Meet Yoga Instructor and Holistic Practitioner Melanie Jolicoeur.
For a conversation on unconditional Love, expressing creativity and
the importance of self care to reach our greatest potential.
My desire is to inspire people to put themselves first, starting with simple steps
and sharing useful holistic lifestyle tips that can truly better their everyday life.
Born in Quebec Canada as a French Canadian, raised North of Montreal surrounded by nature in a town called St-Hippolyte. Melanie says she had an amazing childhood raised by her loving parents, she grew up with her brother who has always been her best friend. They learnt about life and death early on as their sister died at 6 years old, when she was young and not long after both her Uncle and Grandfather who were very much like father figures, also passed. With the loving support and wisdom of her parents it was explained in such a gentle way that she was able to accept it with a sense of serenity without the negativity attached, this helped shape the extraordinary way Melanie has been able to deal with some of life's most challenging circumstances and emotions she has experienced thus far.
When Melanie was 22 years old she worked in Hospitality and with the late nights and enticing party scene she began to explore a few of the lighter party drugs. It was the sudden impact of her Father's diagnosis of Leukemia at the time, which was one of those profound wake up moments in life when she decided to seek help, starting with therapy which changed her life and she started taking better care of herself. Part of this transformation was focusing on her love of dancing which made her come alive, so she opened a Dance Studio and was a professional dancer for 15 years. Melanie says “I didn't have a lot of money, but I was doing what I loved and what inspired me.”
It was a time of excitement, growth and extreme commitment to her work taking on some bigger projects and with it came long hours which eventually took its toll on her health in body, mind and spirit, she says “I became distracted easily and it became caught up in the doing phase when she began to lose connection with herself.”
If this journey of Melanie's had not yet seen enough loss; her Father then passed after 10 years of Chemotherapy and treatments though she admits witnessing his journey taught her so much about accomplishment and the beauty in life. Soon after Melanie faced the loss of her best friend from school from Cancer, followed by the passing of her boyfriends mother.
It was through all of this loss of life and the lessons learned from each of these beautiful souls that had such a special place in her heart that she began to re-frame the voice inside her head and tell herself “I get to have one more day to Live, I get to choose to explore this human experience and create it exactly the way I want.”
This is where the real magic started to unfold in Melanie's life. A new seed of inspiration and gratitude was planted deep within her soul and she took on everyday with a new level of motivation and gusto, taking the best care of herself possible. She began to explore and study Nutrition and what it means to live and thrive on a Holistic Lifestyle and bigger questions began to rise to the surface, like Why is disease so common in society? Why does conventional medicine not have enough solutions to prevent the most common diseases?
We are educated on how to do things but there seems to be little education on how to feel. These questions ignited a deep desire to learn and this curiosity led Melanie on a journey around the world to 20 different countries over the last 8 years to study, live, experiment and teach in many different environments discovering new cultures. What she did not expect was the spiritual path that began to unfold through all of these experiences and through it the re-connection with herself.
Now a citizen of the world she authentically calls herself, she has come to understand on a soul level that home is her heart.
She says “ I feel like by living around the globe I discovered that inner stability was more important than outside stability”.
I met this incredibly soulful, empowered and courageous woman at a Wellness Retreat in Thailand where she has been living and working for the last 2 year and is renowned within the Wellness Community. Among other things Melanie is also one of the most graceful, intuitive Yoga Instructors I have ever met, who has a remarkable way of expressing her creativity and emotions to communicate in a healing manner that allows whoever she is teaching to feel safe, loved and accepted exactly as they are. Her gifts harmoniously blend her life experiences, the wisdom she gained exploring the globe and skills as a certified Yoga Instructor, Health Coach, Holistic practitioner and Energy worker into a one of a kind fusion, I would call divinely inspired coaching.
Melanie to me is a beautiful example of what it means to live an extraordinary inspired life helping and finds her greatest fulfillment leading others to find a deeper connection with themselves while coaching them into a healthier lifestyle to realize their greatest potential. Now residing back in Canada with her family open to life and its possibilities.
I believe she is destined to be a writer with a unique way of phrasing things she says “I am open to whatever life brings me through my mission as a holistic practitioner, a free Spirit, as a simple woman that is curious to let go of control and surf on this wave of the unknown. I love planting seeds of opportunity and then follow where it grows organically. Sometimes what we think we need is not what we really need, so I trust life’s guidance.”
Here are the highlights of our conversation In Melanie's words:
How do you define your current role or work?
I define it as a mission. I value humility and gratitude. Being curious, having an open heart and being touched by all forms of life has been a gift for me. It’s a treasure that is leading me daily towards greater awareness, freedom and bliss. I truly feel that we are all our own best teachers. Therefore, I aspire to be a guide in order to deepen the consciousness of those who choose to open up and explore all of the possibilities of their pure potentiality.
Sharing my journey and flowing on a wave of unconditional love is what excites me the most.
My desire is to inspire people to put themselves first, starting with simple steps and sharing useful holistic lifestyle tips that can truly better their everyday life.
What is the meaning and purpose of your life, what fulfills you?
My path is filled with ups and downs as frequent as the pulse of a heartbeat. I trust that we are always exactly where we are meant to be at any moment, even if sometimes we are in situations that are really difficult, it's an opportunity for us to learn and from there we can move forward, sculpting our life through magnificent stories of triumph, wisdom, dignity and love. I truly think that our main mission is to reach unconditional love and explore all of our potential and inspire others to embody this love. To be the change they wish to see so we can raise the consciousness of the planet to enhance the world. A spiritual path never ends, sometimes we fall and instead of being mad about falling I learn to constantly accept, take responsibility and honor the opportunity we have to get back up.
What is mindfulness to you and how do you practice it?
Mindfulness means to me to maintain an awareness of our thoughts, emotions, body sensations, and surrounding environment with openness and curiosity. To embrace the now present moment is filled with so many gifts. I often start with the breath, the awareness of the sensation of the inhale and exhale without the external distractions and then I connect within. Feeling the force of nature that is part of you and suddenly you feel oneness. Nature is my favorite place to be mindful.
What are the cornerstones of your peace and creativity?
Peace and creativity are just like breathing to me. Funny how the body interacts with emotion but I always feel more lower back pain when I'm not exploring my creativity just like a second chakra imbalance. I've been a dancer from the age of 3 so creativity has always been a therapy for me as a way to come back to my roots and allow the child in me to play.
Creativity is a tool to move out of old belief systems that can hold us back from seeing the beauty of our true essence. Peace is a beautiful state to embody, even when we find ourselves in a difficult time, it's a choice. Having the strength to choose peace is my strongest tool and it is this awareness which brings me back to my peaceful state.
How do you find balance and inspiration in your life?
Balance comes with awareness for me. We live in a crazy world and we are all perfectly imperfect. I think that when you are aware of an imbalance we sometimes feel guilty and guilt is such a low vibration that harms your whole body, mind, soul, so I try to not judge myself and honour the awareness and the rest unfold organically.
I'm naturally a big dreamer, I always have lots of inspiration from the connection I hold with myself, being mindful and investing the time doing the things that make me feel alive; dance, music, nature, connecting with beautiful people, laughing, playing, travel, meditation, yoga and creativity, anything that raises my vibration. I also find inspiration by observing everything around me.
How does intuition play a role in your life ?
Intuition is such a key tool for me. The biggest challenge sometimes is to ask myself, is it my intuition or is that fear? Normally when I take time to breathe and tune into it, acknowledge it with a bit of silence and /or meditation I get my answers. Then the next step is to see if I want to listen to it. I love to ask myself; what if I have all the answers for me? What if I have access to the exact thing I need to do and then I remember we are our own best teacher.
What projects are you working on at the moment?
As a Holistic practitioner and Coach and traveler, I am working on creating all of my projects online with my website.
Over the last 20 years I have had the opportunity to teach and study with the privilege to learn from guides and professors from across the planet. I am profoundly inspired by sound therapy, movement, yoga philosophy, integrative medicine and I have gathered a collection of resources and knowledge which has enabled me to create some unique therapies.
Including; an audio album of guided meditation, a new website to provide traveling guidance and I have combined my passion for yoga and dance to create a unique therapy called Pranadance Yoga which can all be found here www.azayayoga.com
Leading wellness retreats is also one of my passions, I use an aerial yoga hammock and other modalities to develop a unique therapy called www.flytherapy.ca
I am also planning on a few other exciting things coming up that you can see on my website here: https://www.melaniejolicoeur.online/
Is there a particular book/film that changed your life direction in some ways ?
The Power of Now and A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, 7 Laws of Spiritual Success by Deepak Chopra plus Food Matters, Forks over Knives and Yoga Woman all documentaries.
What is your favorite healthy holiday destination or retreat and why?
I would say Thailand, as it's the one I know the most having lived there and worked in 5 beautiful wellness centres. Action point in Phuket has been a family for me. I was involved in this business with all my heart. The beautiful place and staff are amazing. I've also enjoyed Atmanjai Phuket as a detox, fasting and raw food wellness center by the beach. They also became good friends and a peaceful place for me. The expertise of those places is simply beyond expectations.
Do you have a sacred wellness routine?
I love waking up early, meditating and feeling gratitude for this new day. Taking a few deep breaths and stretching my body. Dry brushing is a must for me. I love how it wakes up all my senses and lets my body breathe. I enjoy hot water with lemon and ginger and fasting until 11 or 12 for yoga teaching or practice and cross fit training followed by a vegan protein shake.
What is your legacy?
To Love unconditionally. To choose yourself first is essential for me if you wish to share love with friends, children, partner family, co-worker, animals, nature it's important to nourish yourself first to give back in the way you aspire to.
Melanie's favorite Quote;
“In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.”
I highly recommend listening to her beautiful audio track via the link below, to recenter your heart and come back to yourself.
She truly has a special gift and you will feel her healing energy in every word,
With love enjoy!
By Gaye Gerard