Are your shoulders killing you after a long journey?

We’re traveling a lot these days. The normal commute is 25 minutes for people in USA and 54 minutes in UK. Then there are all those business and leisure trips.

I’ve realised over the years that I’ve bought into a fantasy version of traveling. In this fantasy, I can travel long distances without preparation, suffer no discomfort from the journey and be able to instantly recover.

I’ve wondered where this fantasy comes from, after all long trips were treated with a great deal of respect in the days where you had to use a horse or a ship to get where you needed to go. Perhaps there was no advertising industry to persuade us that traveling was entirely without difficulty, discomfort or stress?


For me, there are some stages to travel.

The art of preparation.

Stuff takes time. It takes time to pack. It takes time to plan a route, to book accommodation and transport. The funny thing about planning is that most of us get it wrong. We assume that it takes 20 minutes to pack a bag. It probably does but we forget… well, life happening. During that 20 minutes someone will call you. You’ll get distracted by deciding whether it’s green sock or blue socks. You’ll forget where you put your passport, get in huge panic, realize its where it should be and then take 10 minutes to calm down.

Then there’s the journey.

One of the stresses of the journey is caused by forgetting that a lot of other people will be doing the same as you. That it’s inconvenient for everyone, not just you. That you have absolutely no control of whether that train or plane will leave on time.

That there are long periods where nothing is happening other than sitting and being followed by short periods of intense activity and focus.

Are you able to sit quietly for long periods and then transition into intense (often weight bearing activity)? Or do you find that you that you either zone out or stress out when you’re sitting only to be startled when you reach your stop and need to get off with a bag?

Here’s a tip to help that:

Switch on your core. Your core is a very loose definition (anatomists get upset about us talking of the core) of some of the muscles that are towards the centre of your body. We tend to switch them off when we collapse or tighten up.

Guess what one of the best ways to do that is? Free your neck so that your core engages effortlessly. Free as giving yourself permission to activate the resources you need on demand. Free as giving yourself permission to be connected and present to what’s needed right now.

After the journey.

After the journey there needs to be stretches, relaxation, restoration. Joints get compressed and need time to decompress. Stiffness and swelling needs time and some body TLC to drop out of the system.

The best way to drop down an over activated nervous system, stressed out muscles is Svasana (if you’re a yogi) or the lying down procedure if you’re an AT person.

Check out some further tips about how to get into svasana in my article Yoga and lying down to rest.

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© Kevin Saunders, Yogaground 2017

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