By Sayli Betawar,
Our bodies are like machines. It needs constant maintenance (exercise) and good fuel (food) to keep working. It is our duty to keep our magnificent bodies, physically fit, and free from diseases and medicines. Therefore, to attain such ideal health, we must exercise and eat healthily. The simplest form of exercise is walking. It does not only provide physical benefits but also boosts mental health. Among all types of walking exercises, the best one is the “8-shape walk” or “Infinity walk”. It has several miraculous benefits ranging from physical to neurological. A mere “8-shape walk” of 30 minutes is equivalent to an hour of brisk walking.
This concept of the 8-shape walk was introduced by the ancient Tamil mystics known as “Siddhars”. They understood the working of the universe and how it impacted human physiology and health. Thus, they have inscribed this method along with otherworldly knowledge on palm-leaf manuscripts. Some families in Tamil Nadu (India) still own them, and they have been passed down the centuries, as well as being kept in universities like India, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
“Siddhars were known to have in-depth knowledge in the fields of science, technology, astronomy, literature, fine arts, music, drama, and dance and provided solutions to common people in their illness and advice for their future. Typically Siddhars were first scientists, saints, doctors, alchemists, and mystics all in one.”
Westerners call it the “Infinity Walk”. Dr. Deborah Sunbeck, a clinical NY psychologist, introduced Infinity Walk in the 1980s. She encouraged the Infinity Walk for therapeutic benefits at a neurological level. She apprised this method to improve certain cognitive abilities.
Benefits of the 8-shape walk
- Walking in this pattern enhances the coordination of all five senses: movement, sight, hearing, thinking, and speaking. Therefore, it develops awareness levels in the body and helps improve concentration.
- It cures foot cracks and stops bloating the stomach
- After approx. 20 minutes, one can feel the stuffy nose getting cleared and is able to breathe freely from both nostrils
- Any problems related to: shoulder, neck, back, lumbar, knee, heels, cervical and lumbar, spondylitis, sciatica, disc prolapse, paralysis, depression, headaches, epilepsy, migraine, diabetics, blood pressure, thyroid, kidney and gall bladder stones, Asthma, sinusitis, piles, colitis, nervous debility, insomnia, heart diseases, kidney, digestion, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, and constipation; all these problems are reversed by the 8-shape walking and improve your overall health.
How to do the Infinity Walk?
- Mark an Eight (“8′′) shaped pattern on the floor with 6-8 feet in width and 10-12 feet in length from North to South.
- Start walking from South to North clockwise for 15 minutes and then anticlockwise for 15 minutes. Begin walking from the starting point and follow the 1, 2, 3, and 4 markings.
- As you walk in the South-North direction, i.e. towards and against the earth’s magnetic field, the body gets energized and activates chakras and all internal organs for normal functioning.
- All your body parts, including your legs, ankles, knees, abdomen, hips, hands, shoulders, neck, and head, twist and turn as a result of the 8-shaped walking technique. When compared to normal walking, it provides better physical movement to all parts of the body.
- A daily routine of 30 minutes is sufficient, however, you can extend the time as per your comfort level.
- It is best to walk bare feet. Eventually, bare feet walking creates pressure at various points in your foot as a result of contact with the ground, stimulating all internal organs (the reflex acupressure points on the foot are linked to the internal organ).
It can be practiced with simple breathing (inhale and exhale) while walking or by chanting OM along with a Prana Mudra. Prana Mudra is performed by joining the little and ring fingertip with the thumb while keeping the other two fingers straight. This position of fingers in prana mudra directly impacts the flow of breath and heart rate, the circulatory system, body temperature, and the nervous system. Prana mudra gives a sense of calmness in the body and mind, it’s also known as peace mudra or Shanti mudra.
Where to do it?
Preferably in open air like parks, playgrounds, or open terraces. For people living in countries with harsh climates (cold, windy, hot), this Infinity Walk can be practiced at home too by placing two chairs and walking around them in the 8-shape.
When to do it?
It is highly beneficial when done on an empty stomach for 30 minutes. The best time would be early in the morning and/or evening between 5.00 am & 7.00 am. Research study tells that lung function, body rhythms, and temperature levels are ideal around 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Muscles are warm and flexible, reducing the risk of injury.
In conclusion, it is the easiest and most convenient exercise even for old aged people who cannot walk outside. Nowadays, Infinity walks are implemented in both pre-schools and nursing homes. Similarly, the infinity walk is used by occupational therapists, physical therapists, developmental optometry and vision therapy, speech therapists, and neuro-rehabilitation specialists.
So, how did you like this guide to the ultimate well-being? Is it not easy and convenient to practice this Infinity Walk?
- Kumar, S. (2020, January 6). A Srichandra, – Chief-Physiotherapist – SimsHospital. SIMS. simshospital.com. Available here
- Dr. R Vidhya Sree. (2018). “8” shaped walk maintains good health. International Journal of Physical Education, Sports and Health, 5(6), 01–02.
- A. (2021, May 20). Prana Mudra: How to Do, Benefits, Side Effects & Precautions. fitsri.com. Available here