This week we’re delighted to spotlight Karin Gurtner, Graduate PMA certified Pilates Matwork & Studio Teacher, Certified Anatomy Trains Teacher and Kinesis Myofascial Integration Therapist, Yoga and Gyrokinesis Teacher, Wellness & Personal Trainer, Fitness Leader, certified Trainer & Assessor. Karin is the principal educator of art of motion training in movement®, a renowned training organization for Contemporary Pilates & Slings Myofascial Training based in Switzerland and Australia.
For a decade Karin divided her living and teaching time between Switzerland and Australia. She developed the Certificate IV and Diploma in Contemporary Pilates, as well as a series of functional anatomy workshops; both the Certificate IV and Diploma in Contemporary Pilates are nationally accredited courses in Australia.
During the same time, on a sunny day in Western Australia, Karin read the first pages of Anatomy Trains. Reading the book opened a whole new world of possibilities. After certifying in Kinesis Myofascial Integration and becoming an Anatomy Trains teacher, Karin developed Anatomy Trains in Motion; a joint venture between Tom Myers, James Earls and Karin.
In lieu of an interview, we’re featuring Karin’s story of how the Anatomy Trains in Motion concept came to be.
Anatomy Trains in Motion
A Story of an Educational Sudoku and Global Connections
One crisp morning in autumn 2006 while my then husband Danny set up his tent on the grounds of a Dharma centre in Western Australia, I read the first sentences of Tom’s book Anatomy Trains. I vividly recall my sense of excitement, thinking this will change the way I view anatomy, move and teach – and that one day I will meet the brilliant man who wrote this book (a far-fetched idea at the time). Much to Danny’s amusement, I felt I was holding the ‘holy grail’, the solution to my unanswered movement questions in my hands. Neither of us anticipated that nearly a decade later he would participate in an Anatomy Trains in Motion course developed by me and then certify as a KMI practitioner himself (just a side note to the wondrous ways of life).
Having had art of motion, my own training organization for Contemporary Pilates for a couple of years by then, I utilised the integral Anatomy Trains anatomy to ‘modernise’ the traditional movement repertoire, and to explain functional anatomy and choreography. It worked beautifully; not only for the instructors and physiotherapists attending the courses, but also for my team of educators and their clients.
Encouraged by my own progress and the positive feedback, I decided to transition Anatomy Trains more to the educational forefront. In 2008 I delivered a workshop called ‘Pilates & Slings’ (‘slings’ referring to myofascial meridians). Needless to say, the Anatomy Trains enthusiasm grew all around! My art of motion team especially, encouraged me to look deeper, explore further and travel farther.
In 2009 I attended my first Anatomy Trains course with James Earls in Belfast. What a memorable experience – I wanted more and that ‘more’ was KMI (Kinesis Myofascial Integration). That’s when I met Tom, in a town hall in Weston on the Green, a picturesque small town in the English countryside (the first of a string of fabulously unusual meeting places). I loved the training and my movement conversations with Tom, both of which contributed to a new idea starting to take shape in my mind and body. In 2010 I certified as a KMI practitioner; I felt ready, and equipped, to start afresh with my Slings project. ‘Pilates & Slings’ turned into ‘Slings in Motion’, a series of courses utilising Anatomy Trains as a body map to gain the benefits of structural integration through movement.
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Once again, the work formed beautifully and I wanted to know more – direct from the source.
In 2012 I completed my Anatomy Trains teacher training with Tom, Lou Benson and Carrie Gaynor in Maine. It’s not possible to explain the uniqueness of those two weeks, but something special was set in motion. Julie Hammond (now the director of Anatomy Trains Australia) and I became good friends who share the same Anatomy Trains educational vision; also AP Lindberg, the developer of Anatomy Trains in Training, with whom I filmed a movement DVD this year. Last but not least, the few words Tom and I exchanged in Maine led to a meeting in Zürich that initiated a whole new project: Anatomy Trains in Motion.
After a London meeting with James (who has since published his book Born to Walk) the Anatomy Trains in Motion development-Sudoku began. Blending the many aspects of Anatomy Trains with the essential events of gait and the physical experience required to make the content tangible, movement training relevant and applicable in daily practise proved to be more challenging than writing the course book (the good kind of challenge).
At this year’s Anatomy Trains teacher meeting in Oxford Tom asked, what drew us into ‘the work’? What drew me in was ‘the story’. Reading Anatomy Trains for the first time, I understood very little of its detailed anatomy; but I understood the concept and the author’s integrity. In Anatomy Trains in Motion, I want to share some of what drew me in; the ‘whole-hearted story’ behind an integral anatomy concept.
Another inspiration was KMI. Practising the bodywork techniques and experiencing the sensory qualities of the myofascial meridians greatly expanded my understanding of the multi-dimensionality of Anatomy Trains. Not only do myofascial meridians contribute to our postural and movement patterns, but also our perceptions of self and the world around us. As far as I am concerned, Tom developed a holistic body map that can aid postural ease and movement freedom as much as perceptual clarity and somatic resourcefulness.
One of my greatest motivators has been to show that Anatomy Trains is far more than a myofascial meridian system that can be used to explain movement anatomy. Although utilising the lines for movement anatomy analysis is a skill, it is ‘only’ one aspect that Anatomy Trains has to offer the mindful mover and holistic movement teacher.
Since my meeting with Tom in my home country I have written and re-written Anatomy Trains in Motion several times. I have taught its different versions to multicultural audiences; learning more each time, helping me refine the work. There will always be some polishing and fine-tuning required, though for now I am satisfied. The course is ‘true to the story’ and a well-rounded base to move from with practical content that can be applied ‘on Monday’. There are no empty catch phrases or good sounding theories that have not been applied in practise – the content of Anatomy Trains in Motion has been tried and tested; behind every sentence and action is a thought.
Although Anatomy Trains in Motion is ‘self-contained’ in terms of educational content, it is an integral part of a bigger picture called Slings Myofascial Training, which is part of the even bigger picture of spatial medicine.
While Anatomy Trains in Motion lays the foundation for Slings Myofascial Training, Slings Myofascial Training provides the context for Anatomy Trains in Motion – each one supports the other.
Anatomy Trains in Motion will resonate with the movement professional, bodyworker and therapist who see the value of recognising and strengthening the body’s resources, thus bodywide dynamic stability, ease of motion and resilience through conscious movement practise.
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For a further glimpse into Karin, and what inspires and motivates her, click on the PDF below to read a beautiful piece: