Silver Classes at Bend Hot Yoga Improve Core Strength, Balance, and Stability

by Tara Fort • Photos by Trisha Shaffer

For yoga instructor Ann Finley, the idea to develop a focused yoga practice that included more movement—versus the traditional Asana style—gave her the inspiration to make the leap from student to teacher. When Sarah Rainwater purchased Bend Hot Yoga in 2016, then, she asked Ann to craft a class targeted to seniors; hence, non-heated Silver classes were born and have remained popular with both men and women of all ages and levels.

Deeply committed, Ann develops a focus for building strong body foundations, incorporating slower movements and balance. She said, “People are concerned with balance so I decided that would be my continual class emphasis. To have balance, we need core and lower body strength, agility and adaptability. We need to practice; it doesn’t just happen. We cannot rely upon exercises and habits that worked for us when we were younger.”

The sequences in the Silver classes build layers of muscles in a way that is safe and simple, though not always easy. Ann added, “Challenging our balance and learning to recover when we stumble or slip is an essential element to improve our balance—not only in not falling, but also to find that ‘edge’ and recovering through practice. It is that initial moment of panic when we are most vulnerable and frequently fall. Through practice, our bodies can build a foundation for resilience and our nervous system learns to relax, recover and find ease instead of panic. If we want to age well, we must invest in learning, growing, evolving and taking care of our own health to the best of our ability.”

Student Barbara Wing said, “Honestly, since taking classes with Ann, I have never felt better. She teaches small movements to gain strength and develop an awareness of how our movements are interconnected. She has a true gift for working with seniors and understands that we want to maintain our health and fitness without injury. While hiking and walking have always been part of my daily routine, Ann has taught me to think of body movement as a way to enhance balance, mobility and flexibility.”

Student Linda Stromquist can attest to the progress she has experienced taking Ann’s classes, too: “Ann’s calm guidance is gentle, but surprisingly challenging! The combination of movement with strength and balance has helped me build a strong, functional body in spite of debilitating spinal injuries medical experts said could be disabling.  Instead, I have been able to heal, find a more holistic way for moving, and craft a practice that will sustain me for many years.”

When not on the mat, Ann can be found in her garden or sewing studio where she loves find creativity through the craft that was passed on to her by her mother. Yet, yoga remains her passion. Ann offered this simple advice to those who think they should do yoga or need to do yoga or have concern about their balance now or in the future: “Just begin. Your future self will thank you.”

For more information about Ann Finley (RYT500), Bend Hot Yoga, Silver Classes or many of the other classes at Bend, visit