Our Fitness

Our Fitness

 

Dear Students, 

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 yoga and hot Pilates and demonstrates the qualifications necessary to be registered with the Yoga Alliance at the highest teaching standard of 500 hours. 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™ and Karma Point Rewards 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:

  • Take full advantage of your first week by attending as many classes as possible. 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. Ask about it at the front desk.
  • 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!
The front lobbies of all Sunstone Studios are designed to be open, friendly spaces, and we love it when students meet their friends and spouses here to practice together. The shared energy can have a positive impact on the whole class.

Our practice rooms themselves are intended to provide students with a calm, serene environment before and after class, so that every student can enjoy a focused experience in class. We’d like to remind all our students, teachers, and teacher trainees to maintain a respectful quiet inside our rooms, and chat in the lobby area instead.

Maintain the balance of the classroom by staying throughout the class. Setting your intention to stay makes it easier to remain and enjoy a full practice. We know that occasionally a student may feel sick unexpectedly or just too tired to last. We understand and have all experienced this at one time or another in our own practice, but leaving class should be an exception, not a rule. Struggling through hard moments in your practice is often followed by a breakthrough, and staying through the whole class keeps the energy of the room intact – your fellow students feel the loss of your energy when you leave the room early.

Keeping with the pace and flow that the teacher is creating in each class benefits you and everyone around you. The practice is both a personal and a communal experience, and the energy you project in class, whether you are aware of it or not, affects the whole room. When we focus together, practice together, and perform the same posture sequence together, the energy builds and builds, and every student leaves the room glowing and energized. For our advanced students especially, the rewards of keeping with the practice at your level are even more profound - inspiring new strength, better balance, more openness and flexibility. Your practice becomes a model for new students to admire and emulate.

Our six class series were each designed to be challenging and stimulating for students at all levels of their practice, from beginners to the most advanced. Many of our most advanced students are given small adjustments to their postures to keep them challenged, just as our beginners are given modifications to help them be successful in the practice. During our classes, please be kind to the beginners who may try to copy you, and stay in the posture being taught. If you are ready for the challenges of alternate postures like Wheel, please come to our 84 Asanas Advanced class on Sundays at the Sunstone Academy in Addison.

Here are some other easy ways you can promote harmony in the practice room:
  • Leave the cell phone somewhere else.
  • Shoes and flipflops stay outside also.
  • Strong perfumes and body odors can be pronounced in a hot room. Please try to arrive at the studio in time for a quick shower before class if you need one.
  • As the room fills up during our most popular class times, please work together to create enough space for everyone and a good flow of energy through the room. Pulling the front row close to the front mirrors and staggering the rows behind allows more people to see the mirrors, and the feeling of being over-crowded goes away.
  • Class officially begins at 3 minutes after the scheduled class time, in order to accommodate people who are running a little late and still keep the class on time. Please don't call to ask us to hold the door for you beyond classtime; our instructors show respect to the students who have already arrived by beginning their classes on time.

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

graph-2

The three main ways the body adapts with exposure are:
  1. Our blood volume pumped to the skin increases
  2. We start sweating at a lower body temperature
  3. 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.


--Brandon Hartsell

CEO & Co-Founder

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Sunstone 2.5 Maximum fitness for a busy world

Keeping fitness levels high and stress levels low is vital in today's world, but most of us are having trouble finding the time to get the exercise we need. And yet, according to recent physical activity guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, just 2.5 hours a week of moderate activity provide adults with substantial health benefits. That's why we've created Sunstone 2½ - a program that provides you with four major health benefits in just 2.5 hours a week:

Four Benefits

At Sunstone Yoga, our classes, teachers, and schedules are dedicated to delivering the most efficient fitness program in 2.5 hours per week.

When you arrive at one of our 30-, 60- or 90- minute classes, you enter an environment of uninterrupted benefits. Our dedicated teachers give you the space to develop at your own pace, with a balance of personal attention you need to maintain progress and motivation. Our studio schedules are designed for your convenience, offering over 35 classes per week, depending on location.

We also reward our students in a variety of ways. Karma Point Rewards, Focus Wristbands™, and 60-Day Yoga Challenge programs all contribute to your long-term success, keeping you motivated on your journey to maximum fitness.

Weight loss, cellulite loss, lower stress, improved mental perspective and a healthier lifestyle are all benefits I've gained coming to Sunstone Yoga. At over 110 classes now, I can truly say that I definitely feel it in my practice when I've had a hard day at work, a confrontation with a special someone, or just an extended period of low quality sleep. This form of working out is absolutely the best program to keep me in tune with my body, and my mind and how my whole system is affected by them. Thank you! Thank you!

I first came to Sunstone in January 2004. I had already been doing power and Iyengar yoga classes at another fitness center. I also was running and doing spin class. I used to be one of the top runners in Dallas, and was sponsored by the Texas Rangers (back in the day). I thought the concept of doing yoga in such heat was insane and I never imagined I would walk through the door! But I was looking for something to challenge my enthusiasm, so I let a friend talk me into the 10-day introductory offer. The first class was VERY hard. The heat bothered me, but I loved the challenge. Even though I wasn't sure I could drive home from that first class, I was hooked. I came 4 or 5 times a week for those first few months, and immediately felt more physically and mentally balanced. I am fairly strong, but my balance has never been great and I have very tight hips and hamstrings. The physical benefits are immense. When I control my eating, there is a definite weight loss benefit from fitness yoga. I feel toned and balanced when I am standing and sitting. It has helped me with the stress in my life. I have learned to rely on breathing to calm myself instead of reacting hastily to outside annoyances. My running form improved and I felt stronger in spin class and when lifting weights. When I’m having a hard time in the outside world, the 90 minutes in class is a welcome respite. Sometimes I take the water class, because it allows me to challenge myself from within. As a businessperson, I immediately recognized the excellence of the Sunstone operation. The instructors were great, the business side worked well, and everyone was welcoming and encouraging. I think that is a key thing, since it is a little frightening to challenge yourself in a 99 degree room. When I walk through the front door of the studio I begin to calm down. That depressurization continues as I walk down the hall to the locker room. By the time I enter the hot room, I am ready to take deep breaths and hit the floor. I have learned special things to do for my hips and hamstrings, which I try to fit in before class starts so that I can really make the most of the opening sequences. No matter who is in the room, it feels like a community. The different teaching styles are welcomed and I never feel embarrassed if I fall out of a balancing pose or can't even reach my toes! When class is over, I feel ready to face the world.

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Strength and Flexiblity Improve your strength and flexibility with minimal risk of injury.

Yoga provides a unique combination of resistance training and stretching, improving your overall strength and range of motion at the same time. As your flexibility increases, you’ll have the opportunity to challenge yourself with advanced positions that include increased muscle resistance.

Yoga’s progressive, proportional approach to fitness also minimizes your injury risk.

This December, I will have been running regularly for 30 years. I calculate I have logged somewhere around 35,000 to 40,000 miles over the years. I have always enjoyed both the physiological and psychological benefits of exercise. Running has helped me stay physically, emotionally and intellectually fit. Running is a creative time for me. While my body is enjoying the repetitive movement, my mind is free. Ideas come freely. Two years ago, I started practicing yoga at Sunstone. During my first few classes, it was a challenge just to remain in the room. It seemed so hot. I couldn't drink enough water. I couldn't imagine I would ever move into standing bow, fixed firm or Tibetan Camel and many of the other poses. But, something kept drawing me back. With each class I progressed just a little more. After a few weeks, I began to move into the postures more deeply. I began to appreciate the heat and the cleansing perspiration. I learned to breathe in a way running never taught me. The nagging little pains and soreness from running I had learned to accept began to disappear. I rarely have pain in my body now. When I do, it's normally gone after one visit to the studio. I noticed yoga brought me an emotional peacefulness and mental clarity similar to what I experience from running but a little different. For me, running is an "inside out" process. I like to run in the morning. I get energized and my mind gets engaged. Yoga is "outside in". I like to practice yoga at the end of the day because it helps me to integrate, accept and release. Yoga is about strength, balance, focus, self control and clarity. Last summer, I attended a retreat conducted by Sam Keene, the author of "Fire in the Belly". At one point, he asked participants to think of their "sacred places". It was a no-brainer for me. Your studio on Routh has become one of my "sacred places" now.

I started yoga at the suggestion of my back surgeon. I was in such pain in my lower back that I could not straighten up. My doctor advised me that an operation would have a 50-50 chance of correcting the problem. I heard about the 10 classes for $10 and decided to give it a try. I walked into the first class bent over and came out with no pain and walking straight up. I have continued with my classes ever since, trying to make at least three classes a week. Since starting yoga, I have had no back problems at all. My life has improved and so have my golf scores.

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Weigth Management Increase your metabolic rate while you learn to eat smarter.

Yoga is a natural weight management discipline, providing a calorie-burning workout that increases your body awareness. After your first classes, you’ll realize that a lighter diet increases your comfort level both during and after yoga. This naturally leads to better food decisions every day.

Sunstone has had tremendous benefits for me. While the series did take some getting used to, I happened to lose 35 lbs in approximately four months. Yoga is amazing for the benefits that it has in cleaning out one's systems, in addition to the strength and endurance that it builds, particularly Sunstone. After a class, I feel as if I have detoxified my entire body by sweating out anything that my body didn't desire to have inside of it. No amount of sweating that I've ever done, even in my time on a cross country running team or in the Marine Corps, compares with the purifying feeling of leaving Sunstone's studio after a class. The "contraction and release" of the muscles seems to purify the body and clear the mind like nothing else I've found can. One other benefit that astounded me is that when I attended class regularly, four days a week or so, I started to lose cravings for foods that I knew would interfere with my practice. I went from a diet of standard meat-and-potatoes-preferably-fried-please, to one that was rich in fruits and vegetables. Items such as hamburgers or sub-sandwiches dropped from being "staples" to things I would eat and enjoy on occasion, without any effort on my part. I attribute that change in lifestyle for my current level of fitness.

Since I started practicing at Sunstone, I’ve noticed a shift in body composition, a more healthy approach to eating, increased flexibility, increased focus and a sense of serenity. I notice that all of these areas improve when I am able to attend classes on a more regular basis, such as 3 - 5 times a week. I am a firm believer in the benefits of practicing yoga in the hot room.

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Cardiovascular Health Expand your heart into better cardiovascular health.

While you get the strength and flexibility training yoga provides, you'll also undergo a serious, 30-, 60- to 90-minute cardio workout. This is because each pose incorporates almost all your muscles to their full range of motion, which will require increasing amounts of oxygen as your fitness level improves. The result? A real, sweat-drenched workout complete with lasting cardio high that leaves you energized, with minimal risk of injury.

I came to Sunstone as a former competitive dancer, an aggressive long distance runner and with a small background in gym yoga. I came to learn and expand my practice and I was really looking for a new physical challenge. I discovered this and so much more. I am so pleased and grateful for what yoga, Sunstone, and your instructors have done for me this year. Before April 2005, I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t want to change everything about my body, when I couldn’t accept it for what it was- I wanted to be skinnier, smaller, lighter, have more muscle in one place, less in another - a consistent fight I thought I would battle for the rest of my life. And then came the yoga. What my friends and family want to know is: has yoga made you lose weight? Yes! But more importantly I have a connection that has taught me not to hate my body anymore; I have awareness and a deeper understanding of why it is so important to take care of myself, both mentally and physically. I finally have acceptance, appreciation and a lot less judgment - all true blessings I never expected. The teachers have taught me to let go in my practice; that the heart and mind open up with the body, that I can challenge myself through the postures and push to be better, yet not be my own constant critic, and to accept each day as its own. I have learned life parallels your practice in so many ways. Dealing with everyday stress is completely different. I have lost the need to panic (your first 10 days will teach this quick!) and have learned to breathe my way through it and not to hang on to negative feelings and emotions. My body physically craves yoga: the sweat, the release and the wonderful feeling of accomplishment at the end of class. I have come to a place now where my mind and spirit crave it as well; to bring in and share positive energy with my classmates, to be calm, focused, and to give to others what I learn in class. I know I will be a yogi for the rest of my life and I look forward to what it will bring and where it will take me. I could not have gotten to where I am today without your support and guidance!!

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Emotional Well-Being Your mind needs time off, too.

Yoga offers several ways to balance the demands of a busy lifestyle – both physically and mentally. Weekly yoga classes will improve your body’s capacity to deal with stress while your emotional and body awareness improves. In addition, the concentration required to learn and perform yoga takes your mind off whatever (or whoever!) is stressing you.

I am a wife, mother, grandmother, caretaker of an elderly parent, and business manager of a thriving orthopaedic practice, but at Sunstone Yoga I am just me. When I walk into the studio to be greeted by the smiling face of whomever is going to teach my class that day, the cares of my outside world disappear. I could write a book on what I have received from my yoga practice. I have gone from a size 10 to a size 6, am more flexible than I ever was in my 20's and 30's, have not had a sick day in years and at 57 I have a feeling of confidence and pride in myself that somewhere through the years I had lost. The teachers are patient, loving and always willing to help me improve my practice. Getting to yoga 4 to 5 times a week is my most important priority because there on that mat I find peace. In over 3 years, no matter how much stress I am under I always leave my class feeling better than when I went in. Sunstone is my port in the storm of a very busy life and I feel so happy to be a part of such a wonderful community of teachers and students. Namasté.

Yoga has changed my life more than I ever realized it could. I thought losing weight would be the most satisfying and rewarding part of it, but instead, it is how I have grown as a person. I have learned to accept things for what they are and not try to change them. I’ve learned what my body is capable of doing each day and honoring that. I have also learned to accept my body for its uniqueness. Most important is learning to breathe. I know it sounds corny, but learning the pranayama breathing has helped me maintain my composure and not get caught up in the daily drama. Thank you for opening the studio in Plano and thank you for making such a positive change in my life.

About Sunstone

  • Our Purpose To provide an environment where people can connect with and cultivate their very best self.
  • Our Vision To become one of the world's most influential fitness associations who transforms the very idea of fitness from isolated physical activity into an integrated body, mind and life practice.

Get in touch

(214) 764-2119