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
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.
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
Excellent speaker with a nice balance of lecture, lab, and shared case scenarios.
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!
As a 60-year-old, I want to keep my body strong and moving freely for many years to come. The core work I’ve done as a student in Cat’s class has changed my body, made me stronger, increased my body awareness, and reduced my back pain. She brings a sparkly energy and creative approach to every class, and always seems to find a great balance between work hard and feel good. When I needed to do a round of physical therapy, it was great to be able to see Cat, a highly trained and caring physical therapist that already knew my body, and could keep an eye on me in class once my PT was over.
Catherine is very engaging, passionate about getting her message across, and has a good sense of humor. Her course was fun and useful.
I worked with Catherine when I broke my collar bone. She treated me for the muscles and movement around the break, but also helped me recover areas of strength that I had neglected because I was protecting the area around my collar bone. She helped me discover that I wasn’t using my back muscles properly to carry my baby. Her method incorporated pilates, yoga asana and strengthening exercises in addition to manual therapy. I was very worried about returning to yoga and never thought I would be able to do down-dog again. She helped me feel confident in my body again.
I have taken classes, workshops, and private sessions with Catherine, and find her to be very knowledgable, present, and sincerely interested in helping each student to reach their own potential. Her teaching is clear, based on science as well as experience. She has a strong ‘body sense’ and loves to challenge her own limits and will challenge you to be your own best self!
Catherine is an energetic, bright, and passionate facilitator. She makes class fun and enjoyable!