pra·​na·​ya·​ma | \ ˌprä-nə-ˈyä-mə How to pronounce pranayama (audio) \
variants: or less commonly pranayam \ ˌprä-​nə-​ˈyäm How to pronounce pranayama (audio) \
plural pranayamas also pranayams

Definition of pranayama

: yogic breath control or a technique used in yogic breath control Held in a colonial-era convent in the heart of Old Havana, morning classes were devoted to asana, afternoons to yoga philosophy, evenings to pranayama.— Fernando Pagés Ruiz I detail here a powerful pranayam from the Sanatan Kriya, the regular practice of which will leave the body healthier, in balance and less susceptible to diseases.The News Chronicle (Nigeria) Pranayama, also known as breath yoga, is a means of self-realization. It's also the focus of this 300-plus-page step-by-step guide to manipulating your breathing.— Benjamin A. Bensadon often used before another noun pranayama breathingpranayama instructionThe class fits nicely into our work day and is a simple and convenient way for many of our 100 employees to be introduced to asana and pranayama practice.— Tom Pilarzyk

First Known Use of pranayama

1811, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pranayama

borrowed from Sanskrit prāṇāyāma-, from prāṇa- "breath, breath of life, prana " + āyāma- "stretching, extension," noun derivative from the verb base ā-yam- "stretch, lengthen," from ā- "near, toward" (going back to Indo-Iranian *ā-, of uncertain origin) + yam-, base of yacchati "(s/he) extends, offers, controls," aorist yamati, going back to Indo-Iranian yam- (whence Avestan -yasaiti "holds, takes away"), of uncertain origin

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The first known use of pranayama was in 1811

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Cite this Entry

“Pranayama.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

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