Medical Reports & Case Studies

ISSN - 2572-5130


Prāṇāyāma is the practice of breath control in yoga. In modern yoga as exercise, it consists of synchronising the breath with movements between asanas, but is also a distinct breathing exercise on its own, usually practised after asanas. In texts like the Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and later in Hatha yoga texts, it meant the complete cessation of breathing. Prāṇāyāma (Devanagari: प्राणायाम prāṇāyāma) is a Sanskrit compound. It is defined variously by different authors. Macdonell gives the etymology as prana (prāṇa), breath, + āyāma and defines it as the suspension of breath.   Monier-Williams defined Pranayama in terms of the elements of Kumbhaka. Monier-Williams defines the compound prāṇāyāma as "of the three 'breath-exercises' performed during Saṃdhyā (See pÅ«rak, rechak (English: retch or throw out), kumbhak".This technical definition refers to a particular system of breath control with three processes as explained by Bhattacharyya: pÅ«rak (to take the breath inside), kumbhak (to retain it), and rechak (to discharge it). There are other processes of prāṇāyāma besides this three-step model. V. S. Apte's definition of āyāmaḥ derives it from ā + yām and provides several variant meanings for it when used in compounds. The first three meanings have to do with "length", "expansion, extension", and "stretching, extending", but in the specific case of use in the compound prāṇāyāma he defines āyāmaḥ as meaning "restrain, control, stopping".  

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