Molly Masaoka

OWNER OF YOGA CENTERED, ERYT 500

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When I first discovered yoga in 2000, it was very hard for me. Are you kidding me? There I was in my Ross athletic pants trying to hold warrior one for what felt like five hundred breaths. Everything hurt. I was so uncomfortable inside and out. But the end of class was so profound for me. In savasana I felt connected for the first time to something beyond my small self, my emotions, and my ego. It took me years to understand what was going on but honestly it was the closest thing to bliss I’d ever experienced.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to yoga. My teaching style is both intense and focused yet infused with creativity, compassion and humor. I truly believe the balance of effort and surrender is the key to unlocking the awareness of one’s true nature.

It’s been more than 20 years since I took that first class. I am now the owner and director of Yoga Centered Studio on the Big Island of Hawaii, which is where I call home. I teach classes, retreats yoga teacher trainings, workshops and mentor students worldwide. And, drum roll please, I am still emotional. I am still messy. I am far from perfect. What has changed for me is how deeply I can go into my relationships no matter how imperfect I may be as a boss, as a mother, as a daughter, a teacher, as a friend. The same applies to any yoga pose. When you drop the need to do something perfectly or the need to do it the way everybody else is doing it, that’s when you find a deeper place of yoga. It is a place that is no longer of the body or the mind. It is the true self. While the core of my teaching is alignment-based flow, my passion for teaching restorative and therapeutic yoga continues to inspire everything I do.

It is an honor and a privilege to witness the transformation and freedom that this practice creates from within.

Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to study with some of the world’s most influential instructors including my primary teachers Chuck Miller and Maty Ezraty. I’ve also completed teacher trainings with Don Stapelton from Nosara Yoga Institute, and Annie Carpenter of Smart Flow Yoga. I credit Annie for giving me the skills to teach intentional alignment and sequencing, Don and Amba for the ability to encourage self-inquiry and Chuck for helping me to find the unity in all things.

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Reef. Age 7. Honolii Beach. Our favorite and regular place to surf and live our yoga.

These days, my greatest teachers are my 7-year old son, Reef and my commitment to surfing. Both allow me to SLOW DOWN, be present and enjoy the ride, even if it’s bumpy, big, small, less than perfect, and looks entirely different than I had planned, anticipated or even thought I wanted.

Ultimately, the yoga mat is a microcosm for who you are. 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 you are—in spite of the pose—and finding acceptance right then and there in that very moment. I hope to meet you there soon. Thank you for letting me share space with you. You’re awesome, and you’re doing a great job. Let’s keep growing together.

Namaste

xoxo

Molly

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“Molly’s teaching style is a beautiful dance between sthira-sukham, steadiness and ease. Molly is a dedicated practitioner whose teaching reveals her depth of experience and her intelligence, warmth and genuine devotion to Yoga and to her students.”

-Annie Carpenter

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“Molly is living her dharma by teaching and sharing yoga in her community. We should have a lot of gratitude for her courage. Yoga Centered is beautiful place to teach and practice.”

-Sianna Sherman

Kind words from Molly's students...

"Molly has a presence that can't be ignored. Her fiery passion captivates a room whether she's teaching a flow class or a restorative practice. Clear and precise she maintains a mindful alignment throughout all of her teachings." -Justin G.

"Molly is a wonderful instructor. She demonstrates when needed but can also get you into a pose with her detailed language. Molly knows when and where to make adjustments without making you feel like you're doing every pose incorrectly. She is wonderful with alignment cues to prevent pain or injury but still brings fun to the class. I loved learning so much from her." -Autumn G.

“I just received my Teacher Training with Molly. She is hands down one the best yoga teachers that I have ever had. I live in Manhattan and have been practicing for years. Molly focus is alignment and safety. Her sequencing is the best I have ever seen. She is a perfect combination of loving, caring, encouraging and tough. I have been forever changed from my Teacher Training. She gave me the tools and the confidence to get out and start teaching. If I lived closer I would be at her studio daily. So the next best thing…I downloaded her online classes. I will be taking future trainings with Molly.”-Susan Grosso