At TreatNOW we are as passionate about health and wellbeing as we are about hair and beauty, and for this reason we were thrilled at the chance to speak with Katrin Jonas, an internationally working Holistic Therapist, about the unusual practice of Feldenkrais and her work with “BodyWareness”…
Can you please tell us a bit about your background? How exactly did “BodyWareness” begin?
It all started 20 years ago, my first profession was as a teacher in physical education at a school where I worked for 5 years teaching young children. I enjoyed it but always felt that there should be more, I needed more than to just give out marks. Especially as I found that the children who needed the most physical support were getting the worst marks. I was deeply interested in the body and how to feel well so I decided to create my own job as a physiotherapist instead of teaching. From there I worked in a rehabilitation hospital but I still longed for something more, I still didn’t feel fulfilled. I did go on learn other things and I have been trained in Ayurveda, Reflexology, Meditation and awareness techniques . But then I trained in Feldenkrais Method for 4 years with a trainer from Sweden. Feldenkrais Method (Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, 1904-84) is an effortless, awareness-based approach to the body that aims at the reorganisation of the neuromuscular system. Nowadays almost everyone is fighting with their body and I felt that this different approach could really work and it really did. After a while practising Feldenkrais in sessions and workshops I realised that what I was doing wasn’t really about the Feldenkrais Method but about a general attention based approach to the human organism, and that is where the term “BodyWareness” came from. “BodyWareness” is an inner tool that enables people how to deal with different demands on their body and themselves.
What services do you offer and is there a particular treatment that has proved really popular?
People mostly find me by recommendation, most of my clients say ‘go to Katrin’ and then they come in with a wide range of symptoms, stress related symptoms such as migraines, tiredness, sleeplessness, burnout, aches and pains and breathing problems. Treating people with the “Bodywareness” approach is not primarily about a symptom, instead we turn the attention inwards towards the root of the problem and that changes the understanding. In any treatment we firstly talk about the approach and what it is all about and in a hands-on session, I touch and move them on gently. There is more to it than fighting the symptoms – you have to engage and use the rest of the body. It is never really about the pain in the hip or neck or their tiredness, the symptom shows that the body needs something else, you need to nourish the body and give the body what it needs. It is a beautiful process to reconnect.
In terms of what I offer there is the basic module for everyone that most people try and that is the “Bodywareness” pure experience, which gives you the tools to tackle your wellbeing from within. Then there is the Business Module which is popular, especially here in London. It is developed specifically for people who are in very busy or demanding professions. They are shown how to calm the body and the mind. We also have “Bodywareness” high impact days where people travel and stay for a whole day. It is the full “Bodywareness” experience and is suitable for those who are at a turning point in their lives, such as mothers after giving birth, or someone who has lost a job.
What is Feldenkrais and what should TreatNOW blog reader know about it?
In a nutshell, it is a relearning of our natural functions which is completely different to any outer approach of how the body should be. It is a remembrance of how the body should be as “seen” through the “inner eyes” means how the body is felt using the inner perception. It is difficult to explain as one can only really experience it not talk about it. After the treatment people feel in tune with their body rather than seeing an outer image. The method itself was ahead of its time and has only been understood in the last 5 to 10 years. Now we can prove it in the brain which is powerful in showing its effectiveness as a treatment.
Do you personally follow any of your techniques and treatments?
Having an awareness of my body for myself is my inner playground, it has to be for me to do the work that I do, I can only give what I have developed inside myself. So if my body needs something I give it to it, no matter what my mind might say! I make it easy for my body to work for me in the way that I need it to. For example I fly a lot so I have to keep everything in check. I often do some awareness exercises on the aeroplane just to make sure that my body is happy. I am also a meditator and I bring that into my life too as often as I can.
What do you think is the biggest challenge people face in terms of ensuring their own wellbeing?
The most important challenge is stress. Not outer stress but the reaction that it garners, that inner stress reaction. For lots of people this can be very strong, so much so that their mind is constantly chattering because it is overloaded, they never step out of their mind thus the body is neglected. There needs to be a body mind balance. If your work during the day involves a lot of mental work then there needs to be a balance when you get home.What a lot of people do is try to discipline the body at the gym after work rather then freeing it. A tense body should not be trained in the first place but relaxed.
Do you have any exciting projects or events coming up?
I am working in four cities at the moment, Vienna, London, Munich and Zurich and putting on lots of sessions and workshops. More specifically for London I am bringing out an e-book “Meditation: Body Bliss & Inner Glow” which further explores the areas covered in the one-to-one meditation sessions I offer via TreatNOW, which essentially shows people how to have a more relaxed and rewarding meditation experience. Whoever I work with, I try to teach people how to make friends with their body.