Originally published in the Winter + Spring 2019 issue.
Melanie Lighthouser is one of those loving, positive souls that you want in the same room as you. She is a guardian of light because she welcomes the darkness — that of her own, and of others.
One week before she started 7th grade, Melanie’s life completely changed. And at a very young age, she recognized her experience and voice could help others who have lived through profound trauma.
Melanie grew up in Fort Collins, Colorado. At the age of 11 her parents were going through a separation. Melanie’s dad, who was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, was heartbroken. One morning Melanie woke to her mom’s voice telling her to get up and get ready. They were leaving soon — Melanie to Sunday school, and her Mom to church. During the service, her dad walked in and began to yell at her Mom. The pastor asked them to take it outside. One of the members of the church who was a police officer followed them to the parking lot. Her dad pulled out a gun and shot her mom, the officer shot her dad, and her dad shot the officer. The officer survived, but Melanie’s mom died instantly and her dad passed on the way to the hospital.
And in that instant she began a new journey, bearing the unbearable. With enough pressure, coal becomes a diamond and Melanie’s story is one similar.
Through the wisdom gained by this experience, Melanie now helps many break out of their perceived limitations through Transformational Breathwork, yoga and bodywork. She is a wise and empathetic healer. She points out, “If you have been through trauma, which all humans have on some level, you have to access both the light and the dark. In yoga, we focus more on the light, with Breathwork we allow ourselves access to the door of the shadow side where healing can begin.”
If you have been through trauma, which all humans have on some level, you have to access both the light and the dark.
After college Melanie found herself in North Carolina. She completed her 230-hour Yoga Teacher Training, received her Massage Therapy License and opened a yoga studio. She became comfortable sharing her story. Then Melanie discovered Shamanic Breathwork. She noticed how emotionally disconnected she had become from her story. Through delving into Shamanic Breathwork, she realized how much anger and grief was still lingering in her body. Breathwork became the safe container for her to work through and release her own suppressed emotions.
After deciding to move back to Colorado in 2012, Melanie became a certified Shamanic Breathwork Facilitator and began to create opportunities for students to explore the healing of Breathwork.
Melanie explains, “We’ve all faced trauma within our lives, and we can either welcome it in and discover healing through the darkness, or we can push it down and carry it in our bodies. Breathwork gives the student permission to be their own healer. The Breathwork container that I offer is the headlamp to enter and guide you into the shadow side.” Stephanie, one of her students, expresses her experience, “Melanie grants full allowance to laugh, cry, sing, howl, scream or remain silent. To move, dance, stomp, lie on your back, or any combo thereof. She guides you gently and lovingly through whatever it might be, or how it shows up.”
Melanie offers a sacred space to dive in, clear out old programming and rediscover your magic. “We are so programmed to look for the answer from someone else. The breath helps us get past the ego mind so the answer can arise from within. All of the answers we are looking for are there,” she says, “We can all see Shadow Consciousness is becoming more and more pronounced in our collective. The work to be done to change our reality is for each of us to look at our stuff. We can’t ‘light and love’ it away. Freedom comes from the willingness to FEEL.”
Melanie mentioned there are other Breathwork facilitators in Colorado, and many forms of Breathwork, as well. She states that non-judgment is essential to get in touch with emotions. There aren’t good nor bad emotions. We’ve been programmed to believe that. All emotions want to be felt. You have to go through it in order to let it go. You can’t let go of anger without feeling anger. With Melanie, you have the opportunity to feel the emotion in a non-judgemental environment, full of loving support.
All emotions want to be felt. You have to go through it in order to let it go.
Melanie offers Breathwork in a variety of settings: group, private, workshops, retreats and Transformational Breathwork Teacher Trainings. She is leading an amazing Yoga and Transformational Breathwork retreat in Hawaii this coming March. For more information about Melanie and her offerings you can visit her website www.befreehealing.com.
Photos by Stephanie Lonon.
Along with her role as a CO YOGA + Life ambassador, Ange Stopperan, E-RYT 500, is a yoga teacher, mindfulness and business coach, writer, co-owner of LC Yoga in Loveland, Colorado, and lead teacher in LC Yoga’s 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training. Ange leads the Northern Colorado Ram Dass fellowship which speaks to mindfulness topics and lessons from Ram Dass. She is passionate about teaching her students how to connect to Yoga off the mat by incorporating rituals into their daily life. Ange enjoys hanging out with her family, traveling and getting into nature as much as possible.