For those of whom are familiar and regulars at NAGESWARA PARK, on Luz Church Road, Mylapore, you will find a mixed of young and old, men and women doing an 8 like walk around two trees at a distance of 7 to 8 feet between them. I had gotten so inquisitive that, I stopped by the walker and asked why they are doing it and what is very special about doing 8ish walk between two trees, rather than walk on the anti-skid walk track. This is what, she said as she continued her walk, “it is more like a yoga and it is good for the body, health and mind”. WOW….

It is very fascinating that number 8 (the eight noble fold path) reflects the Buddha’s preaching, the famous song of RAJNI, starrer film BASHA, also tells about the ways of one’s life divided into 8 parts (8/8), where the life starts from one eight to the finishing touch at the last eight where he says, this is how the life has to be lived. This had become a super duper hit song. While number 8 is thought of to be very unlucky and vehicle owners steer clear of this number for cars, but for the city walkers, it is “THE PERFECT NUMBER”.

It explains why the 8s are popping up all over the city – from parks to colony streets, community halls to private terraces. Morning walkers of Srinagar Colony in Saidapet, chant why wait? Improve your gait by walking on an 8. In fact, the virtues of 8-walking are reverberating through the streets of this Colony. So much so that there is a traffic jam every morning on the 16 feet by 8 feet painted YELLOW 8. “We are going to make another 8” says N Sivaramakrishnan of the Walkers’ Club. The first 8 was painted on two months ago by “eight-vocate” Gunasekharan S, Ex-Councillor of the area. 

At the Metrozone gated Community in Mogappair, walkers troop along an imaginary eight-shaped figure every morning, while fitness enthusiasts at a city park walk around two bushes in an 8 shape. The Madras Club too recently announced that it was giving its members an 8-shaped walking track facility.

Arulappa Srichandra, Chief Physiotherapist at SIMS Hospital, Chennai, has been recommending this 8-shape walk to his patients. “Walking is beneficial to everyone. But the 8-shape adds a little more to a walk he says. Although he admits he does not know the origins of the walk – now popular overseas as well as infinite walking – he does vouch for its benefits. He suggests that people practice the 8-walk in the morning, evening or any time but always on an empty stomach. The key is to focus on the walk, so that means no mobile phones, no chatter, just mindful walking. It is not as easy as one thinks. It is good for co-ordination, concentration and balance”, he says.

Proud grandma and champion of the 8-MOVEMENT, 62-year-old, A Amala, says she has a chalk-outlined 8 on her terrace, which she drew after she attended a one-day course on the health walk few months ago. “It’s good to cool down after your fast morning walk with a slow walk in this shape. It is meditative and normalizes your breathing”, she says. Meanwhile, the internet has begun bursting with advertisements for 8-shaped mats and stickers from prices that range from a few hundreds to several thousands. But Amala says all you need is a little chalk and a lot of motivation.

Yoga Exponent Sri. Kumar ji, on an interview with him over the phone, this is what he had to say, “the 8-walk has no antecedent to yoga, but it has become THE THING, now. It is good for hip, spine, knees and legs overall, but this 8-walk helps is burning the fat around hip region particularly. It is better to use cloth mats for yoga rather than rubber yoga mats, as while doing yoga, heat that emanates from the body, because of using rubber yoga mats the heat gets returned to the persons’ body again. They are bound to get stomach upset, hair fall, skin problems in the long run, owing to long usage of rubber mats while doing yoga. To beat the heat this summer he suggests, people should drink more of PALM TREE WATER. For regular application of oil on head to cool down and beat the summer heat, he says, MANJAL KARISALANKANNI OIL is good”. (YELLOW KARISALANKANNI OIL)

Eclipta prostrata commonly known as false daisy, yerba de tago, Karisalankanni, and bhringraj, is a species of plant in the sunflower family. It is widespread across much of the world.This plant has cylindrical, greyish roots. The solitary flower heads are 6–8 mm (0.24–0.31 in) in diameter, with white florets. The achenes are compressed and narrowly winged. This species grows commonly in moist places in warm temperate to tropical areas worldwide. It is widely distributed throughout IndiaNepalChinaThailand, and Brazil. (Wikipedia)

On a tele conversation interview with one of the private physiotherapists in the city of Chennai, these points were put forth, “This shape-8 walk was founded by DEBORAH SUNDECK, is also called the INFINITY WALK, which anybody can and easiest walk to do. But what it needs is lots of co-ordination as it involves motor skills and eye movements. It is indeed a therapeutic process for development of cross co-ordination. It enables COGNITIVE function especially in the brain related cognitive areas.

In continuation, the effects of such shape-8 walk, best results can be gotten when walked on barefoot, as it activates proprio septoes, because of which the internal organs too get activated and functions well. This walking acts as a pressure point, which reduces blood sugar, headaches, digestive problems, thyroid, obesity, knee pain, reverses diabetes conditions, constipation.

It is most effective when done for 30 minutes, end of which when a stuffy nose is felt it gets cleared, breathing will be cleared or free breathing can be done from both the nostrils. This walk acts as a good eye sight enhancer.When done twice a day it heals foot cracks. This is one of the easiest way to tone body and legs, burns calories, prevents osteoporosis, boosts metabolism. Because of this type of physical activity, it improves bad moods, lower risks of stress, engaging in a positive life style.

It improves one’s body awareness and concentration. Learning of balance of body and rhythm through this walk can be gotten. This infinite walk has been used by physiotherapists all over the world to treat patients in aftermath of BRAIN INJURY.

From the point of view of children, this shape-8 walk has been done as a child’s game-plan, where they will be asked to walk on the drawn shape-8, to take their minds off cell phones, other gadgets, with instructions like slow-fast, high-low, take baby steps-giant steps. This is definitely supposed to improve the children’s concentration, hand-body-eye co-ordination or motor skills, improve self-awareness, of course it is an immense playful activity too”.

Walking is very good for health generally, every other doctor does suggest WALKING, on their prescription apart from diet control. Walking wards off depression, making one feel positive about themselves. Walking is a totally free, easy exercise that requires little effort, benefits not only your physical but also your mental well-being.  A daily half-hour walk helps avoid serious problems, like coronary heart disease to name one, by lowering high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, improving blood circulation, diabetes, for overall health, and one’s well-being.