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. Or if you are a healthcare/wellness professional, to provide resources that help your clients reach their goals.
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 help with simple orthopedic or pelvic floor cases, my unique specialties make me an expert in chronic pain, connective tissue disorders, dysautonomia, hypermobility-related chronic pain/instability, and abdomino-pelvic pain.
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.
I'm well-versed in a variety of techniques and approaches and am willing to explore a lot of options to find what works best for my clients. Current evidence indicates that the techniques we use don't matter nearly as much as the process of feeling heard, understood, and supported as you learn about your body's ability to intelligently adapt to challenges and restore health and wellness.
My approach to rehabilitation and wellness honors the complexity of the human experience, often called a biopsychosocial approach. Essentially, we are so much more than mechanical physical bodies and our health and healing is influenced by all aspects of our selves, not just the biomechanical bits. Our thoughts, emotions, relationships, habits and behaviors all have the potential to shift our physiology. An integrative, holistic approach offers many different ways to influence our own physiology! By changing up the inputs and even how the nervous system processes data, we can get a different output. For a quick and accessible resource that helps the user reframe pain as a complex output of the brain, I recommend The Protectometer: a guidebook to Explain Pain by Lorimer Moseley and David Butler, or Greg Lehman's free e-book on pain recovery strategies (a bit longer, but either is worth the investment in your health!)
You’ll find I offer a variety of services to support your journey toward health and resiliency. 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.
Excellent speaker with a nice balance of lecture, lab, and shared case scenarios.
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.
If you are looking for a solid, intense workout lead by a positive, passionate, and totally well-informed instructor, you need to attend Catherine Lewan’s classes. As a dedicated yoga student of Catherine’s for over 5 years, I can attest she has positively changed my life. She shows you the way to think about your body in a different perspective and provides the instructions on how to make it better. She has variety in each class, gives excellent queues, hands-on adjustments (at your discretion), and insightful thoughts to help you with truly understanding the practice of yoga. Best of all, she loves life and it shows.
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
Catherine is an energetic, bright, and passionate facilitator. She makes class fun and enjoyable!
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 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.
Catherine has a very effective style, and is open to questions. She is very knowledgable, with good visuals, hands-on instruction, and example exercises. Great course! Thank you!
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.