When we first heard of The Body Toolkit we couldn't wait to find out more.
It isn't a common concept in Scotland which makes it all the more exciting and intruiging. With the way our nation is swaying towards health, fitness and juicing, The Body Toolkit is exactly what we need here.
Tell us your story...
I’m Katrina, I’m 28, originally from Glasgow and I’m the founder of The Body Toolkit - the first health retreat of its kind in Scotland. My route to entrepreneurship has been a bit of a colourful path: I started out with a design engineering degree, spent a couple of years working in Mexico, then came back to Scotland to run a successful SME, ‘Gillian Kyle’, alongside my cousin for four years before deciding to go solo. As varied as my career has been, something that’s remained utterly consistent is my passion for health and a desire to help others. 12 years ago, my own health issues led me to look for better solutions, and in doing that I was amazed by the body’s incredible ability to heal, given the right conditions. The tools I used and put together helped me so much over the years that I felt compelled to share them far and wide. Combining all of that with my love for the Scottish Highlands, in early 2014 I realised that I had the makings of a cutting edge health retreat that could make a genuine difference to people’s lives.
LS: What do you value the most?
KM: About this time last year I did an interesting little exercise. I sat down, with pen and paper in hand, and started to write a eulogy... for myself, aged 90. I know that sounds morbid but asking yourself what you’d like other people to say about you when your time’s up, is definitely a very powerful way of concentrating the mind on what’s really important to you! The process reminded me that helping others is what gives me the most satisfaction in life, and I guess the people I admire most have a very big altruistic streak. Also having lived abroad, I value what we have at our finger tips living in a country like Scotland, although sometimes we forget that we’ve got it pretty good: (an endless supply of!) clean water, fresh food, fresh air and the freedom and opportunity to be who we want be and do what we want to do.
LS: When times are “not so good” how do you lead?
KM: When things get tough, a natural response is frustration that things aren’t going to plan. But I think it’s best to “let go” of that frustration and get back to your purpose so that you can see the situation with fresh eyes. Every journey has its twists and turns and potholes, but sometimes that hiccup is a shortcut in disguise. No matter how bad things get, if you’re crystal clear on your purpose then there’s always a silver lining to be found or a “guiding hand” that’s trying to point you in a better direction. Plans are great, they give you focus, but if things aren’t going exactly to your plan, open yourself up to other opportunities, there may well be a better way of doing things.
LS: What gets you through the day?
KM: Laughter and enjoying what I do! I do a guided meditation first thing in the morning and that sets my mind up for the day, and I make a couple of fresh juices to keep me firing on all cylinders. And whatever the weather, no matter where I am or what I’m doing, I need get outside for fresh air at some point during the day.
LS: Best person you have ever worked with and why?
KM: Well, I didn’t work with him per say, but in 2010 I attended a mediation course in California given by Ken Cloke, who’s one of the best authors in conflict resolution and the founder of Mediators Beyond Borders. Conflicts are always going to be part of the human experience, whether it’s in the workplace, relationships, in our families, or to a certain extent, almost all of us have been in a conflict with ourselves at some point in our lives (struggles with weight issues, stress etc). Ken’s teaching had a really powerful impact on me - there’s a Buddhist quality to his approach that focuses on empathy and using conflict, where things have become stuck, to actually use it as an opportunity for both sides to learn and grow. Without a doubt it’s shaped the way I work with and coach people, and I try to see every problem as an opportunity to learn (something). I’m really pleased that in some schools they’re now teaching mediation, it’s so important that we teach our kids how to be empathetic, compassionate and how to see situations from a perspective that is 180 degrees from theirs. They’re not mediation skills, they’re life skills and I think the planet would be a pretty wonderful place if we all had them.
LS: What gives you courage?
KM: “Gut instinct”. When something feels right, I go for it. It’s something I really try to be aware of and listen to, and conversely, if it doesn’t feel right then it’s probably best to avoid. What gave me the courage to open The Body Toolkit? I felt there was a real need for something like this in Scotland – and, again it felt right, so I went for it.
LS: How do you motivate and inspire people?
KM: I don’t think it’s really physically possible for one human being to motivate another. But what you can do is help them connect with their own intrinsic motivation. By helping someone to find a sense of purpose in their work or life, you’re pretty much opening the flood gates to all the motivation they’ll ever need. What are they passionate about in their work or life, or what could they talk about non-stop without even realising the time? Passion’s linked to purpose and once they feel a sense of purpose in what they’re doing, motivation kicks in naturally.
As for inspiration, the people that inspire me are the ones who are passionate about something that’s for the greater good, and live their lives as an example that anything is possible. What could be more inspiring..? I can’t say whether I inspire people, but the whole Body Toolkit philosophy is to empower others with the knowledge and tools for them to make a genuine difference in their own lives.
LS: What is your greatest frustration?
KM: In all honesty, it’s the way we view the majority of ill-health in the western world. ‘Lifestyle’ diseases are now the world’s biggest killers – so, the way we live is now the thing most likely to kill us. And yet doctors’ prescription pads, the world over, aren’t being filled with diet and exercise advice, instead of prescription medication. That’s a big frustration for me. Of course there’s a place for medicine, but I would love to see that being used as plan B. I’m hopeful that one day we’ll listen to and adopt Hippocrates’ wise words and “let food be thy medicine”.
LS: What are you certain about?
KM: The need for change in how we think about health, ill-health and the role the food (and sugar) industry plays in the western world.
LS: How do you stay calm?
KM: If I’m working, or planning, I use mind maps to get all my thoughts out of my head and keep myself organised. If I’m organised, I’m calm. Keeping things balanced and making sure I give myself enough time to do things like spending time outside or preparing good food keeps me in a good frame of mind too.
LS: What do you dream about?
KM: Scotland has one of the lowest life expectancies in Europe and I would just love to see people in Scotland living healthier and longer lives. I guess my dream for The Body Toolkit is to reach as many people as possible and help Scotland realise that low life expectancy isn’t just unlucky - that there’s plenty we can do about it. I know it’s a big dream, but if every home in Scotland was given a juicer and fresh fruit and veg could be made affordable for those who can’t afford it just now... we’d be u-turning Scotland’s fate overnight. That would be incredible.
LS: Would you employ you?
KM: I think it’s very tempting to want to employ a “carbon copy” of you – it would feel safe, you’d like things done the same way, and you’d be on the same page. But in reality you want to find someone with the skills and strengths that compliment, not copy, yours.
LS: How do you keep fit for business?
KM: I need to be active on a daily basis, for my sanity, more than anything else. We spend so much of our time indoors that I think it’s vital to get outside as much as possible. I love to walk, get out on my bike, play tennis – and I think yoga is one of the best forms of exercise you can do (but I do that one indoors!).
LS: Favourite book?
KM: It’s very hard to pick just one book, but I’ll go with the one I recommend the most! I’m a huge believer in the role of the mind in health, wellbeing and life in general. And I owe a lot of thanks to, Louise Hay, who’s sold millions of copies of her books around the world and at 88, is still going strong. All of her books have made a real impact on me, but I really treasure her book “Experience Your Good Now”. I’m forever recommending it to people who are maybe going through a challenging phase in their life, be it with work, relationships, health etc. I share her philosophy that the thoughts we think (about ourselves, our work, our health) become our reality – and this book helps you focus on particular areas of your life and think about the things you want to change and create for yourself.
We have now met Katrina on many occasions and what a delight she is. Driven, enthusiastic and passionate about everything that The Body Toolkit stands for.
We can't wait to join one of the retreats and see for ourselves what it's all about.
Keep in touch monthly (or even more frequently with us*).
* We promise not to virtually stalk you, it will be (at max) weekly round ups and elements that it would be rude not to tell you about...