Dr. Cat teaches hybrid live/online classes that offer trauma-sensitive, accessible and practical application of evidence-informed techniques that support healing and wellness. Her teaching integrates elements of mindful self-compassion, mindfulness-based movement, applied polyvagal theory and integrative restoration (i-Rest) for an experience that goes beyond the physical poses to explore the many layers (koshas) of being human.
While not a replacement for individualized medical care, Dr. Cat’s classes are designed to prime the neuroimmune system for optimal healing and neuroplasticity, which may be used as an adjunct therapy and have symbiotic effects.
By practicing with a community of like-minded individuals, social engagement and mammalian oxytocinergic networks are activated. The human mind evolved to perceive safety in numbers, and simply being with a group can engage safety signals that counterbalance threat messages and dampen protective mechanisms like pain, anxiety/hypervigilance, or hyper-immune responses. Virtual options are offered so that those at home can still access benefits of practicing with a community. Feel free to reach out if you have any concerns about whether or not these classes are a good fit for your needs.
***classes are offered in-person at 5428 N Clark St, Chicago and virtually via zoom
***All in-person students must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
Please register in advance at https://yogatreechicago.com/zenplanner.com, anyone who hasn’t registered will not be guaranteed a spot in class and will be admitted only if space permits. If you have any issues registering, please contact
Restorative Yoga Sundays 4:30-5:30pm
Explore practices that facilitate a parasympathetic shift into rest-digest-restore, allowing the body-mind to recover from challenges and restore optimal functioning. Gentle movements increase blood flow, sensory awareness and allow for a release of muscle tension. Supported restorative postures are held for several minutes while participants are guided through breathing, imagery, mindful self-compassion and observation of body sensation, thought and emotion as a practice of self-inquiry (svadhyaya) and relaxation. In restorative yoga, the focus is not on perfecting alignment or technique, but rather to find what feels right in the moment and connect to one’s own inner wisdom. As such, options will be presented so that participants can explore variations of the practices and discover what allows them to best access a state of restorative ease.*
*Props are used for supported restorative poses and to modify active poses to meet individual needs, so those participating from home are encouraged to have access to blankets, cushions/bolsters, a yoga strap or long towel and yoga blocks (or sturdy books.)
Previous yoga workshops/CE offerings include the following. Please contact Dr. Cat if you have an interest in running/hosting one of these specialty workshops:
Finding Balance in Your Practice
Ever wonder why you wobble? Join Catherine to learn the physiology of balance, and how a certain amount of wobble is a good sign you are appropriately challenging yourself! This workshop will explore the mechanisms that allow us to sense our bodies in space and stay centered and balanced as we move through a physical yoga practice and through life. Beginner through advanced balance challenges will be provided so that all participants can safely challenge and strengthen their balance as part of a yoga practice.
Catherine helps you to create a safe space for this practice by helping you understand how balance works so that you can choose intelligent and appropriately challenging modifications. By getting grounded in your body, as often as possible, you can train your brain to be less reactive over time.
Explore yogic tools for managing fear of falling and identify parameters for a safe and effective practice to improve your sense of steadiness. Be prepared for an all-level practice utilizing dharana (concentration, focus,) pratyahara (withdrawal of senses) and creative application of asana (physical poses.)
Core and Pelvic Floor
This workshop is designed for those who are interested in learning how yoga practices can support the pelvic floor and core. Catherine will de-mystify the pelvic floor by reviewing its anatomy and physiology, and helping you understand how it supports the health of the following systems:
- urinary health and continence
- regular elimination of toxins
- core strength and prevention of low back or pelvic pain
- support for internal organs and prevention of pelvic organ prolapse
This workshop is appropriate for all levels, and for pre/postnatal participants. No previous yoga experience required, just bring an open mind, your core and your pelvic floor!
Physiology of Breath
Breath is quite literally our life force– it nourishes us and keeps us alive. You may think that you already know the in’s and out’s of breathing (pun intended,) but inefficient breathing is widespread and contributes to abnormal mechanics, stiffness, tension, anxiety and pain. Research shows that Yogic breathing can improve pulmonary function, blood pressure, fatigue, cognitive function, anxiety and stress. This workshop will highlight breath physiology and pranayama techniques as they relate to one’s ability to:
- calm or excite the central nervous system, depending on the breath technique (pranayama) used
- improve posture/alignment and the ability to activate core muscles to improve support for joints and balance
- improve mobility throughout the thoracic spine and rib cage, thus reducing abnormal wear and at the low back, neck, and shoulder
Changing the Pain Game– Neuroscience, Mindfulness and iRest Yoga Nidra
iRest is a form of guided meditation that was developed by yogic scholar and clinical psychotherapist Richard Miller, Ph.D., who is a co-founder of the International Association of Yoga Therapists. In clinical research trials, iRest has been shown to significantly reduce symptoms of chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia, post-traumatic stress, trauma, and addiction. Catherine has found it to be an incredibly transformative practice that informs her work in the clinic and as a yoga therapist. This workshop includes:
Catherine also teaches specialty women’s health classes/workshops on an as-needed basis. Contact her if you have a group that is interested in Prenatal or Postnatal Yoga or Pilates.
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 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.
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!
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.
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.