Healing Space - Yoga for People Living with Cancer
- Published on Friday, 20 July 2012 09:13
Hi, I`m Jude Murray (MA, Yoga Elder) and I`m a Yoga teacher, healer, complementary therapist and trainer! I`ve had some twenty years experience as a teacher, trainer and group-work facilitator in the public and voluntary sectors and in private industry and I`m now self employed and specialising in Yoga for people living with cancer.
I started working life in the world of community theatre and arts and have had a career-long commitment to exploring techniques of personal empowerment. I qualified as a yoga teacher in 2004 and in 2006, became Health & Wellbeing Manager with Breast Cancer Care in Scotland. During that time, I identified a wide ranging potential of Yoga for people living with cancer.
In 2009, I became self employed teaching yoga, doing yoga teacher training and, two days per week, offering Yoga, Relaxation, Stress Management and Complementary Therapies at Friends of the Beatson, a unique, dedicated centre for in-patients at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre in Glasgow.
I also run my own centre for movement and wellbeing- “In The Moment”- In the heart of Glasgow. In The Moment is a beautiful, healing space dedicated to wellbeing and integrity. I offer general yoga classes, specialist workshops and retreats as well as 1 to 1 yoga for people living with cancer.
In 2011 – I designed and delivered the first “Healing Space” course for Yoga teachers. Healing Space is a challenging, thought provoking and in-depth exploration for yoga teachers who wish to share yoga with people living with cancer. The course continues this year, starting in September.
Although I offer a group classes at Friends of The Beatson, I mostly work one to one. This way we can focus on each person’s unique needs, depending on their stage of treatment and how they are feeling on any given day. I work a lot with patients in our haematology wards, because they are with us for often long periods of time having intensive chemo or stem cells.
The work can be tough (I`ve seen people at their lowest ebb) but it`s hugely uplifting to witness the strength of the human spirit and I`ve been privileged (even in this tiny way) to help them through it! Sometimes all we do is breathe together and I never cease to be amazed at the simple power of the breath, in transforming mood, raising energy levels and restoring a sense of peace and calm!
Yoga is not a cure for cancer but it can help people to balance body, mind and spirit to help them feel and function better! Yoga helps calm the mind so that people can cope better with their diagnosis and treatment. It can also help in alleviating symptoms and side effects (such as tiredness, pain, nausea, sleep problems and depression) Post-treatment, yoga can be a gentle way to help stay physically active, to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle, to help keep calm and centred and to reconnect with your body, and celebrate life!
At the heart of my practice and teaching, is connecting to the person as a whole (it`s not just about their cancer or the symptoms they are experiencing) Yoga can be deeply healing on many levels. It can be very simple, yet incredibly profound and I`ve worked with many people who`ve found a yoga practice hugely transformative. From learning to breathe through panic or anxiety about procedures, to re-engaging with a body transformed by radical surgery! For me, it`s about staying connected with a sense of self, when everything else seems to be conspiring to define you as a disease or symptom!
Yoga`s not about contorting into strange postures! The asana (posture) practice is just one tiny part of the range of practices we can describe as Yoga. This can be a frustration of working with a system as Yoga conjures up certain images in people’s minds. I`d love (even in some small way) help to redefine what Yoga means to people and nothing speaks more powerfully, than personal experience! My dear friend, Richard, whom I met in the Beatson in 2011, spoke on the Healing Space course last year. He`s now in remission from AML and officially opened “In The Moment” in February this year.
In his words: “What yoga has done for me was absolutely critical in my recovery, not just on a physical level, but emotionally and spiritually. As you are aware, I struggled with my feelings during the second stage of my chemotherapy and I must thank you for your help during this period in particular. I have since tried to explain to family and friends how Yoga played such a large part in my recovery. The best way I can explain is that it showed me how to come out of my head and into my body… allowing my body to be in a position to heal”
I do hope you have found this information useful