How to Befriend Stress

By Linsey Birusingh
We romanticize stress. The busier we are, the more valuable we feel. This society-driven paradigm can be both beneficial and detrimental. Some are lucky enough to find a balance, utilizing eustress (a healthy, performance-enhancing motivational form of stress) to accomplish their goals. Yet others are drowning in the anxious loop of negative stress, feeling helpless, sleepless and muddy-minded by the overwhelm of life.
The concept of stress we talk about today did not exist 100 years ago. When an actual definition of stress finally came about in the 1930s, it was neither positive nor negative. Hans Selye said stress is “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change”. This means stress is only detrimental if we layer on too much or the wrong kind, exceeding our body or mind’s ability to take force. The term for this overwhelm is “allostatic load”, and once reached, we are no longer in a healthy and sustainable state. The body makes too much cortisol, cannot rejuvenate due to lack of meaningful sleep, and we spiral into disease.
In our physical yoga practice, we apply compassionate, moderate force to stretch and strengthen our bodies. If done properly, our tissues regenerate, blood and chi move more freely, we experience greater range of motion and less dis-ease. But if we apply too much force, we tear muscles, impinge nerves or even fall trying to stuff ourselves into shapes we’re not yet ready to employ. To find balance and enjoy more eustress, we need to utilize the same compassionate, moderate force we tout in yoga class in daily life. Here are some ways your yoga practice can help you befriend your stress:

Flip your perspective.

Research has found that the way you view stress can determine if it is detrimental to your health. This means two people with the exact same job demands but with different views on stress can have two completely different physiological responses!
    •      In practice: Use the mindfulness tools you’ve cultivated in your yoga practice to catch yourself turning to negativity. Can you see your next challenge as an opportunity instead of a chore? Can you view yourself as capable of meeting the challenges you face instead of uncertain of your strength?

Go inward.

You cannot differentiate what you want versus what you’ve simply ingested from the outside world’s expectations without a strong connection to your inner compass. When you come to your mat or to meditation, you strengthen that connection with yourself. Most of us know deep down exactly what we need. It is actually listening to that wise self that is hardest. But if you can weed out what stressors in life are not worth it, you can actually enjoy the eustress of the more rewarding parts of your life.
    • How it works: Practices like meditation and yoga sharpen the prefrontal cortex of the brain or as we call it the watch tower. This higher reasoning is important when deciding what is costing us our vitality and what is actually adding value to this life. Next time you find yourself with the opportunity to take a taxing job, or distraught over a problem, access your higher level perspective. How much will this matter in 5, 10 even 20 years? This will help you decide how much energy mentally and emotionally to invest.

Come to your mat.

Tension in the mind shows up in the body. Conversely, tension in the body shows up in the mind. By taking care of both in a yin or power yoga class, you create a cleansing channel of release in both directions.

Practice non-doing.

In order to dominate your to-do list, you must also take time to rest. While this does not come naturally to many, it may be the most important thing you do for your productivity. There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that those who do the slow, rejuvenating practice yin yoga (called Restore at Power Life), sleep better, are more productive and have a more positive view of life. The 3-5 minute passive postures can be challenging for those use to being on-the-go, but the more you practice, the better you become at letting go.

Face the facts.

Truthfulness is an important tenant of yoga philosophy. Once you are honest with yourself about what is worth your efforts and what is not, you need to actually do something about it. Embody it. Make the changes. Quit the job that’s taking you away from your family. Cut the chord on the relationship that does not uplift you. Do the dirty work like you do when you sweat on your mat, and you’ll reap the reward.

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2024 Power Life, All Rights Reserved.
Built with 🤍 by Blink Wellness

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Parking available in the Scheels Parking Lot.

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About Kirk: 

Kirk was working 80-hour weeks and wearing his shoulders as earrings when he found yoga in 2005. Forever the competitive athlete, he loved the physicality of yoga. When the spiritual and philosophical side of yoga were exposed to him, Kirk was hooked. Yoga provided him with what other activities couldn’t -- the ability to foster the benefits of practice both on and off of the mat. Yoga was something that Kirk could bring into all aspects of his life. 

Kirk knows that yoga can be intimidating, so he crafts a class that is playful and inviting, while still being challenging and safe. His creatively planned classes build strength and flexibility in your body and mind while establishing clarity, giving you more confidence to overcome obstacles in your life, and keeping you injury-free. His classes are themed with a message that is relatable and will inspire you to take it with you off your mat. Kirk has been teaching yoga since 2008 and lead his first teacher training in 2012. Where Kirk truly shines is in coaching, developing and bringing out the best in others.  

Kirk enjoys traveling (40+ countries to date!), snowboarding, and cherishes time with his wife and two daughters. 

About Christen: 

Christen Bakken’s yoga journey began in 1998 in a Bikram studio that provided a safe and secure place to practice. She saw the yoga mat as a place to remember her purpose and a place to play. As she continued her studies and began her journey to teaching in 2006, Christen infused yoga classes with devotion and the yoga mat became a place of personal transformation and healing. Her classes are filled with laughter, song, sweat, and usually heart openers. In 2013, Christen began training yoga teachers. This is the place where she finds the most joy - in community with folks looking to grow and be of greater service in their homes, on their mats, and in the world. Over the years, she has led trainings in Denver, the Midwest, Florida, and now abroad. She has trained in continuing education modules, 200-hour, 300-hour, and 500-hour programs. Beyond the mat, Christen is a passionate adventure seeker - she loves to bike, snowboard, and spend time with her husband and pups. She sees each day as a blessing and hopes to remind all who interact with her of this truth.  

Two Light Studio Parking Information

We validate parking for THREE garages in the area!

  • Two Light garage located directly north of the studio. Please bring your ticket inside for validation.

  • Three Light garage at Main and Truman. Garage entrance on Truman. Please bring your ticket inside for a validation sticker.

  • Power & Light garage at 13th and Grand. Please ask for a parking pass at the studio front desk. (Hot tip: the Power & Light garage has a ton of space! But be sure to give yourself a little extra time to walk to the studio.)

If you find that you are running a couple minutes late due to parking, please call the studio to let the instructor know to wait for you before locking the doors.

Blackstone Studio Parking

  • We have partnered with our friends at Greenslate to provide 1 hour and 15 minute validated parking for Power Life students in the lot at 36th and Harney (just south of the Cottonwood Hotel). Read below to learn how to take advantage of this perk:

    • Step 1: Scan the QR code located in the lot.

    • Step 2: Select your destination (i.e. “yoga studio”).

    • Step 3: Ask for the validation code at the Blackstone studio front desk and enter it on your phone.

    • Step 4: You are all set! Have fun at class!

    Please note:

    • The validation provided by Power Life and Greenslate is for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Need to add additional time to your parking space? You can do that conveniently from your phone!

    • This option is valid once per day per license plate.

    • Please do NOT park in the Crescent Moon lot − you will be towed!

East Village Studio Amenities

  • There is a paved lot and gravel lot on the West side of the building.

  • Meters on Court and 4th (by Peace Tree) for $0.25/hour, 9am-9pm Mon. – Sat. 12-hour max

  • Meters on 4th (to the North) for $1.25/hour. Mon – Sat. 4-hour max.

  • All meters are free on Sundays and major holidays.

How to Befriend Stress Info