An Interview with Restorative Health Expert, Johdi Woodford

Johdi! I’m so excited to have you here today, thank you for joining us. 

1. So, first of all, tell us about your journey! What led you to this point?  


If you’ve ever read the book The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho, this will resonate because, just as in that story about a little boy who has to travel the globe in search of the meaning of his life, only to find that it’s right back where he started out, and was right in front of him all the time, my journey is similar: Everything movement-related came easily to me, and from being young, I was singled out for my sporting achievements. 


When I was wondering what kind of career would suit me, my mum suggested that I go to the University of Cape Town to study Human Movement. I was in Zimbabwe at the time, and going to the country right next door to study something seemingly so basic wasn’t appealing to the globe-trotter in me, so I chose instead to go the UK where I studied Media, French and European Studies with a view to becoming who- knows- what, but it felt daring and exotic at the time! I graduated and proceeded to have 7 different jobs between 2002 and 2011. 


Sometimes I was choosing the change, and sometimes I was getting caught up and then spat out by the changes. I often felt like a square plug in a round hole, and one day I took a psychometric test which told me that I was in exactly the right place and that the Internal Communications role that I had at the time within a Swiss Private Bank, was the epitome of my evolution. I was … p***ed! I thought, ‘hell no, there has to be more than this’, and so I went searching for what was missing in my professional life, and lo and behold, I found my calling in Human Movement. My long-suffering mum would roll her eyes to this day at the irony of it all! 


So, having been a long-time acolyte of Pilates, I trained to become a Pilates teacher, got qualified and began teaching that far and wide in my area, but it quite hit the spot, so then I studied clinical and rehabilitative Pilates, and began working closely with physios, but that wasn’t quite deep enough, in that I still wasn’t getting the results I wanted for my clients, so then I started studying Neurokinetic Therapy (NKT), and that started to hit the spot as it combined the anatomical precision I was looking for in order to be able to locate the source of my client’s pain, as well as the long-lasting results that I knew my clients craved because it works with the Motor Control System of the brain to repattern for good the faulty kinetic chains that are responsible for the discomfort – it works like magic and is such a valuable tool to have! So I’m continuing with that still, and have added on other speciality trainings alongside the NKT to be able to bring as multi disciplinary an approach as possible to my clients. It also helps that it keeps my intellectual hyperactivity at bay if I’ve got a variety of methods to use in each session.  

  1. What has been your biggest achievement? 


I think getting the NKT qualifications as I found the process challenging; it’s lots of hard core anatomy to learn, then you have to be able to recall it on- the- spot with a client. You also have to be able to locate the different muscles within the human body, and we’re all unique, so the neat theoretical imagery you see in the textbooks gets decidedly more complicated as it rarely translates directly to the human you have in front of you! And then, you have to know how to apply the knowledge to get the client results. 


Also I started studying it in early 2017 so my kids were 18months, 4 and 9 at the time. I was running a Pilates and Yoga studio which I founded in 2014, and I hardly had time to take a pee to be honest! But I was really determined to get at least the first level of NKT under my belt, so I would get up at 5am and study for a good 90 minutes or so until the rest of the family woke up. It was intense and gruelling at times, but well worth it! 

  1. What’s the biggest result you help your clients to achieve?  


I specialize in helping women and non-conforming genders to get strong in their body, slim in their jeans and serene in their mind, and, as I work 1:1 with my clients, my programmes are all totally made-to-measure for my clients. And that’s something I love! I get to work very intimately with a small number of clients at a time. 


We work systematically and progressively together to get them out of a place where they feel fat, frumpy and seriously frustrated for a variety of reasons that are completely unique to them, to a place where they not only feel totally clear and confident, but they know how to move, eat and behave so they continue to look and feel great with the simple, sustainable systems that we’ve built.  It’s a very effective approach and I like to think of it as aging backwards as my clients look and feel younger and younger as the work progresses!

  1. What would be your biggest piece of advice for readers who want to achieve the same?  


Steer well away from the all-encompassing, quick-fix-touting, scare-mongering, so-called experts. To truly enjoy long-lasting results, people need to cut through the noise and conflicting opinions by getting trusted, professional advice that is uniquely-tailored to their specific context and personality.

Luana Ribeira

Luana Ribeira is a best selling author, international speaker and host of business Innovators Radio.