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What People Are Saying About Spiral Bound


Prof Dr. Andry Vleeming

World Congress on low back and pelvic girdle pain

"I really enjoyed reading this book. It offers good reading and especially beautiful images to support very well-researched views, presented in a conversational tone that I know readers in fascia will not want to miss. Well done!”

Jules Mitchell

Author, Yoga Biomechanics: Stretching Redefined

"Every student of anatomy eventually discovers the story lies in the inclusion of other disciplines: biomechanics, embryology, evolution, phenomenology, to name a few. Karen artfully blends these branches of knowledge with the subtle body to introduce an expansive way of thinking about anatomy. Her work is a journey into the experience of moving, breathing, and being."

Yashodha Govindaraju

yoga practitioner

“Karen approaches the interweaving of gross and subtle in a captivating way, highlighting the connections between ideas with such curiosity and openness. It has and will continue to change the way I look at movement.”

Rachel Tudor

“In a clear, precise and conversational way, Karen guides us on a journey into our spiraling selves, shining a light on why this is of the utmost importance for any movement modality.”

Jaap van der Wal

Phenomenologist, Morphologist and Embryologist

"This book builds a bridge between the outdated classical biomechanical anatomy and the concept of human posture and movement as a holistic manifestation of a self-organizing and shaping organism.

The subtitle of this book rightly speaks of a new anatomy, a trans-anatomically oriented architectural anatomy, an "integrated anatomy." With that, this book is not only an enrichment for yoga-oriented people but is warmly recommended for anyone who really wants to delve into what moves us. And that is spirit."

Karyn Stillwell

"Karen's dynamic teachings are imbued with intelligence, humor, experience, and an infectious energy that I adore. She's extraordinary!"

Carol M. Davis, DPT, EdD, MS, FAPTA

Professor Emerita, University of Miami School of Medicine
Myofascial Release Physical Therapist and Teacher
Author and Editor: Integrated Therapies in Rehabilitation/Evidence of Efficacy in Therapy, Prevention and Wellness

"I recommend this book for serious yoga educators and practitioners, and all who want an in-depth illustrated manual of how the embryo becomes a living, spiraling manifested mystery."

Olivia Kampe

Pilates Teacher

"To truly understand movement, you need to know how we are formed. The book Spiral bound by Karen Kirkness is mind blowing! There is no other book like this out there, it takes you from the beginning, and it will forever change the way you look at your own movement and how you help your clients. Absolutely stunning work!"

Mercedes (Didi) von Deck, MD

Orthopaedic surgeon, Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery

Ashtanga Yoga Teacher (Director of Down Under Yoga Mysore Ashtanga Program)

Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner

"Karen Kirkness has created a trailblazing paradigm of human anatomy that explains why yoga has such profound impact on body, mind and spirit.  She provides a brilliant new model of anatomy that will transform how you experience and view yourself.  Reading this book will absolutely elevate your yoga practice.  By clarifying the mysteries of how changing the shapes and movements of the physical body fine tunes our energies, Kirkness offers an approach that will provide practitioners a way to better harness the benefits of yoga practice and gives all those who specialize in teaching human movement a framework to offer instruction that really works."

Graham Scarr

Author of Biotensegrity: The Structural Basis of Life

"This book will shake you to the core. It is about anatomy and yoga but not in the way we usually think about them. This is no fusty list of time-honoured descriptions and impossible poses but a deep insight into the living body and how it moves the way it does. As an experienced teacher/practitioner of both anatomy and yoga, Karen challenges traditional thinking, introduces new ideas and integrates her subjects into a seamless whole. She pulls them apart before blending a story that comes out of her own life philosophy and will enthral the reader with its details.

Yoga postures are examined in relation to the historical narrative and anatomy that underlies them, and are beautifully illustrated with Karen’s own photos and drawings. Along the way, she pulls in embryology, natural geometry, biotensegrity and more, all of which can be explored even further with the online version. Spirals are a fundamental motif in nature and make this book an important resource for every practitioner, no matter what their speciality. It is sprinkled with humour that jumps out at the reader in surprising moments of revelation and is full of “witchy, antipatriarchal, and nerdy rebellion…” What could be a better place to start from?"

Dena Kingsberg

International speaker, author and Yoga Educator.
Ashtanga yoga Nilayam Mysore India.

"The practice of yoga begins with a conscious and experiential relationship with the body both structurally and energetically, ultimately exposing our nature as ever-changing, organic, rhythmical, structured yet fluid, interconnected and spiral bound. Karen Kirkness brings yoga anatomy to life by focusing on rhythmic cascades of rotation at all size scales (starting with the embryo). This beautifully presented book offers insights that are born of discovery through experience, demonstrating that our bodies are inter- and intra- connected via the couplings found throughout Nature. Both fascinating and digestible this book is an invaluable learning tool."

Mark Flannigan

Neuromuscular Therapist 
Exercise Scientist 

“All I can say is...Its excellent!! In today's world of scientific advancements, paradigm shifts and changes to underlying assumptions, Karen’s clarity and questioning of the current biomechanical model resonates loudly. This is not just a yoga book but a clearly referenced anatomical journal of movement, which has now become my go-to book for all things fascia, embryology and their spiral connection. 

In simple terms...After 30 years of involvement in exercise and movement anatomy ...This book answers questions that I didn't know had to be asked..!” 

Elise Hill

Ayurvedic Counsellor

"Spiral Bound is not a mere translation of ancient ayurvedic concepts into modern anatomical terminology, but a pioneering exploration of the relationship between subtle & gross that makes for essential reading by anatomists, ayurvedic practitioners and yoga teachers alike." 

Hayley Winter

Founder of the Institute of Yoga Sports Science®, MSc, BWY Dip, E-RYT 500, YACEP

“The value of Karen’s work to our yoga teaching community shines an important light on how we can enliven the beautiful matrix within us through subtly. Her depth of knowledge of the subject matter and her creative approach to bring this to life makes it an important book for our times.”

Bruce Mackay

Director Yoga Alliance Professionals

"Karen is a rare breed of exceptional teachers who takes complex topics and delivers them in a simple, fun and enticing manner that leaves you craving more. Like all Karen's teachings, this is a MUST HAVE book for all yoga teachers and practitioners.”

Joanne Merritt

Former Team GB cyclist, Yoga & Pilates Practitioner

"Karen's real skill, along with her incredible depth of knowledge and enthusiasm on all things anatomy and yoga-related, is her ability to communicate that knowledge and enthusiasm at all levels. From small children to athletes, to people struggling in life to highly successful individuals and to the highest echelons of the yoga World. Everyone benefits from her presence and her teachings. The book is a real testimony to her dedication and life long work in furthering yoga anatomy understanding."

Thomas Meyers

Author of Anatomy Trains

"Karen Kirkness has written a highly individual and intensely interesting book. If you have not been exposed to the "new" anatomy, Karen will definitely expand yoru concepts about our unfolding life-long dance between stability and mobility."

Mihai Bob M.D. Ph.D

Lecturer of Human Anatomy and Embryology at the "Iuliu Hatieganu" University of Medicine and Pharmacy Cluj Napoca, Romania

"This book is, for me as medical doctor, anatomy lecturer and relentless student of health sciences, a statement of what (very soon to be) Doctor of Philosophy Karen Kirkness has involuntarily demonstrated to anyone having the privilege to know her: bravely genuine, intelligent and educated beyond the elusive point where caring and nurturing become second nature, with endless positive attitude and finest wit. 'Spiral Bound' has challenged, humbled and inspired my understanding of anatomy and embryology, as it serves a cause beyond its progressive scope and [spoiler alert] is a revolution in its own right."

Caroline Phipps-Urch

Vice Chair Yoga Scotland

“This book will be valued by all somatic practitioners. It expands the understanding of the human form, from its embryological foundations to how these inform our movement. For yoga practitioners, Karen’s detailed exploration of the Five Filaments, supports the interconnection and continuity of a yoga practice reflecting yoga philosophy and Dhatu Siddhanta from Ayurveda.”

Janet Philp

Anatomy Fundamentals @anatomyfoundations

"It has been a joy to follow Karen on her mission to spiral together established anatomy and the understanding of the subtle body.  It will produce a better understanding of functional anatomy for everyone involved with the human form.  The book is written in a colloquial language that pulls you in and explains complicated concepts in bite sized pieces."

Aimee Alexandra Schmidt 

Cranio-Sacral Therapist, Pilates Practitioner & Yoga Teacher

"Karen is a phenomenal anatomy and yoga teacher. Her in-depth understanding of anatomical structures and her passion for the innate intelligence of the human body makes her a constant source of inspiration in my anatomy studies. Her work is particularly suited for anyone interested in putting the nuances of anatomy into motion thus enabling them to weave her teachings into their practice. Highly recommended!"

Nadine Watton

Co-director of Meadowlark Yoga YTT programme

"In the ten years I have been working with Karen as fellow teachers and teacher trainers in yoga, we have explored asana and philosophy at every level of detail for our manuals  We continue to strive to raise our game to learn more and deliver rich, coherent content to our trainees and students.

Karen’s work and teaching has taken the study of anatomical function to a whole new level for me. Our conversations come to life on these pages and this is a pure delight. The discussion of the Five Filaments movement rubric in it’s simple, elegant form is perfection – the way it is broken down into simple, practical language is so useful. A gift for yoga teachers and movement therapists to cue rotation in movement for every level of experience."

Ana Outsubo

SĂŁo Paulo, Brazil

“Sensitively written, with an admirable understanding of movement and body.

This book provides clarity, it is insightful and engaging. Well done Karen!”

Wilbour Kelsick

Maxfit Movement Institute

"My goal as a clinician is to promote the well-being of my clients, not merely to service their performance needs as athletes. In order to see the bigger picture, I have to appreciate that 21st Century anatomy is at the junction of soft matter physics and physiology, biochemistry and biotensegrity. We also need to understand how we evolved; where did we come from, how did we come into being from one cell? Thus we can reformat our ideas of stretching, stiffness, tightness, and flexibility, reconsidering their purpose and practical application in movement and therapy. This book does all that and more. Karen’s style of presentation in this context speaks to you, not AT you, serving nourishing information in a palatable manner that is both easy to navigate and leaves you wanting more." 

Kate Towers

"Understanding the concept of spirality has been nothing short of a game changer both for my practice and for my teaching. It has been a highlight of my learning to discover Karen’s workshops and anatomy nerd-outs: tapping into her wealth of knowledge with creative and intuitive explorations of the body."

Lorraine Close

Outreach Director Edinburgh Community Yoga, MSc, RYT  TCTSY-F

"Karen Kirkness is constantly pushing the boundaries of conversation around anatomy in yoga. Her curiosity, willingness to explore and to challenge ingrained ideas around anatomy and many other topical issues in the constantly evolving field of modern day yoga culture is evident throughout this text. Her exploration and insight into the rhythmic cascades of anatomy are a reflection of the rhythmic cascades of life, making it a useful read for any yoga practitioner or teacher seeking to understand the body and it's interconnectedness both within and outwith itself.  She approaches this complex academic subject with a sense of humour and intertwines philosophical and sociological concepts around the exploration of embryology, biotensegrity and yoga-  an impressive achievement.  This text offers a groundbreaking look at understanding around anatomy and beyond that is softer and more connected than the sometimes reductionist, linear traditional approach to the subject. This approach is mirrored in yoga culture as conversations around power dynamics, lineage and new ways of working evolve and it is therefore a relevant and timely addition to the field."

Stu Girling
Author of Illustrated Yoga Anatomy

"I met Karen some years ago when I traveled to Edinburgh to interview her. I knew immediately that my meager anatomy brain was outmatched as Karen managed to paint detailed muscle interconnections on my body while at the same time fielding questions with insight and wit on the not so straightforward topics of Fascia and Biotensegrity."

Fern Ross

Yoga Teacher and Journalist

"I started attending Karen's workshops shortly after the birth of my son. I was rediscovering and reconnecting to my body – and my yoga practice – after a shapeshifting event, and Karen's approach to anatomy has been transformative for both myself and my students. Certain practices I had been doing felt too linear and masculine for my newly postpartum body.

'In particular, I really love sensing the spiralling of the arms in backbends and the legs in postures such as trikonasana; it has enabled me to unlock places where I previously felt stuck, and communicate the practice to my students in a different way. 

'Not everyone accesses the body - or the practice - in the same way and it's been so, so useful to have techniques from Karen's progressive approach to anatomy in my toolbox, as well as the confidence to deviate from convention and try out new things. Karen has been a real inspiration and I can't wait to continue learning from her."

Brian Cooper PhD

Yoga Alliance Professionals

"This book is an adventure, both fun and exhilarating, a paradigm shift in our understanding of biological systems, and a huge bonus for all curious yoginis and yogis."

Trina Altman, B.A., NCPT, E-RYT 500, YACEP

Author of Yoga Deconstructed®: Movement science principles for teaching

"Karen’s book provides an updated approach to understanding anatomy as it applies to yoga through the lens of biotensegrity and holistic human movement. It creates the groundwork for using rotation and spiraling movements within your yoga teaching and practice and moves beyond linear asana. Spiral Bound is a must read for all yoga teachers!"

Jodie Reynolds

"Not going to beat around the bush, traditional anatomy isn’t accessible and to be fair can be boring. Karen goes about it in a completely different way, she shows us how it all works in the most innovative way using tactile props and imagery that grab your imagination and bring anatomy to life and when she gets you moving oh boy you learn all about what you haven’t been using. She does all this while peppering the learning with terminology and anatomical knowledge that will then actually stick in to your brain and give you a great well rounded knowledge of the human body and how it works in movement."

Sally Parkes, BSc SYT

Pregnancy & Yoga Teacher Trainer

"Karen Kirkness is a visionary who cleverly draws together the many concepts of both the gross and subtle forms that resides within ourselves and indeed the universe, thus making our understanding of them possible by collating and writing in such a user-friendly way, that this potentially complex subject becomes comprehensible. I therefore truly feel that Karen's work is the missing link in the way anatomy is traditionally taught, and her book is an absolute must for anyone working within the world of holistic movement." 

Joe Robinson

Director: Mana Fitness Byron Bay & Byron Bay Fitness Retreats

"My life’s work has been to encourage my clients to think of the body as an intricate, integrated machine that requires variable doses of stress across multiple lines and every plane. Whether fitness or yoga-based, our movement practice should mimic how we respond to life's demands: permit over-compensation through adequate recovery. This book transcends the status quo for yogis. It takes the fabric of traditional yoga and delicately weaves the latest research and techniques into its seam. Regressing our development right back to the embryonic stages clearly shows how our capacity for movement evolves, highlighting our potential and our restrictions for optimisation in movement. A must-read for the next generation yogi."

Dr. Sarah Ellis Duvall, PT, DPT, CPT, CNC

"Safe programs for women during the pregnancy and postpartum phase are needed now more than ever as practising yoga during this time period becomes more and more popular. Karen is a trainee in my Pregnancy and Postpartum Corrective Exercise Specialist course, which is designed to equip teachers with tools to shift the emphasis from "stretching" to supporting women's health by developing stability, balance, and an awareness of what's actually happening with their alignment. Karen's book brings a focus to the natural constraints of the human body and how we can use movement to support, rather than disrupt, these rotational patterns. I would highly recommend Spiral Bound to anyone in the pregnancy and postpartum community as a big picture anatomy reference for their professional practice."

Helen Eadie

"Karen Kirkness is a visionary who cleverly draws together the many concepts of both the gross and subtle forms that resides within ourselves and indeed the universe, thus making our understanding of them possible by collating and writing in such a user-friendly way, that this potentially complex subject becomes comprehensible. I therefore truly feel that Karen's work is the missing link in the way anatomy is traditionally taught, and her book is an absolute must for anyone working within the world of holistic movement." 

Janet Richards E-RYT 200, YACEP

Founder The Yoga Studio Carlisle
Owner and Director of Carlisle Yoga School

"Karen is an extraordinary trainer who blends her anatomical insight into all of her teachings. Spiral Bound is a wonderful piece of work which will assist the reader to spiral under their own skin.”


Yoga Practitioner

"Karen has a natural, inclusive and encouraging ability to make anatomy and movement theory interesting and accessible no matter your starting point or approaching perspective (within yoga or a general interest in the subject).

Her workshops, teaching style and now this book! help you relate spiral anatomy and its concepts to individual bodies and their own individual movement patterns regardless of physical ability, not just a predefined "one size fits all" anatomical model of days past."

Benji PĂ©rez Salinas

"Karen's book is a practical and eye-opening approach to the complexity of anatomy and body movement in Yoga. You won't stop playing around with your body while you are diving in to the 5 Filament."

Ă‚ngela Elias Fernandes

Physical Therapist

"The integrated approach to anatomy that Karen brings to us, in her workshops and book, is the missing link we have not only in movement but also in physical and manual therapy education. Was her passion for anatomy, embryology and the inter-connected spiral body that brought me motivation for continuing my education in anatomy and offered me a new perspective, inspiring my work."

Niall Galloway MD

Author of Seeking Symmetry

"Karen brings a refreshing account of living anatomy that is rooted in the embryo, informed by biotensegrity and shaped for practical applications of movement and exercise."

David Tilbury Davis

“Whilst at first read this book presents a depth and breath of terminology some applied practitioners may find overwhelming, with reflection you find that the pearls of wisdom whilst yoga specific on the face of it glaringly transcend many sports. Explanations of andragogy and the interrelatedness of muscle function and fascia and much more are lessons that have had and will have a direct impact on my approach with elite athletes, enhancing my views across the entire psychosocial biological spectrum of coaching practise.”

Kostyantyn Yaremenko

Costa Yoga

"Karen is one of few yoga teachers whose experience impressed me, both in terms of the amount of knowledge and the number of years she spent studying and teaching yoga. Undoubtedly, one of the strongest and most distinctive aspects of Karen is her anatomical background and an explanation of yoga practices from this point of view.

Her approach to the study of anatomy for yoga was an unforgettable experience! It is an interactive drawing of muscles and bones right on each other bodies. Biotensegrity models perfectly help to understand the biomechanics of human body movements in asanas. This is absolutely a very modern, integral approach to teach yoga."

Eyal Lederman

Author of The Myth of Core Stability 

"Beautifully presented, a great demonstration of the link between 'art' and science."