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Spiral Bound explores the potential for yoga as a healing modality by examining the body’s anatomical structure as it has evolved embryonically. With a light touch approach, Karen Kirkness weaves together threads of development to see how our morphological constraints arise in the earliest moments of life, and how this rotation lays the spiral groundwork for rotational kinematics that encompass all tissue. She links theory to practice in a conversational style, richly illustrated with full color photographs and drawings that bring biomotion to life for yoga teachers and therapists and yoga practitioners.

Karen Kirkness explains her passion for making anatomy accessible…

I put my heart and soul and then some into this book, and my message to you through this work: anatomy is accessible. Anatomy is actually a living science that emerges through each of us, and our bodies are interconnected with nature through the filamentous structure. In time, we can learn to tap into that inner wisdom so that, with practice, we may reinforce the directives of nature that originally shape our body plans. This book brings together basic embryology with kinesiology to offer a practical movement guide called the Five Filaments. I’m talking about spirals that flow within organismic constraints – how our human bodies form in development shapes the way we move as adults. It’s easy! Like when you bake bread, the shape of the loaf is determined by how you mould the dough as you put it into the oven. I am so passionate about the growing evidence base behind biotensegrity because it is encouraging us to systematically upgrade all the nomenclature and dogma that keeps us locked in conflict, especially for us teachers of movement.

Learn more about Karen’s teaching at

Chapter 1:  Across anatomy

Chapter 2:  The Five Filaments

Chapter 3:  Srotas-kinematics (tubular movement)

Chapter 4:  Kinematics come to life

Chapter 5:  Acoustics of self

Appendix A:  Yoga’s missing link

Appendix B:  Nonlinear teaching

Online Chapter:  Reflection and growth: spiral shareera

Additional information

Publish Date Sep-21 (UK) & Oct-21 (USA)
ISBN 978-1-912085-03-3
Pages 280
Binding Paperback
Dimensions 234x184 mm
Illustrations 131 color drawings & photographs

Author biography

Karen Kirkness MFA, MSc, E-RYT 500, is an artist and yoga anatomy investigator holding two masters degrees, one in fine art and the other a master of science in human anatomy. Karen’s drawing and conceptual work revolve around body culture and somaesthetics.

American by birth and now based in Edinburgh, Scotland, Karen founded her own yoga studio, Meadowlark Yoga, in 2005. Karen started practicing yoga while studying arts & sciences for her bachelor’s degree at the University of Central Florida, in 1999. She studied Ashtanga yoga with the late Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in Mysore in 2003 and continues researching the power of inter-lineage yoga through daily personal practice.

Karen is fascinated with how art and architecture inform science. She is passionate about play, flexible working hours, and the adaptation of not-for-profit social enterprise. After over 15 years of yoga practice, Karen spent a year in the dissection lab learning about human anatomy at the University of Edinburgh. Her fascination with subtle body concepts comes together with art and anatomy to make her workshops fun, informative, and inspiring.

Karen guest-teaches workshops and trainings internationally, including the trainings at her home studio, and the 40 Hour Cadaveric Anatomy for Yoga course in partnership with the University of Edinburgh. She served as yoga presenter on the Neuro Yoga panel exploring the relationship between conventional neuroscience and yoga practice as part of several science festivals in Scotland. She is a member of the Anatomical Society and has presented in recent years at the International Symposium of Clinical and Applied Anatomists (ISCAA).

Get in touch with Karen’s work through her website

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