Find your magic
Magic is everywhere for those who wish to see it. Harriet Brown tells the story of how she found her life’s purpose during a series of soul-searching trips to India
I fell in love with yoga, meditation and pranayama after the loss of my grandmother who was very special to me. I’ve spent many months of my time in India in recent years. Turning 30 and, like so many of us, having led a decadent lifestyle through most of my 20s, it was time to slow down. The London ‘rat race’ had me feeling low on energy, lacking purpose and in need of serious change. It was around this time I learned of Ayurveda, India’s oldest healing science. (In Sanskrit, Ayurveda means ‘The Science of Life’.)
I left my corporate job in Canary Wharf and jetted off to India, alone, where I checked myself into an Ayurvedic beach retreat. I spent 21 days undergoing intense healing practices along with daily yoga, meditation and pranayama coaching and a specific diet tailored to my health ailments. I was astounded at the difference in my body and mind after such a short period of time.
Rising with the sun, daily yoga and meditation, plus eating clean (and only during the hours of daylight) really puts you in touch with the universe. I became very in tune with the sun and the moon and above all, my inner voice.
Inspiration & energy
It was after the 21-day cleanse I met a man named Rajendran. We met when I attended his morning yoga class at the hotel in Kerala where I was staying. I was completely blown away with what I learned that day in just one session. Feeling inexplicably drawn to his energy and trusting his knowledge implicitly I wanted to ask him for one-to-one tuition, but I was feeling a little shy; I left the class feeling elevated and excited as if I had awakened a part of me that was desperate to be awakened.
At the end of the class, I went to my room to reflect on what I had experienced then headed down to the ground floor for breakfast. I pushed the button for the lift and when the elevator doors opened…who should be stood inside but Rajendran? The universe definitely wanted us to talk! After a very short conversation and the exchange of telephone numbers, he soon offered to teach me daily yoga, refusing to accept any payment for his time.
Inspiration & energy
Over a two-year period I was lucky enough to spend a huge amount of time in the company of Raj and his beautiful family. We shared the same vision of helping people embark on a journey within to attain true happiness. As well as meeting in the lift, more synchronicity happened during this period which I could only process as being ‘on the right path’.
One of the first times I visited Raj’s home, he was excited to tell me that his children had drawn me a picture to welcome me as their guest. As the children unravelled their drawing my jaw dropped…
In Kerala, the previous year, I had witnessed an amazing full lunar eclipse and had taken a photograph of the super moon that night, just like the drawing. It was as bright as I had ever seen it and became one of my favourite photographs from that trip. I had sent it home to family and friends explaining how incredible the moon looked.
I love the moon. When my grandmother passed away there was a huge super moon that night and we have always said she’s on the moon. Whenever I’ve felt lost or in need of her guidance I’ve looked to the sky to see her watching over me. I hadn’t met Raj when the photograph was taken.
Passionately promoting all of the things I had learned upon my return to the UK, it occurred to me how much I would enjoy offering an experience for people to remove themselves from their hectic daily lives, relax and unwind in nature, eat healthy food and try out some different types of yoga and meditation to understand what works best for them.
Inspiration & energy
On my next trip, Raj took me to the place he learned to teach yoga (Sivananda Ashram, Neyyar Dam) and I completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training.
I met some incredible people on my journey: doctors, yoga teachers, natural healers, sound healers, acupuncturists and many more. I asked myself: “How can I share all of this valuable knowledge with the people in my life?” My aim became to continue moving through life collecting and connecting these people to help others. I opened a yoga retreat business. The dream at Lift Yourself is to offer absolutely everyone the opportunity to experience these amazing, traditional techniques that have been passed down through a lineage of yoga gurus.
During the last day of one of my many trips to India, sat on a boat overlooking the five-star Taj Malabar Resort in Kerala, Raj and I were watching the sunset. After a small meditation it felt the perfect moment to invite Raj to London and Lift Yourself was born. Many other amazing people I am meeting on this journey will also have the opportunity to showcase their knowledge and skills at future events. Already the retreats have enabled Raj’s father and brother to visit the UK, something that was once only a dream.
As the sun set and we prepared to leave the boat, Raj stopped me for a second and asked me to sit down. “Harrie, I have a gift for you…”
He proceeded to recite the below passage to me, first in Sanskrit, then of course the English translation:
“Lift yourself by yourself — don’t again drop down to the old level. Preciously maintain the improvement you are gaining. You alone are your greatest friend who can help you en route, just as you yourself are your own enemy who can pull you down on the path.”
— Chapter 6, Verse 5 – Bhagvad Gita
Two years on, I still think of the magic that led to me discovering my purpose and the incredible way the universe works.
I’d always felt such a huge pull towards India and, since a child, I was obsessed with the moon. It makes me smile how much of a huge part these two things have played in me discovering my purpose.
Magic really is everywhere for those who wish to see it!