Healing class for those living with cancer
There’s a sanctuary on the peninsula where people who have been affected by cancer and their carers can go to get away from it all — and some may be surprised to learn that this place is Mona Vale Memorial Hall.
Every Tuesday from 11am to 12pm, the Park Street building‘s ﬂoomoards are littered with gym mats, cushions and throwovers for the Northern Beaches Relaxation and Meditation Group for people aftected by cancer and their carers.
During this weekly time slot, the group's 20-odd members are taken through two practices - a relaxation and a meditation.
Psychologist and yoga instructor Mudita Maclurcan has been running the class for three years, and she says the physical, mental and emotional benefits are very real.
"My friend's child had leukaemia, and she had to get lumbar punctures with no anaesthetic. I was doing yoga training at the time, so I would do relaxation practices with her and she said she stopped experiencing any pain during the punctures," Ms Maclurcan tells Peninsula Living.
"So I decided to combine psychology and yoga to help people with cancer and their carers to deal with anxiety and cope better emotionally. The classes are also important physically, because they reduce fatigue and help with sleep, as well as alleviate pain and nausea."
She was asked by the Cancer Council to address a support shortage on the Northern Beaches and take one of her classes to the peninsula (she also runs groups in Chatswood).
Her therapeutic voice has now been making a difference in the lives of locals for three years and Narrabeen resident, Judy Woodley, could not hold Ms Maclurcan and the class in higher regard.
Ms Woodley had a brain tumour removed recently and over the last six months underwent numerous treatments including chemotheraphy. She has been fortunate to come out the other side and gives a lot of the credit to the healing power of the relaxation and meditation techniques.
"It has been amazing because I'm not a person that can sit down and relax, I'm always on the go all the time," she tells Peninsula Living.
"But I decided to give it a go and I came into the hall and all the girls were lying down on mats and I thought, 'There is absolutely no way they will get me to relax'.
"I got down on the mat and Mudita has a very calming voice and as she started, I could feel myself drifting off... I just sort of went with it and it was like you'd been into outer space and I didn't want it to stop. That was amazing for me to relax like that - I didn't even want to get off the floor. I thought 'This is just what I need'."
Judging by the way everyone is taking the time to introduce themselves to the new arrival today when Peninsula Living visits, it is also a very welcoming group.
"Everyone is just so lovely and so positive. There's no negativity, nobody feels sorry for themselves, and everyone just helps everyone get through it. It's a really beautiful bond," Ms Woodley smiles.