Inner Awakening: Inspired practice of self-care and healthcare
Welcome! You are likely here because you are looking for solutions. You are motivated and ready to take steps to improve your situation… because where you are now is uncomfortable.
Let’s face it-- discomfort is a part of this human experience. Whether you are in pain or something just isn’t working right, your experience is letting you know a change is needed. My job is to help you figure out what change is needed so that you can take steps to reach your goals.
How uncomfortable do you need to be before you are ready to take the next step? It might be helpful to think of symptoms as the body’s primitive way of saying “something needs to change.” When it is not clear what changes are needed, it’s time to call in an expert. Sometimes it’s a bit like detective work in that I help to look, listen, and feel for clues that indicate what is needed for the body to restore optimal health. While I’m happy to consult on simple orthopedic cases, my unique specialties make me an expert in the complex mysteries of connective tissue disorders, dysautonomia, hypermobility-related chronic pain instability, and abdomino-pelvic health.
I’ve been managing injuries and conditions since the age of 12, when I first encountered physical therapy… as a patient. My physical therapists identified that hypermobility was contributing to my recurrent injuries and aches. Many years and misdiagnoses later, it was determined that my orthopedic, neurological, and GI symptoms were all signs of hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), a genetic connective tissue disorder that predisposes me to dysautonomia (a dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system) and other chronic conditions. Between my personal and professional experiences as a doctor of physical therapy and yoga therapist, I’ve learned a lot about caring for injuries and medical conditions.
Empathy, curiosity, and creativity are tools that I use daily in order to make sense of the medical mysteries I encounter. Sometimes to move forward we need a healthy dose of perspective, and the view that I’ve adopted is that every injury/condition I’ve experienced has allowed me to learn, grow, and connect with others.
Whether you have an acute injury or a chronic condition, it can be a daunting hardship…
...or a journey of growth, self-inquiry, and profound learning that fosters resilience and adaptation.
Observing these extremes in myself and my clients keeps me committed to self-care and healthcare that inspires a path of curiosity, compassion, and life-long learning.
I hope you will consider joining me in learning from our challenges, embracing our obstacles as teachers, and taking meaningful action toward health and an improved experience of healthcare.
Moving beyond the view of symptoms-as-problems and stepping into an inspired practice of self-care and healthcare considers:
- Your preferences and personality
- Your goals and desires
- Your priorities and commitments
- How different pieces of the puzzle fit together and how to nurture your whole self
- Evidence that may indicate the most effective options for reaching your goals
- Your connections and support networks, including the rapport you develop with your care team
- Advocating for yourself and your needs
- A sustainable plan for ongoing self-care and wellness
If you are a healthcare or wellness professional, an Inspired Practice may include:
- Keeping yourself healthy and nourished so that you can care for others
- Developing practices that allow you to recharge and stay inspired
- Committing to ongoing learning so that you are confident in your ability to offer effective solutions
- Mindfulness of your own internal state and any self-care you need in order to be present for your clients and facilitate their wellness
- Nourishing the human connection in your professional interactions
You’ll find I offer a variety of services to support your journey to discover an Inspired Practice that meets your needs. From in-person physical therapy or therapeutic yoga to online health coaching and educational courses, I look forward to connecting with you and supporting your growth.
Dr. Catherine Lewan
This instructor is great! I will be taking more courses with her. She has the ability to communicate information in an interesting manner. I think this is the best instructor I have ever taken a (continuing education) class with!
– Janet L
Catherine tailors her classes to the needs of participants of all ages and conditions. She uses props to enhance each movement, and modifications that offer me the opportunity to take care of my body using weekly Pilates and Yoga group classes. I also see her in the clinic for treatment of my arthritis, and I have found her expertise, respect for the human body and her personal centeredness to be an extraordinary resource.
Catherine is a natural teacher. When I take her yoga class it is as if she is talking to me personally (even when the room is full). She is so in-tune with how the body works – or isn’t working. Catherine tells us to be gentle to our bodies. She eases us into the class with gentle pranayama and then takes us through asanas that always magically warm us up to the climax of the class (modified for different levels always). But this is where her Physical Therapy expertise shines through: Catherine knows the body so well. Her knowledge of the body as well as the anatomy of the pose means that you will experience asana in a new way, every time.
I’ve been seeing Dr. Cat for about 5 months for pelvic floor physical therapy (after working for ~2 years on and off with other physical therapists previously). Dr. Cat truly has taught me so much about my whole body and the power of the mind-body connection. I had been living with pelvic floor dysfunction/vaginismus for basically my entire life, and it wasn’t until seeing her that I felt like I could play an equal role in my own treatment. Dr. Cat always listened to my priorities and needs in our sessions. She helped me notice so many smaller “wins” and did a great job connecting those changes to my long-term goals. I have such a deeper understanding of the factors that can influence pain in my pelvic floor (as well as other parts of my body that are directly connected, like my hips, back, abdominals, glutes, and thighs). My treatment has consistently felt personalized, dynamic, and unique to my individual needs as a patient. Dr. Cat has encouraged me to honor my own body and focus on the work that kept me motivated and feeling positive toward my treatment outcomes. She also provided me with recommendations to other specialists when issues came up that felt outside of her scope of practice, which played a huge role in my success as a patient. Pelvic floor therapy is a treatment that really relies on trusting and respecting your therapist, and I would highly recommend Dr. Cat as a member for anyone’s pelvic floor team. My pain during sex/sexual activities has decreased significantly since I started working with Dr. Cat, and I feel so much more in control of my body and choices thanks to my treatment with her!
Catherine kept the material fun to learn throughout the whole day! She is an impressive presenter! The whole course was well organized and had great handouts.
– Anna L
I took a course from you a couple years ago about using pilates/yoga with geriatric patients. You presented the material in a smooth, understandable, and engaging way. I was just getting into yoga at the time, and you helped spur me onward into that wonderful realm. I am currently going over, again, the workbook from that course. Just wanted you to know that you helped to re-energize an old physical therapist’s practice of his profession, and continue to influence in a very positive way the outcomes of all my patient interactions. I offer you my sincere gratitude.
Catherine and her class (the environment she creates) are great examples of warmth and competence in action. Catherine is open, kind, gracious, generous, smart and very good at what she does.
Catherine is very engaging, passionate about getting her message across, and has a good sense of humor. Her course was fun and useful.
I have worked with Catherine after each of my vaginal births, and also during one of my pregnancies. Her knowledge of the body’s systems is unparalleled. Each time I met with Catherine, I had multiple new tools and realizations about myself to work with on my own. She helped me heal from a mild bladder prolapse and reduce my diastasis recti to a subclinical level. I refer patients to Catherine on a weekly basis because I know she will have some ideas and skills to impart to just about anyone imaginable! Thank you, Catherine!
– Lela Beem, studio owner Grateful Yoga of Evanston, co-founder of The Amala School of Prenatal Yoga