective for an emotional state.

My first pass was REST: rest, eat, smile, team. It worked but felt somewhat contrived. It delivered on the basic self-care tenets of being fed and rested and incorporated putting on a smile but “team” felt like a stretch for connecting with others. As an acronym, “REST” seemed too reflective, passive.

More context: I went through an exploration in 2005 when I began teaching yoga. As a recently minted MBA, I knew I had to brand myself.  At that time, I settled on “Seeds Yoga”. Having been raised on a fourth generation family farm in Idaho, the Buddhist teachings of Thich Naht Hanh resonated with me:

Your mind is like a piece of land planted with many different kinds of seeds: seeds of joy, peace, mindfulness, understanding, and love; seeds of craving, anger, fear, hate, and forgetfulness. These wholesome and unwholesome seeds are always there, sleeping in the soil of your mind. The quality of your life depends on the seeds you water. If you plant tomato seeds in your gardens, tomatoes will grow. Just so, if you water a seed of peace in your mind, peace will grow. When the seeds of happiness in you are watered, you will become happy. When the seed of anger in you is watered, you will become angry. The seeds that are watered frequently are those that will grow strong.

Thich Nhat Hanh in Anh-Huong & Hanh, 2006

Anticipating my return to teaching, I was working through a creative brief for my overall brand identity for Seeds Yoga to update my website and marketing collateral. I had my next aha. SEEDS was it.

SEEDS: sleep, eat, engage, dance, smile.


I’ll be sharing how to apply SEEDS into your life. Join me in class on Tuesday nights at 5Focus and here.