The term consists of two words, “Prāṇā” meaning “vital force” and “vital energy” and “āyāma” meaning control. More commonly, it refers to the breathing techniques allowing the student to control to some extent the breath pace and intensity. So it would be possible to enjoy some physical and mental benefits specific to the fostering of peace and purity of mind and heart. It is the discipline of the power of inner life, the “extension of the prāṇa or breath, the power of life”. The Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad, 7 centuries before our era, speaks about prāṇāyāma and later Sri Patañjali in his famous Yogasūtra in verses 49 to 53 about the Sādhanā Pāda.
« Back to Glossary Index
« Tasmin sati śvāsapraśvāsayor gativicchedaḥ prāṇāyāmaḥ tasmin. »
YS II, 49