Pranayama is a practice relating to the control and regulation of the breath through specific breathing techniques and exercises.
Pranayama exercises help us to clear physical and emotional blocks or obstacles in the body so that the breath, and prana, can flow freely. Pranayama involves specific breathing exercises that can either be practised on their own, or as part of a Hatha yoga (physical yoga) practice.
The Sanskrit word Pranayama comes from Prana (life energy) and Ayama (to extend, draw out). The practice of Pranayama is the fourth of Patanjali’s 8 limb path of yoga following the Yamas, Niyamas and Asana. It prepares the mind and body for the next four limbs of yoga, “When we practice Pranayama the veil is gradually drawn away from the mind and there is growing clarity. The mind becomes ready for deep meditation”