Sometimes, you need to slow things down.

Trade in your yoga mat for the forest floor.

Use your active feet for something other than a pose.

 Catch unexpected beauty in the middle of the day.

And remember the beauty that you too often take for granted.

I just returned from vacation in Tahoe. Five days in the mountains of California. And I'm pretty sure that I'm in love.  With the smell, the trees, the quiet, and the serenity - and learning how to relax.

Relaxation isn't one of my primary asanas, but by Wednesday - I had pretty much lost the blackberry withdrawal shakes and had surrendered to what I already knew - that my Fortune 500 employer would be just fine for a week without me. By Thursday, I was at the pool without really needing a book to read. It was more of a prop to block the sun.

Now, of course, there was time in this vacation for lots of fitness and yoga and hiking and exploring, but there was also slowing down.

I need to do more of that. Maybe my next challenge pose should be relax-asana. I am just learning that one - (it is an advanced pose) - but I have lots of potential. 

I am grateful for the gift of quiet and reflection and stepping away.

And yet, as I type this from my living room, I am also grateful to be home.

John Muir - whose work and philanthropy preserved so many of California's wild places - knew that going to the woods was more than just an activity:

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.

I had all of that this week - and more.