First let's get this out of the way, I am not the most athletic person and exercise was not really something my family did as I was growing up. I was enrolled in gymnastics as a kid and I can still do a cartwheel, albeit I am totally sore in the morning. Years later, I took my first yoga class behind a bank. Yep, it was a tiny space and we had to move the furniture around, but something about all those asanas (poses) reminded me of my gymnastic days in a different way. I took all sorts of yoga classes but the one that helped me the most was Iyengar. BKS Iyengar is said to be the "Father of Yoga" as he introduced this practice to the U.S. I was under the teachings of two highly trained, certified Iyengar teachers for eight years, which helped me understand why I did the poses - and not because I look good in them.
About four years ago I was seeing my doctor and she said... "Hmmm, you need to lower your cholesterol, you are pre-diabetic." On top of that I was a vegetarian! So I met with the dietician who recommended that I continue to eat my foods but no more fruit juice, include fish on a weekly basis, add omega 3 oils and snack on veggies and/or nuts throughout the day. Plus, the doc wanted me to do some cardio work, which is when I went back into the pool to swim laps. Within a three-month period my numbers dropped and I have not had to be put on any medication to this day.
Now, I was torn because I like yoga and swimming and I thought it was too much to do it all. I went through a period where it was all swimming and no yoga or all yoga and no swimming which didn't make any sense. Lately, I have paced myself better to swim four times a week. The times I don't swim I'm in my yoga class, and so far it seems to be working out. The yoga has helped out with my swimming and I seem to be more fluid in the water, and the swimming has strengthened my arms so I can actually hold a plank pose and not fall down! It's very synergistic in a way. I didn't think it would work but it does.
The bottom line is this: Taking care of yourself is important because once you do that, you are able to be free in your giving and be compassionate to others.