Several of you, via Facebook, have asked where the profile picture of the wooden carving with arms outstretched (also featured on the welcome page of the website) is from.

I discovered it walking with a friend in the gardens behind Brantwood House earlier this year. Brantwood, Cumbria, is John Ruskins former home and has unique and beautiful mountainside gardens, set in a 250 acre wood estate with spectacular views.

‘Brant’ is Norse for steep, and Brantwood’s steep woods were first worked by Norse invaders in the ninth century. With a stunning diversity of flora and fauna, these ancient semi-natural woodlands comprise half the estate. Elsewhere the estate ranges from lakeshore meadows to high, open fell. 

The carving is well hidden, on an overgrown area of garden that was roped off for work repairs to a path. On spotting the figure we crept under the ropes for a clearer look. As the public sees it it faces the lake (Coniston) so essentially you see its back. We took one look at and said more or less simultaneously “Space of Joy” in reference to an exercise we’d been practicing recently from the Kum Nye Yoga text The Joy of Being (Tarthang Tulku).

So here’s the exercise:
Stand with the feet close together. Raise one arm straight up, palm facing forwards. Extend the other arm to the side horizontally, palm facing twards the floor. Tilt the body towards the side where the arm is horizontal, keeping the gaze forwards. Keep the legs lengthened and encourage energy towards the feet. Repeat on the other side!