When I first heard that my favorite Kundalini Yoga teacher, Anne Novak, was leading an online e-course about understanding and healing pain on Spirit Voyage’s new interactive platform Kundalini Yoga U, I immediately thought, “What kind of pain? Physical pain or emotional pain?”

Well, it turns out the answer is: ANY KIND OF PAIN!

That’s because Anne (and Lorimer Moseley, whose body of work illustrated in this Ted Talk, has influenced Anne’s approach) believe that you must become a master of understanding the psychology of pain and your minds’ role in pain.

She has created this course by blending her experience as a physical therapist, Kundalini Yoga teacher, and hypnotherapist with her personal experience with pain and lifelong research, to create a program that helps you answer the question “What do I do now?” Anne provides tangible and visceral answers, experienced directly in the body, so that you actually feel yourself overcoming the pain.

Anne Novak helped me to find the root of my pain in her guided mediations. Her approach is very warm, friendly, and gentle yet explicit, firm, and direct. I was genuinely able to identify the location of the pain in my body, and the past emotional pain that was keeping me attached to that pain.

I’m still working on this, and every time I practice yoga with Anne, I break through more blocks, diving into myself deeper and feeling freer and freer from my pain.anne-kate-alice

An interesting story: When I first began regularly practicing Kundalini Yoga, I stumbled into a healing circle on Winter Solstice led by Anne. This was a very unique experience for me, and I wasn’t yet a full “believer” in the power of Kundalini Yoga at the time. But, I did believe in God and Spirit, and I knew how to pray. So, during this intense Ra Ma Da Sa chant, in a dimly lit room full of people reciting mantra with their eyes closed, I prayed and meditated for what seemed like a very long time. At the end of this intense session, I felt healed.

At the end of the healing circle, I saw a woman walk up to Anne with a newborn baby. The baby was so young and tiny. If I had noticed her baby in the beginning of class, I probably would have left because I was still deeply depressed and distraught after my own pregnancy loss just five months prior.

Instead, I sat on my yoga mat in a “blissed out state,” and I watched Anne embrace the mother and child. Immediately, the negative mind set in, but then just as quickly, I tapped in my tool kit that Anne had taught me, and I healed myself in that moment. I said to myself, “That’s going to be me one day.” 

Sure enough, a week later, I found out I was pregnant again. Anne Novak was the third person with whom I shared the news, only after telling my husband and mom.

Then, the doctor shared with me that the odds of my baby having a chromosomal abnormality were very high. They told me early on to prepare for the worst.

So, there I was, pregnant again, maybe going to have a baby, maybe going to have to terminate the pregnancy, or maybe lose it naturally. I was still kind of depressed. It was the dead of winter, and I was living at an all boy’s boarding school. I felt like I had no friends. At the time, I didn’t have any female friends my own age in the area, and I was very lonely.

So, I just kept going to Kundalini Yoga with Anne Novak and stretching my body to change my mindset. What else could I do? I knew I had to make a change, get to know myself, heal my pain, hope for the best, tap into the divine, and pray for a miracle baby.

I truly believe that my commitment to addressing the root of my pain, working through my past, forgiving the people that were mean to me, letting go, and opening up to receive healing created the healthy environment in utero that gave my daughter the best chance for survival. And now, she is a happy and healthy little girl.

I know that doesn’t make sense medically. But, some things can’t be explained by science, medical doctors, research, or other people’s stories.

Anne Novak and Kate HerbertThinking back to my own personal experience as Anne’s student, I remember that I started going to Anne’s class because of emotional pain. I learned that it might be difficult for me to have children naturally and that I had a balanced translocation. So, since my situation was so overtly sad, I would say that I realized the emotional pain in my body first and made the choice to start meditating to find a way through the block.

At the time, I was so sad that I wasn’t really functional, and I certainly wasn’t functioning as my authentic happy self. I was confused, stuck, and wrapped up in the tragic loss of my unborn baby. I was also reliving the memories of the surgery, the day we found out, and how the news about my genetic abnormality was delivered — all dramatic and tragic.

While I initially went to Anne to address this emotional pain and suffering in my mind, the exercises made me aware of the physical pain I was holding in my body. Things arose that were more than the typical aches and pains after a hard workout. I started to bring awareness to the chronic pain I had been living with all of my life in my spine and neck. In particular, I realized how tight I was holding up my arms, neck and my upper back. I realized I was living with varying degrees of chronic pain in my back and simply taking OTC medication regularly to cope.

Before healing my emotional pain, my physical pain wasn’t even in the forefront of my mind.

This back pain stems from a car accident in high school, where I was seriously injured as a passenger in the back seat. We were hit from the side coming home from cross country practice on a rainy fall morning. I have hairline fractures in my spine. I am developing my core strength through yoga but I am also working on my mindset with Anne. I realized that I also carry rage, resentment and self-doubt in their area of my body.

While I have made great strides, and Anne Novak has supported me in completely changing my life and starting a family, I am still on the journey to heal my emotional and physical pain. That’s why I’m signing up for Anne’s course. If you’re experiencing pain your life, I highly encourage you to trust Anne and join me in this program. You will not regret it!




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