In Sanskrit, pranam means “life," "soul” or “pay respect,” and asana means “seat.” When put into practice, this pose has a tranquil, centering effect on the mind and body, and is used to focus and deepen the breath.
The gesture of hands at heart’s center with palms pressed together is a common greeting in Eastern cultures. In yoga, heart’s center is thought to be where the self is located. In pranamasana, one is honoring and connecting with the self; one’s teacher, if in a guided practice; as well as the Divine.
This pose is often used at the start and/or finish of a yoga practice.