Ten Minutes With a Pain Reliever
Anne Novak uses her experience to help others
Anne Novak has lived in Litchfield County for over 30 years. As a teenager she sustained an injury that led to an interest in studying how people experience and release the sensation of pain. Every week in Woodbury, a devoted group of students take her Kundalini yoga classes. She travels the world, dedicated to helping others understand the nature of the mind-body connection
What is Kundalini yoga and how is it different than more main-stream yoga such as Hatha and Iyengar?
It’s actually becoming much more mainstream these days and is quite accessible. Kundalini yoga is an ancient form of yoga that was developed over thousands of years with the objective of awakening one to the fullest potential of what it means to be human. There is more of an emphasis on emotional release and personal transformation. You’ll see a lot of the same movements and postures, but you’ll have a number of additional practices peppered in as well, including breathing exercises, dynamic and repetitive movements, along with some chanting of mantras. Another distinction is that, most of the time, we have our eyes closed. I find that this tends to draw my focus inward, allowing me to tend to my inner world.
What drew you to Kundalini?
I worked for years with people rehabilitating their physical challenges, injuries and chronic pain, and I found that often certain things couldn’t be released, fully healed, or would recur. When I began to practice Kundalini yoga in New York City many years ago, I realized the incredible potential of the practice with my clients, because of the psychological and emotional components of pain. I saw such great results that I began to integrate Kundalini yoga into my work more and more. I have now been teaching for almost 20 years in both public classes and private sessions.
What is your personal experience with pain?
As a teenager, I had an athletic injury which sent me to a physical therapist for a few months. Even after the initial injury had healed, I would still experience pain in my body on and off over the years. I became extremely interested in the nature of pain, and in an effort to heal myself and help others, I studied physical therapy and also became a hypnotherapist. I’ve spent my life studying how people experience and release the sensation of pain.
How do you help people suffering with physical and emotional pain?
I help people understand the nature of the mind-body connection, as well as the neuroscience of pain. All of us can be powerful healers for ourselves when we have that awareness. I also specialize in working with people who suffer from anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
How can we take your class?
I teach at the community center at New Morning Market in Woodbury several times a week and also see private students locally in my studio and at a distance via skype. I have an e-course on healing pain available online as well as a Kundalini yoga DVD called Kundalini Yoga for Radiant Health and Authentic Happiness.