Recently I have been visiting a local yoga studio and practicing some moksha yoga where it is done in the heat. The first time I walked in to the room I already felt like sweating. Now I am used to the heat but I still sweat a lot in my practice. As someone who used to practice Chinese martial arts I thought I could surely handle something as simple as yoga. Turns out I was incorrect in my assumption and it was very challenging at the beginning. I am slowly getting better at holding the poses but it is definitely not a walk in the park. I also tried yin yoga which is basically all relaxation but I felt like falling asleep through that one (which is the point but I prefer the more active moksha yoga instead). After doing moksha yoga I can breathe a lot easier, feel lighter and more relaxed in mind, body and soul.
My long-term goal is to incorporate yoga on a regular basis into my lifestyle, while balancing gym workouts (for hypertrophy and cardio) and my usual freelance work (or full-time if I am fortunate). Yoga is just one of those things like hitting the gym (actually a good compliment, like yin and yang) that should be in every person's lifestyle if they wish to live longer and healthier. For 3 years I hit the gym consistently, focusing on bulking, lifting weights, building muscle, gaining size and strength, etc. without realizing how important it was to do the relaxing and maintenance stuff like yoga, epsom salt baths, contrast showers, massage therapy and physio therapy. Now I know from experience what my body is like especially with age and I am a lot more mindful about the kinds of physical activities I put myself through. I am setting up a schedule where I will balance swimming, yoga, cardio, core and weights for the workouts I do each day of the week. I have sacrificed some my the size and strength I gained from the gym in order to focus on recovery and loosening the muscles. There is no point in building all of that muscle if you cannot move in a full range of motion or get good blood circulation. I would prefer having a leaner but more agile, light and quick body than a bulkier one that gets fatigued, stiff and not actually feeling as strong because of those.
I have also considered my diet and have been cutting out most of the typical meats like chicken, beef and pork (I allow myself seafood, eggs, whey protein, and recently lamb). I did an experiment last month where I challenged myself to go vegetarian for 1 week and it turned out I felt much clearer in the mind and had more energy. I was lighter and leaning out due to the drop in protein intake, but I was no weaker while performing my exercises (such as pull-ups, dips, tricep pulldowns). I noticed I was able to add 20 lbs to my usual tricep pulldown exercise (for 100 lbs) and still crank out at least 10 reps on those. That was about a month ago but I will resume my gym workouts again soon and get back into the muscle-building mindset. Only this time I will know to use yoga and work within my limits as far as protein is concerned so that I find a good balance that is sustainable.