Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Ayama Mean?

Ayama is a Sanksrit word meaning “expansion,” “extension” or “breadth.” The word is most notably used in the yoga community in connection with pranayama, the conscious awareness of the breath. In the practice of pranayama breathing techniques, it is considered that yogis are extending or expanding (ayama) the vital life force (prana) throughout the body.


Yogapedia Explains Ayama

Although many construct the word, pranayama, with prana and yama in order to literally translate to “the restriction of life force,” in a pranayama practice, yogis seek to free or direct prana throughout the body through controlled breathing. The intention is to allow the vital life force to expand and move throughout the body, not restrict it within through controlled breathing. Therefore, many yogis believe that ayama is used in the rightful construction of the word, with pranayama literally translating to “the expansion of the life force” instead.

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