Let's Feel Better Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 29

Stephanie's Pick-Me-Up Practice

10 min - Practice


When she's feeling slow and needs a pick-me-up, Stephanie will do this short sequence to open and brighten her chest, shoulders, and upper back.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket, Block (2)

About This Video


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Hi there. My name's Stephanie Tensor, and welcome to Let's Feel Better. What I wanna share with you today is just a short sequence that I often turn to when I'm feeling a little bit dull, a little bit maybe lethargic, and I need a bit of a pick me up. Okay. So what you'll need are two bricks, two blocks, and you may also need some extra height, like I've shown here, with a blanket, and I'll show you how to figure out how much height to use. Okay. Place one place both of the bricks like this, and then lay yourself down so that this brick here is supporting your shoulder blades.

So the plate of each shoulder blade is is nicely rested right on top of the brick. So it may take a little bit to figure out, okay, where is that spot? Alright. I think I've got it. And then head is supported on the second brick. Now what you're looking for in terms of setting this up is that the head is just a little bit if I were, if there was water dripping down my face, it would just slowly drip towards my my nose side.

Okay? So for me, when I take away this blanket, it it's just not tall enough. Right? So I just lifted it up a bit, and you can work that out for yourself. K. Then see that you've got lean through the back pelvis, roll the buttock flush away from the waist, and then extend your legs to straight. This is almost like, it's a lifted shavasna, but keep it active. Okay. So spread your toes, spread your toe mounds, turn the front of the thighs in, and press your knees and thighs down. Hey. Let your arms drop down and receive the lift that this brick gives you behind your chest. Just breathe. Be here for a moment.

And now let's add the active arms as well. So from here, cross your forearms and cup each elbow with your palms. Now pull on your elbows and reach your arms up and over your head. Now there are 2 distinct actions here. In with the arms.

First action is pull on the elbows and lengthen. Reach in that direction. Right? Pull on the elbows and lengthen. And then only once you've maximized the lane, then descend your arms down. Pump the forearms down towards the ground and absorb this brick.

That's behind your chest into your body even more. From your back waist to your heels, extend toward the leg side. And from the corners of your pelvis through your armpits right through to the elbow points, stand in the opposite direction. Maintain this. And then slowly release.

Raise the arms back up. Change the crossing of your forearms and then repeat. Pull on the elbows. Reach your arms up and over. Okay. Now find those distinct actions with the arms.

Lane thin. And then descend. Okay. Now work with equal and opposite actions. So again, back waist to heels extend in one direction. And from the corners of the pelvis, through your armpits all the way through to your elbow points, reach in the opposite direction.

Can you keep your awareness at both ends of the body at the same time? Knees down, thighs down, forearms down, open your chest. Okay. And then release, lower your arms down, and just let your shoulders rest here for a moment. And breathe. Okay. Now this sequence is a progression.

So now for the next variation, you're gonna remove some of this height that's underneath your head. So if you added as I've done a blanket, then you can remove the blanket, okay, and lower it to this height. You can also, Yeah. So if if you've had it at that, I would do that. Let's keep it at, let's keep it at that height here, and then extend your legs to straight. Okay. Cross the forearms again and then reach your arms up and over.

Extend away. We're reaching two directions. And now pump your forearms down, down, absorb the brick into your back, even more. Breathe the shape of the brick into your back. And then release, change the crossing, and repeat up and over.

Keep the legs engaged. So back waist to heels. Extend. Gonna turn the thighs in. Press your knees and thighs down. And then extend towards those elbows.

Once you've maximized the length on the side trunk, press the arms down more. And then again, release k. Pause here. You can bend your knees. And now again, it's a progression. So you have to determine because each time we lower the brick is just a little bit more penetration into the upper back. So depending on the stiffness of your shoulders, you may decide you wanna repeat the variation that we've just done.

Okay. In this variation here, you can see the head is starting to go back. That's totally fine, but please don't allow there to be any discomfort. In the neck region. So there's there's length still here. Okay?

And then extend your legs to straight. Cross your forms and reach up and over. Pull on your elbows, lengthen your side body, extend into your heels. Equal and opposite actions. As you pull on your elbows, lengthen the side trunk is almost as if you're trying to create more and more space between each row of ribs.

And then release, change the crossing of your forms again. And go for this last variation. Breathe the shape of the brick. Into your back. The brick is such an interesting prop.

Not only does it support but it penetrates. Right? So that gives you a little bit of both. And then slowly release. Bend your knees. Just pause there for a moment.

K. Now coming up and out from this position, Be mindful here. Take your hands under your head and just lift your head up until those neck muscles are engaged. K. Then take your hands to the floor by your hips, and then press your forearms, press your elbows, and with a lifted chest. Come back up. And just sit in a comfortable seated position here.

And take a moment. Observe this sensation, this feeling you have after coming up off the bricks. And I know for me, it just kinda gives me a little bit of a pep little bit of a pick me up. I hope it does the same for you. K. Thank you so much. And, I hope to see you again soon.


Jenny S
6 people like this.
What an interesting and effective spin on a pose that I normally view as restorative or passive…in just 10 minutes I'm feeling quite energized and ready to go about my day.  Thank you Stephanie! 🙏🏻❤️
Catherine A
Hi Stephanie, I love that posture using the blocks and often do it to open up the chest, but especially to isolate the upper back. The progression you demonstrated makes it careful and mindful and the movement of the arms definitely added something extra as well as that little bit of 'pep'........❤️
Glenford N
3 people like this.
Thanks Stephanie.  I felt more and more space in my body the deeper I went into the practice and learnt to play, balance and breathe.Namaste.
Laura M
3 people like this.
That was awesome! Thanks!
Sandra Židan
Thank you very much, Stephanie, for this wonderful practice! I have recently caught a cold and your practice helped me to open my chest and breath easier! Namaste! ❤️💜🌹 
Stephanie Tencer
Sandra Židan aww, nice. I'm so pleased to know that the practice could support you in that way!

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