Definition of pranayama in US English:



  • (in Hindu yoga) the regulation of the breath through certain techniques and exercises.

    • ‘Once this platform of virtuous living is established, ashtanga yoga's subsequent six limbs can be pursued, beginning with asana sitting quietly in yogic posture, and pranayama, breath control.’
    • ‘Clearly we see ample evidence that the ancient seers considered it very important that the mind be cleared and prepared to fully experience dhyana and one of the most powerful tools in preparation for dhyana is mantra and pranayama.’
    • ‘This system of inner discovery begins with asana - sitting quietly in yogic posture - and pranayama, breath control.’
    • ‘It focuses on hatha yoga with some pranayama, and emphasizes doing the postures as rigorously and fully as possible, given the limits of each student's ability.’
    • ‘Mindfulness meditation, yoga asanas and pranayama are each powerful practices that can affect our lives deeply.’


Sanskrit, from prāṇa ‘breath’ + āyāma ‘restraint’.