Meet Our Teachers

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Molly Masaoka

Owner of Yoga Centered, ERYT-500

Perceptive and wildly passionate, Molly applies a level of determination and delight to her yoga instruction that’s truly one of a kind. Her approach is focused and intense; a union of effort and surrender that she believes is key to unlocking one’s deepest level of awareness and joy. While the core of Molly’s teaching is alignment-based flow and restorative yoga, there is a deep level of therapeutic guidance that governs all she offers—from her public classes, workshops, and private sessions to her ongoing teacher training programs and festival courses. Since discovering yoga more than 20 years ago, Molly has studied with some of the world’s most renowned instructors most notably the founder of Smart Flow Yoga, Annie Carpenter, Chuck Miller, Maty Ezraty and Don Stapelton from Nosara Yoga Institute. She credits Annie for giving her the skills to teach intentional alignment and sequencing, Don for the ability to encourage self-inquiry and Chuck for finding the unity in all things. For the past eleven years, Molly has also been the owner and director of Yoga Centered Studio on the Big Island of Hawaii. In addition, she leads workshops, retreats and yoga teacher trainings and mentors students around the world. Ultimately Molly considers herself a student of life. She is constantly drawing inspiration from the world around her, the natural world and her son, Reef. Her hope is to inspire others to share the practices of yoga that have so positively impacted her life. “The yoga mat is a microcosm for who you are,” says Molly. “It’s not about how good you are at handstands or how flexible you are, it’s about how you approach life. Yoga reveals this and so much more. It’s about discovering who we are and finding acceptance right then and there in that very moment."


Lauren Brown

Lauren is a dynamic and experienced teacher of both fitness and yoga. Her BUTI yoga and Barre classes will challenge your physical body, and mind to new heights, while her yoga classes will have you melting into a puddle of ooey-gooey bliss.

She grew up in Michigan and studied Developmental Psychology at DePaul University in Chicago (BA in 2011). While there, she also began her academic and physical study of yoga. After practicing for 5 years she completed her 200 hour teacher training in the styles of Ashtanga and Yin. In 2015 she traveled to Indonesia and completed her 500 hour teacher training in the Classical Hatha Yoga style and Tantric Traditions with Zuna Yoga. Her teaching passions include not only the physical asana practice but also meditation, yogic breathing or pranayama, and yoga nidra. Come join her on the mat and truly connect to your mind, body, and spirit.


Amy Shirk

A brilliant sequencer, a master of her craft and drawing from her experience as an athletic trainer and yogi, in Amy’s class expect to sweat, laugh a little, and learn more about the body you have and the life you live in it. Amy came to yoga through a workplace wellness program and never looked back. She very quickly saw the many ways that yoga could help the high school students she works with as a certified athletic trainer in her primary occupation and jumped headfirst into teacher training. After introducing yoga to a variety of high school sports teams, she realized how much she enjoyed teaching yoga philosophies and practices to groups that maybe normally wouldn’t seek out yoga on their own, like football players, “at risk” populations and the occasional weekend warriors. One of her favorite things about yoga is how the physical practice of yoga uses your body as a tool to teach you lessons about life, emotions and how strong you can be when you look inside.


Colleen Sullivan

Colleen’s classes will safely guide you through an all levels asana practice, breath awareness & deep relaxation. Colleen strives to create an environment where all students can connect with their innermost self and strengthen their mind-body awareness.

After beginning a regular yoga practice to increase her own overall health, Colleen realized she would like to share the joy & knowledge of the 8 limbs of yoga with others. Colleen completed her 300 hour Yoga Teacher Training at Amrita Yoga and Wellness in Philadelphia where she taught heated vinyasa and yin. Colleen has also taught at Rancho Margot, a sustainable eco-lodge in the rainforest of Costa Rica. A realtor by day, a yogini by night, Colleen “gets it” and hopes yoga will bring a little more ease to your daily life, where it really counts.

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Catherine Southern

Having lived with scoliosis most of her life, Catherine was well versed in the therapeutic aspects of the physical practice. "A spinal surgeon told me I would be fused from my head to tail." Through yoga, she has experienced pain relief, as have many people with back, hip and neck injuries. Catherine's slow, therapeutic style class provides a counter balance to our frenzied "go until you drop" society.

Formerly a dancer, Catherine found yoga in 1993 as a holistic approach to pain relief. Realizing the importance of a daily physical practice for her health, she decided to teach. Beginning in 1997, Catherine studied Iyengar in Santa Monica, CA, and later Anusara in Hollywood, CA. She is generous with her knowledge and has a palpable passion for teaching. She provides the space to go slow and concentrate on each nuance and slight sensation. We highly recommend Catherine's classes for anyone dealing with an injury or limited mobility issues.


Elisha Starr

In 1996, when Elisha was active duty military, yoga was the last thing from her mind. Then she wandered into a yoga class by mistake. As a command physical fitness coordinator her life was about strength, will, and discipline. There was no room for breath, flow, flexibility or softness. That yoga class, however, changed everything.

Realizing that for her, the path of healing was more important than the path of war, Elisha changed her life path and became a massage technician in 1997. She studied with many different yoga teachers in California as she continued to explore her relationship with her mat.

In 2004, Elisha became a NIA white belt, and began teaching NIA which incorporates many yoga principles in its practice. In 2009 she a 200 hour teacher training and switched to teaching yoga.

Elisha is also a registered reverend with the State of Hawaii, has studied Lomi Lomi with Harry Jim, is a Reiki Master, a Tara practitioner and recently certified Tara Self Care teacher. This diverse set of skills and experiences makes a class with Elisha full of purpose, commitment, alignment, spirituality and play. With attention to detail and a genuine love for humanity, her classes will leave you with a feeling of appreciation for yourself, your body, your life and your fellow companions on this crazy spaceship called earth.


Shannon Schafer

Shannon believes that through focused attention on body and breath we become more adept at listening to what we need in the moment… honing in on the individual subtleties of our bodies and habits. She hopes to create an environment where students can learn how to be more present.

She was certified at YogaWorks in Costa Mesa, CA in early 2010 while pregnant with her first child. Her classes are focused heavily on alignment and breath.


Heather Heintz

Heather has been training and certifying yoga teachers in East Hawaii for over a decade. She founded Balancing Monkey Yoga Center, Warrior Won School of Yoga, and most recently co-founded All Bodies Rise Yoga. She invites participants to dig deep into their personal relationship to self, to other, and to practice before taking the seat as a teacher. She ordained as a Buddhist Chaplain with Roshi Joan Halifax in 2014 and weaves the dharma into her teaching. She holds a Masters Degree in Social Work with an emphasis on parental bereavement. She currently works full time as a Spiritual Counselor at Hospice of Hilo. Her primary practices are parenting and surfing.


Erin Tokuuke

After growing up dancing ballet, tap and jazz, Erin soon realized in her adult life that she missed the mindfulness and movement that came from these practices. She started a regular Yoga and Pilates practice, then started attending Barre at Yoga Centered. She fell so in love that shortly after, became certified in the Barre Above format. Erin is also completed her 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training with Molly Masaoka and is also certified in Buti Yoga and Sculpt & Bands by Buti.