Lazy 8 Breathing: A Simple Technique To Restore Calm & 7 Benefits

reviewed by Liz Burns 500H RYT
Last Updated:

Pressures borne out of our daily responsibilities, relationships, and work gradually ingrain stress in our general outlook on the world.

Fortunately, we have its antidote within ourselves – our breath! 

Explore the miraculous power of lazy 8 breathing. Learn how this simple yet effective technique can help you manage stress and restore a sense of balance.

In this article, learn:

  • What is lazy 8 breathing?
  • Benefits of lazy 8 breathing
  • How is it different from other breathing practices?
  • How to practice lazy 8 breathing
  • Precautions and yips
lazy 8 breathing

Lazy 8 Breathing: What Is It?

Lazy 8 breathing, also known as infinity loop breathing, is a unique deep breathing technique that emphasizes tracing the shape of a sideways figure eight, similar to the infinity symbol.

It is a mindfulness exercise combining elements of both visualization and deep breathing.

The breathing exercise promotes a sense of relaxation with better focus and reduced stress. It can be practiced on its own, or you can include it in your mindfulness routines and daily meditation regimen.

Once you know the right way to do this exercise, infinity loop breathing can be your go-to exercise to cope with stressful situations anytime.

Lazy 8 Breathing: Benefits Of The Practice

1. Improved focus and concentration

Engaging in lazy 8 breathing can cultivate mindfulness as it involves non-judgemental awareness of the present moment.

This heightened sense of awareness helps you focus better on the task at hand and makes you resilient to external stimuli and irrelevant thoughts.

Practicing meditation is also a great way to restore your focus and concentration. 

woman concentrating on laptop

Kinesthetic and visual aspects of lazy 8 breathing add sensory anchors that can redirect the attention back to the present moment. While tracing the sideways figure 8 with your breath, the rhythmic and repetitive moment serves as a focus point and declutters the mind.  

With deep and slow breaths, the oxygen intake is increased manifold, thus improving cognitive functions and mental clarity. Moreover, the exercise promotes mind-body integration, which can align both the physical and mental states. 

2. Emotional regulation

The breathing exercise can help effectively manage your emotions by triggering the body’s relaxation responses with the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system.

Deep, slow breaths during the exercise regulate the autonomic nervous system and counter the fight or flight responses. Another great way to counter such responses is to sit idly in a calm place with your eyes closed and practice meditation. 

Lazy 8 breathing provides a great mindful pause and gives you emotional space to take a step back and reflect on your intense emotions.

3. Improved respiratory functions

The infinity loop breathing technique focuses on diaphragmatic breathing, wherein the diaphragm muscle present below the lungs is completely engaged. This strengthens the diaphragm muscle and integrates deep breathing patterns.

The intentional and gentle breaths involved help relax the respiratory muscles, such as intercostal breaths.

The rhythmic nature of breaths in lazy 8 breathing exercises also helps clear and open airways, improving overall respiratory health. 

woman closing eyes and breathing on a sofa

4. Better relaxed sleep

Doing lazy 8 breathing for a few minutes before bed can release the muscular tension throughout your body. Consciously practicing deep breaths can support a more relaxed physical state.

Incorporating infinity loop breathing in your bedtime routine can signal both your body and mind to prepare for sleep. Thus, you get a more relaxed sleep time.

Focusing on deep breaths and visualization of the number 8 leads to a calm and peaceful state of body-mind. Performing the breathing exercises can help you sleep faster and improve sleep quality.

5. Reduced stress levels 

Deep breathing techniques like this promote relaxation and are associated with decreased production of stress hormones, leading to an overall reduction in stress levels.

With an intentional and rhythmic pattern of breaths, you let go of the tension and stress consciously. With each exhale, a sense of relief and relaxation prevails. 

woman smiling with their eyes closed

As a focal point, the infinity loop breathing technique shifts the focus from stressful thoughts and situations.

The deep breathing technique helps create a mental break and look at the stressors at hand without attached emotions. 

6. Higher Bodily Awareness

Improved bodily awareness through lazy 8 breathing extends beyond physical sensations. You may also become more familiar with your emotions and energetic states by tuning in to your body.

This awareness allows you to identify and process the emotions and energy that may be present in your body. As a result, it helps in promoting your overall well-being.

The continuous flow of breath and visualization in infinity loop breathing fortifies the integration of mental and physical forms.

As you synchronize your breath with the infinity loop or figure-8 pattern, you deepen the connection between your bodily experiences and thoughts. Such harmonious synchronization fosters a sense of wholeness and coherence.

The deliberate tracing of the figure-eight pattern with your breath employs both your visual and kinesthetic senses.

Once activated, both these senses enable you to notice the subtle shifts in your body. This, in turn, promotes a deeper connection with bodily sensations as you inhale and exhale.

yoga class in the park

7. Better mind and body connection

Lazy 8 breathing underscores the integration of the mind and body.

You establish a more robust mind-body connection by synchronizing your breath with the power of visualization. Such integration facilitates a deeper understanding and awareness of how your breath impacts your physical sensations and overall well-being.

Infinity loop breathing involves synchronizing your breath with the visualization of the figure-eight pattern. Blending breath and visualization establishes a powerful connection between the mind and body, promoting a more profound sense of unity and harmony.

A great way to enhance this sense of harmony is to be mindful of your thoughts; this breathing exercise can help you with that.

The mind-body connection is not restricted to any physical sensations but extends to emotions as well.

This technique can help you acknowledge and regulate your emotions by bringing understanding to the interlinked connection between your breath, moving experiences, and physical sensations.

woman meditating in her garden

Lazy 8 Breathing: How Is It Different From Other Breathing Practices

The continuous and circular flow

As the name suggests, figure 8, or infinity breathing, involves a circular flow of breath. Unlike other breathing techniques that require holding or pausing the breath, inversely, this technique encourages uninterrupted movement.

Mind-body integration

The infinity loop breathing technique is unique, with its approach focused on integrating mind and body. Syncing the breath with visualization enhances the mind-body connection and facilitates a deep sense of presence.

Ease of adaptation

The breathing technique can be easily adapted depending on various personal preferences. There is no hard and fast rule for the pace, duration, and depth of breaths, so you can tune them as they work best for you

figure 8 breathing

Better engagement

The visualization component integrated into the lazy 8 breathing exercise gives it a great engaging aspect that helps enhance concentration and focus

Lazy 8 Breathing: How To Practice It

  1. Find a comfortable sitting position; you can lie down or sit in a chair
  2. Take a moment to clear your mind and relax. You can close your eyes for better focus.
  3. Start by taking in a few deep breaths, inhale through your nose, and exhale using your mouth. While inhaling, allow your abdomen to inflate fully and then slowly exhale.
  4. Visualize the shape of a sideways figure-eight lying horizontally in its flowing movement. 
  5. Now start breathing in the loop pattern by slowly tracing the lower loop of figure-eight. Imagine your breath moving along one side of the loop towards the other.
  6. Once you reach the middle point of the imaginary loop or 8-figure, gradually exhale to trace the upper loop.
  7. Continue doing the same with a steady and slow rhythmic pattern. Allow your breath to guide the movement while maintaining a sense of ease.
  8. With the progressive loops, focus on visualization and the sensation of breath moving in and out of your lungs. In case your focus wanders, bring your attention back by concentrating on the imaginary 8-figure.  
  9. Practice the infinity loop breathing for a couple of minutes; allow your mind and body to relax with each breath.
  10. When ready to conclude the practice, take a few final deep breaths and slowly open your eyes. Note how you feel after the exercise.  
woman deep breathing

Lazy 8 Breathing: Precautions and Tips

  • Choose to sit or lie down in a peaceful and comfortable environment with the least distractions. 
  • Maintain an optimal body posture by aligning your spine, keeping the head in a neutral position, and relaxing your shoulders.
  • As a beginner to the lazy 8 breathing practice, you should start slowly and gradually increase the duration over time. Starting with a short duration allows the mind and body to adjust to the technique and prevent any discomfort. 
  • Ensure your breath is not forced or exaggerated; let the breathing be natural and comfortable. To make the exercise effortless, find a rhythm and stick to it.
  • Direct all your attention to the sensation of your breath continuously moving in and out of your body. Follow the movement along the imaginary loop of 8 figures using your mind’s eye.
  • Always listen to your body and respect its limitations. In case you face pain, dizziness, and discomfort, adjust your breathing or discontinue the exercise
  • The benefits of infinity loop breathing can be reaped with regular practice, so consistency is the only key.
  • To bring the exercise to fruition, ensure that you practice lazy 8 breathing with complete mindfulness and observe the breath without judgment. Cultivating the letting go state of mind enhances your experience.
  • If you face issues while concentrating, try to meditate for a few minutes.
  • If you have a history of pre-existing respiratory conditions, like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), seeking guidance is better. Consult a trusted health professional before you jump on the bandwagon. 

Lazy 8 Breathing: Concluding Thoughts 

Lazy 8 breathing is a great breathing and visualization exercise that is beneficial for improving focus, concentration, and sleep quality. 

When done the right way, lazy 8 breathing helps one experience mindfulness and peace of mind. 

To get the maximum benefits as mentioned above, ideally, you should perform this breathing exercise under the supervision of a teacher. If you face issues with visualization, you may draw the lazy 8-figure on a piece of paper and continue with the breathing. 

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Wenlin is a Women’s Well-being Coach, Qigong and Yoga specialist for women and Red School Menstruality Mentor who is passionate about empowering working women to overcome overwhelm to find flow, ease and joy in their life. Wenlin brings with her over 15 years experience working at the intersection of mindfulness, creativity, psychology and wellness, with over 3,000 hours of training and 8 years of experience supporting women across Asia, Europe and the USA. If you want to learn how to find more flow and ease in your life, Wenlin is here to support you.

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