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

Examples of pranayama in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The glacially spinning pranayama wizards with their flowing Gandalfian beards and art-teacher ponytails. Jeff Weiss, Spin, 21 Aug. 2023 More than just places to practice downward dog, studios that go beyond the physical aspects of asana such as Stone Wave Yoga — which hosts classes, pranayama workshops, farm meditation, and retreats — are on the rise as well. Lindsay Cohn, Travel + Leisure, 30 June 2023 These mystical experiences facilitated by healers are designed to expand consciousness (think: a quantum reading and frequency healing experience and an Awakening Journey featuring intensive pranayama (breath work) and an astrological chart reading). Kathryn Romeyn, Travel + Leisure, 30 Nov. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pranayama.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1811, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pranayama was in 1811

Dictionary Entries Near pranayama

Cite this Entry

“Pranayama.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Dec. 2023.

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