The words “prana” meaning “life-force” and “ayama” meaning “to lengthen or to regulate” make up pranayama. Pranayama focuses and aims to lengthen, control and regulate the breath. The rechak (exhaled air), poorak (inhalation) and kumbhak (retention during normal inhaling and exhaling) are the three parts of the breath that are regulated. Pranayama is practiced to develop mental, physical and spiritual strength.

Major Pranayamas

Some major types of pranayama practiced as a part of Hatha Yoga are: