Katie Brindle, founder of The Hayo-u Method, in conversation with Rebekah Brown.
First, tell us a little bit about you and the founding of The Hayo-u Method and ‘Katie Brindle’. What motivated you to start the business? What principles drive its evolution?
Both businesses started because I wanted to change the way that things were done. I knew, having been a practitioner of Eastern medicine for many years, that when you tell people that that's what you do, they always say - ‘oh, is that acupuncture and herbs?!’
And - yes, it is! - but what people were missing in the West was the understanding of this other aspect of Chinese medicine, which is called Yang Sheng or ‘Nurture life’.
Yang Sheng consists of reams of content and incredibly intricate, detailed information about how to stay well or how to work with preventative health.
And it was the area that I was most fascinated by. Then, one day in the clinic, it struck me how limiting my model was. It’s expensive for people to come and see me. I don’t reach enough people that way. Millions of people need this content. And that was the beginning of me setting up the business. It wasn’t intentional to create it as a separate entity to my work as a practitioner and author. But there are so many restrictions on what you can say when you talk about a product range. So Katie Brindle as a business is now about the content - on what I do as an individual. And The Hayo-u Method is the product range.
My real motivation was to understand and support people in exploring the big questions - ‘Why am I sick? Why am I suffering? And what do I need to do about it?’
The great thing about working with preventative health is that it works so well with existing Western healthcare systems. So, when you use breath, or crystals, or bamboo, you’re working very much in sync with the medicine system we have. And that, I feel, is incredibly helpful.
How has your own /menopause transition influenced your outlook towards work and life?
My menopause came very early. I had lots of fertility problems in my 30s, which led to premature ovarian failure. Then by the time I was about 41, my menopause was well on its way. And now, at the ripe old age of 48, I think I've been out of the menopause for 5 years. My transition was smooth. I think, because of the content and the information that I understand, I knew how to navigate it.
And I share that knowledge freely. There is a free fact sheet - all about the menopause and what to do about it. And, when I'm talking about the perimenopause or the menopause, I focus on the importance of understanding not only how to get under the bonnet of the problem and manage your health correctly so that you don't have these awful symptoms, but then having understood that part to go to the second part, which is what the menopause actually offers us now in Chinese medicine - the concept of our ‘Second Spring’, which I love.
Our Second Spring describes a body that is no longer using its creative energy to create life. In the past, women would have been encumbered with having many, many children in quick succession. Then, you get the opportunity for that energy and that creative power to go into yourself.
So it becomes a huge moment of self-identity and self-creation. And, when I'm working with people in my community, that's exactly what I'm focusing their attention on. There is an opportunity to focus on this process of incarnation and a sort of second birth.
This is the moment in your life when all sorts of things become possible. If you can manage the symptoms, if you can stop them from taking over, and understand what you're supposed to do, an amazing period of opening takes place.
How do you define success for your business and yourself individually?
I think the first thing, obviously, when you're running a business is it has to run profitably. I know that sounds really obvious, but it's something that I didn't do because I didn't really understand business. I've said many times to people that care to listen that, I find myself a woman in business, not a business woman. But I had to let go of that pretty quickly because, actually, if you don't become a business woman, you can't survive. And then the business stops.
I believe it is the role of commerce to look at the problems that we're facing as a society and come up with solutions that people want. We've got to look at it from a 360 degree perspective.
We've got to look at what the customer needs and what the public demand is. We've got to look at sustainability. We've got to look at happiness in the workplace. We've got to look at the long term effect of what we're telling people to do and asking people to get involved with. We need to look at social media and its role as a positive thing within people's lives. We have to really go at it wholeheartedly to make a difference to people.
People need to buy into what you're talking about, not what you're selling. That's very much why my business is content-led and social media-led. I think as a business, to be honest, aside from the fact that it has to make money in order to exist at all, once you've got that bit steady, then it's all about the customer and, and how to ensure that the customer care is second to none. I pride myself on the fact that we have 5 star Trustpilot ratings and that we've got a very engaged community who are really feeling the benefits of what we're doing. When it gets tough, because it often does when you're running a company, you just go, you go into those comments.
Has your definition of success changed over time as an entrepreneur and individual?
I don't think my definition of success has changed at all. When I started The Hayo-u Method, this is exactly what I wanted to do. Chinese medicine is kind of circular. It's holistic, it's whole. And Western thinking is linear. It is about trying to break it down into bite-sized chunks that people can understand. And yet also go all the way through to answering the questions around suffering and what we can do about it too. That is what underpins this entire business.
But it's easier said than done! - because, so often, people are only able to listen to understand to a certain point. Some simply don’t want to know it all. And yet there are others that do. If you go even further, this practice does tie into spirituality and belief of the metaphysical. So you have to be really careful about how you explain things and what you're doing. I wanted to be able to ‘crack the nut’. That was what success meant for me. And it has taken me years. Next, I want to reach as many people as possible, because I want to help people.
What correlation, if any, do you see between age and ambition?
As someone that reads charts as part of my job, I can assure you that as one gets older, one gets wiser. This is the benefit of ageing. So, this whole anti-ageing movement is completely bonkers to me!
And the other thing that I know from charts is that not everybody starts their story at the same time.
For me, my life has very much been one where the second half of my life, this post-menopause, matriarchal moment is when my story is on its ascendance. And my role and what I'm trying to give to people is coming to the fore. Perhaps if I was trying to do this in my twenties it wouldn't have happened.
I don't consider myself ambitious. I just want to get this message out there. I just want to serve. I want to share this incredible medicine system that I know and I love, and have witnessed firsthand for so many years of my life, just how incredible it is and how beneficial it is. That's what drives me. But I wouldn't say that's ambition, that's just desire to help. And it's coming in the second part of my life. And what I've noticed from doing a lot of chart reading on menopausal women specifically, is, this is a moment where you can actually start to fulfill yourself. And that's really what I am trying to do too.
What are your aspirations for your business over the next 24 months?
I would like to make sure that the business is very well consolidated, very well articulated, profitably managed - and is reaching as wide an audience as possible, with people benefiting from every aspect of what we're offering. That doesn't mean, as I said before, buying things, it means buying into things and buying into the message that we're giving them. Because the great thing about self care is that it can be done with things which are lying around the house. It's just about understanding how to do it and why you're doing it.
What do you wish your younger self had known about:
On life: Well, I think the first thing to say is that I was born in the early 70’s, when the message was ‘you’re equal…’except’!. But I genuinely thought I was. I had a wonderful father. I went to a great girls school. Then I went into the workplace and everything collapsed. Life was just not on track. I knew inside me that there was something I needed to do, but I had absolutely no idea what it was.
On love: When I was young, I was very much in love with being in love. What I've learned along the way is how wonderful love is in all its manifestations, not just with your partner, but with your children or with your pets or with your parents, your friends, the community that I live in and how this incredible energy just keeps growing and growing and how wonderful it is to feel that - and how satisfying work can be.
On work: The importance of choosing careers and jobs you’re really motivated by and passionate about, because you’ll spend a long time doing it! I love my job. I don’t call it work. I want to devote my time to it.
What would be your key advice to women transitioning through menopause today? What practical steps could they take to better support their bodies and minds?
I think the first thing to say is, look at these Yang Sheng techniques because they are absolutely transformative.
Chinese medicine originated from women thousands of years’ ago. And it is a medical system that really understands the female body, like no other, in my opinion.
The self care that I've distilled out of that is so beneficial and it's helped so many people.
Don't underestimate the power of doing things for yourself. We do it with our teeth! We take the onus to brush our teeth every day and we respect and understand that it plays a massive role in tooth care, along with the hygienist and the dentist. Well, it's exactly the same, with Yang Sheng. No one understands your body as well as you and no one's living your life. No matter how caring the practitioner or the doctor is, the reality is you're living your life 24/7. So it's in your interest to understand these techniques and to actually give yourself time to apply them.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the MPowder community about our second spring?
Do Qigong! Come and join our free one in the morning and then come into the subscription healing hour that we do at lunchtimes. It absolutely is transforming people's menopause.
Our ‘Second Spring’ is this moment of rebirth. So if you just imagine what spring looks like - when flowers suddenly come into bloom and the weather suddenly warms up, the birds suddenly start singing and everything comes back to life -that is what is available to us. So focus on getting those symptoms under control. Then think about what it is that you want to do and how you want to do it.
Finally, we all know that stress can exacerbate menopause symptoms and we’re all living with a constant underlying anxiety - from the pandemic, from the disproportionate impact it has had on women, from political upheaval…from unprecedented job insecurity. What have you done to better support yourself in the last 16 months? What have you learned. And what will you carry with you as the world once again shape shifts?
I think what this period did is give me an opportunity to galvanize my message and to hone even further what I was trying to explain to people, because I've been doing so much community support to assist people as they've been going through their lockdowns and their trials and tribulations. And I think, now that we're coming out of this period, it gives me the opportunity to reach a wider audience, and get them involved in the free stuff that we're offering.
I haven't met a single person that hasn’t enjoyed the fact that their pace slowed down and that they started to cut out things that they were doing before. I am now very careful about how I manage my energy. Before lockdown, I would drive myself too hard, to try and fit everything in. I am beginning to honor myself much more - and to say, ‘No I can’t do that. I'll get too tired.’
And that decision has changed how I interact with people. For example. I don't really go for dinner anymore because I don't like eating late and I don't really want to be exposed to alcohol and heavy menus because I don't want to have that in my body. Instead I’ll meet my friends in The Russian Bath House, which I love. I make time for Qigong, for meditation, I’ll go for a walk..It's a message that I preach and now I practice it!
A huge thank you to Katie, for sharing her story and her wisdom so generously. To find out more about The Hayo-u Method and their amazing range of products and tools, head HERE. And to join Katie’s community, head to her instagram feed HERE.