The fourth step is Pranayama.
The word is composed from two Sanskrit words:
- Prana: meaning life force (noted particularly as the breath), and
- either ayama: to restrain or control the prana (implying a set of breathing techniques where the breath is intentionally altered in order to produce specific results)
- or ayāma: meaning to extend or draw out (as in extension of the life force)
Generally translated as breath control, Prana is the life force or energy that exists everywhere and flows through each of us through the breath.
The basic movements of Pranayama are:
- retention of breath