The instructors and staff at Sunstone would like to welcome you on your new journey toward developing a fitness practice. With continued attendance and effort it will be evident that you have discovered an instrument for powerful physical development and personal growth. Many of our students begin to recognize the countless benefits of a consistent practice with us within just a few classes.
At Sunstone our instructors are dedicated to seeing each individual develop their practice. Each instructor has been certified to teach our class series (Yoga, Pilates, Barre & Fitness) and demonstrates the qualifications necessary to be registered with the Yoga Alliance®. Not only have our instructors taught thousands of students, they are dedicated students themselves. They understand what it is like to have a personal practice and will assist you as you become acclimated with our methodology and class series. Our commitment to your success includes incentive programs like our Focus Wristbands™ to keep you motivated through the ups and downs on your journey to improved health.
The following tips and guidelines will help you develop a fitness practice at Sunstone:
- Your first week is critical to your long-term success! Take full advantage and find your regular practice schedule. Don't be afraid to try a variety of class types! As you become familiar with the studio setting and class postures you will begin to relax and feel the benefits of your new fitness routine.
- Be fully hydrated. Drink at least 2.5 liters of water each day throughout the day in addition to replacing the water you lose during class. During each class you will be able to drink water, but if you start class dehydrated it is impossible to catch up.
- Replace your electrolytes. The sweating you do in our heated rooms will cause you to lose small amounts of electrolytes - minerals such as sodium, potassium, chloride and magnesium. If you notice that you are feeling over-tired or getting a headache during or after class then try taking an electrolyte supplement.
- Come to class on an empty stomach. Most people find that they need to leave 2-3 hours between their meal and class. However, if you find you need a snack, keep it light.
- Learn to be comfortable with perspiration. Wiping sweat is distracting to you and your classmates and greatly increases your body’s water loss. You will adjust to the sensation of having sweat on your body.
Always arrive a few minutes early and stay for the entire class. Entering class late or leaving before class is over is disruptive and disrespectful to others, and also to your nervous system. If you do arrive a few minutes late, take a breath and enter the room slowly and quietly. Take your mat off the rack and find a spot in the room without disturbing the flow of class. Consider being prompt a part of your practice.
Please stay in the heated room for the duration of the class. If you feel light-headed or nauseous please sit or lie down. There is nothing wrong with missing part of a sequence while you take a break. If you absolutely must leave the room do so quietly and respectfully, and please return as soon as possible.
During class we encourage you to look at yourself in the mirrors, focus on making personal progress, and be aware that the entire energy of the room is dependent upon your participation. Your stillness, focus, and thoughts affect everyone. Focus on yourself and be as still as possible between postures. Extra movements waste energy and break concentration. The most rewarding classes are those where the entire student body is engaged.
Developing a fitness practice is a continuous journey; it is not an overnight process. No one is going to judge you or criticize you. As long as you give your best effort, and attempt all the movements as instructed, you will get as much benefit out of your practice as a student doing the same posture with a greater degree of flexibility, strength and balance. Your instructor may, from time to time, and always in a respectful and supportive manner, offer a suggestion or an adjustment that will help you to get the most from a posture.
Every class is different. Let go of any preconceived notions and enter each class like it is your first class. Your body is different every day, and it is normal for the class or specific movements to be easy one day and difficult the next. Please do not allow yourself to be discouraged on the difficult days. Often your best class will be followed by your worst and vice-versa.
Relax at the end of class. It is a critical part of your practice. You have stretched muscles, compressed organs, and sent an uncountable amount of information to the nervous system. Allow the body to recover and the nervous system to integrate the information it has received. This can often be the hardest part of your practice. If you learn to relax after class you will also learn to relax outside of the studio.
We are excited for you to discover the body, mind and life benefits of a regular fitness practice. See you in the studio!
Heat, Humidity, and You
Deep in our brain the hypothalamus houses our body's thermostat and monitors our core temperature. When we are exposed to heat and our core temperature begins to rise above 98.6 degrees our cooling mechanism is triggered. Our heart is triggered to pump more blood from our body core to our skin, our sweat glands are triggered to bring moisture to the skin's surface, and as our sweat evaporates into the air it pulls heat from the skin and blood. This cooler blood circulates back to cool our core.For this cooling mechanism to be effective there has to be air moving across our skin into which the sweat can evaporate. The more air moving across our skin the easier it is for our sweat to evaporate. Likewise, the dryer the air the easier it is for our sweat to evaporate. This is why a breeze is cool and a dry day feels cooler than a humid day. In summary our body's ability to cool itself is affected by three things: 1) temperature, 2) humidity and 3) air movement.These three things also determine how hot it feels to us. Our body is able to sense even small differences in temperature changes but is extremely efficient at maintaining our core temperature. As Texas Tech physiology professor Thomas Pressley, PhD points out, "Despite the extremes of temperature that you might expose yourself to, your body temperature never varies more than a couple of degrees. Going from your air-conditioned office to a hot parking lot to your air-conditioned car, your body temperature probably won't vary enough to measure." Even though the impact on our body of going from one temperature to the next has minimal impact on our core temperature we are very sensitive to the change.
The temperature we feelis a function of heat, humidity and air movement. The function commonly used to measure felt temperature is heat index. The heat index formula assumes a steady air movement of 5.8 mph and then combines variable heat and humidity to calculate the temperature our body feels. The Sunstone Fire Series class targets a temperature around 98.6 degrees and a humidity of around 60%. This is a heat index or felt temperature of 124.6 degrees. Because our body is able to sense even small difference in temperature changes, large changes can be startling. When we first walk into a Fire Series class there is little doubt that it is hot. Our bodies immediately begin to cool themselves and we adjust to the temperature. Conversely, when we leave a Fire class 90 minutes later the lobby feels substantially colder than before class. The lobby has not gotten colder but it feels that way because we have adjusted to a higher temperature and also because we have sweat on our skin. Even during class small changes in the heat and humidity can make the room feel hotter or colder. These small changes will have no impact on our core temperature and very little impact beyond our skin surface, but they are likely to be felt. For example if the temperature rises 1 degree to 99.6 and the humidity rises 1 degree to 61% this represents a heat index of 129.3 which is a 4.7 degree felt temperature changei.
Until our body is acclimated heat exposure creates stressii. Our body's ability to function in the heat is not a measure of our physical condition rather of our heat conditioning. Being in good condition will help but only exposure to heat will allow our body to adjust. The following elements improve with exposure:
- Core temperature
- Sweat rate
- Blood lactate
- Blood and urine osmolality
- Rating of perceived exertion
- Skin temperature
- Heart rate
- Plasma volume changes
- Hydration status
- Index of thermal strain
Full acclimatization takes as long as 14 days but most of us will feel more comfortable after only a few consistent classes. This chart shows the number of days acclimation takes for certain elementsiii
The three main ways the body adapts with exposure are:
- Our blood volume pumped to the skin increases
- We start sweating at a lower body temperature
- Our hormones adjust so we sweat more water and less salt
Because of salt (electrolyte) loss prior to acclimatization (number 3 above) it is essential that we take electrolyte replacements. This is also true when we increase exposure by taking more classes.
It is absolutely critical that our bodies be given enough water to remain hydrated. Hydration must occur prior to heat exposure and/or exercise. Our body can absorb one-quarter liter per 10 – 15 minutes. For most of us water loss due to sweating is greater than one-quarter liter per 10 – 15 minutes.A dehydration of only 2% body weight has been shown to reduce performance by as much as 10%iv.We should try to avoid dehydration by consuming 2/3 ounce of water per pound of body weight each day. This is any addition to any water we sweat out during class which will be as high as 3 liters per hourv. During class we should avoid wiping sweat from our body. The removal of sweat does not help remove excess heat but instead stimulates additional sweating and therefore additional water loss.
iThe task of controlling the felt temperature of a hot room is not trivial. Most of our studios have automated systems that are constantly working to maintain a stable heat index. These systems monitor heat and humidity and based on the measurements adjust the furnace and humidifier in real time. Of course heat and humidity are always escaping the room so as the furnace and the humidifier adjust, there can be ±8° swings from desired heat index. Compounding the felt temperature issue is that the amount of humidity impacts the density of the air and less dense air decreases air flow. A ceiling fan or furnace blower spinning at a constant rate will push more air the greater the air density. Unfortunately for felt temperature as humidity decreases density increases. So as the humidity goes down the fans are more effective. And as we learned the more air moving across our skin the easier it is for our sweat to evaporate and cool us. So a room cooling via a reduction in humidity will feel extra cool because of increased air flow which improves our bodies cooling ability.
iiSigns of heat stress can be muscle spasms, heavy sweating, fatigue, pale and clammy skin, weakness, nausea, dizziness, and a red face.
iiiDays of practice should be done in fairly close succession to allow for acclimation.
ivMedically, dehydration can be classified into three levels:
- Mild: dry mucous membranes (lips and mouth), normal pulse, darkened urine, mild thirst.
- Moderate: very dry mucous membranes, rapid and weak pulse, darker urine, thirst.
- Severe: very, very dry mucous membranes, an altered level of consciousness (drowsy, lethargic, disoriented, irritable), no urine, no tears, and shock (indicated by rapid and weak pulse, rapid breathing, and pale skin).
Research clearly shows that relying on thirst will cause us to underestimate fluid needs.
CEO & Co-Founder