How & Why Yoga is Beneficial to Runners and Endurance Athletes

By Valerie Ruby

I completed my first Ironman 70.3 triathlon in September 2022 with three goals: finish, have fun and stay injury free. Check, check, mostly check. I did finish the race, I did have fun, and I managed to stay mostly injury free aside from a fall that resulted in a concussion 3 weeks prior to race day.

I credit much of my yoga practice to my mental training that allowed me to stay mentally strong and focused, even when it felt nearly impossible. Now as I gear up for my second 70.3 triathlon, it has been helpful to reflect on just how beneficial my yoga practice has been to my training and race day. An Ironman 70.3 consists of 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run, and for me about 5 months of training. Throughout those 5 months, the mental challenge is often harder than the physical, concussion or no concussion. It is noted that the mind will give up far beyond when the body is ready.

I believe all runners, cyclists, triathletes and humans can benefit from incorporating yoga into their weekly routines. The physical and mental components of yoga can help you build muscleprevent injuries and other health complications, and boost your focus—to name a few.

Yoga combines physical practice, breathing techniques, and meditation, however improved fitness was not originally a primary goal—mental focus was. When the training gets hard and uncomfortable, the mind wants to escape to what is familiar and easy. Yoga has proven to help with mental focus, which in return has helped me to shift my mindset when doubt and discomfort creeps in.

Personally, I enjoy incorporating Power Yoga, Sculpt and Restore into my weekly training.

Power yoga has allowed me to adapt to heat and receive the many benefits of a heated room, in addition to building strength, flexibility and mobility. Yoga can also help reduce inflammation, aches, pains, strengthen lungs, and cultivate inner awareness.

Sculpt, FIT and Barre are my preferred methods of weekly strength training to develop more power and reduce imbalances. On days when the heat is not favorable, I gravitate towards FIT.

Restore is an incredible way to counter all the intense training by allowing the body and mind to slow down. Restore can help regulate cortisol, the nervous system and stretch the deep connective tissues within the body. All of which aids in helping stay mentally healthy and injury free.

If you are considering training for an endurance event or just enjoying being more active outside in the summer, I say go for it! But consider where and how your practice can add benefit to your activity and help you successfully accomplish your goals.

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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 & Why Yoga is Beneficial to Runners and Endurance Athletes Info