Pranayama is the measuring, control, and directing of the breath. The essence that we breathe in and out contains prana, which manifests itself as our life force. Ayama means regulation of breath. Pranayama is the science of breath. It is the process of elongation, extension, expansion, and lengthening of each breath.
Pranayama also involves the retention of breath, which is deliberate and rhythmic controlling of the breath. This control of the retention of the breath along with the extended inhalation and exhalation comprise the art of pranayama.
Pranayama or breathing technique is very important in yoga. It goes hand in hand with the asana or pose, allowing a more healthful state to be experienced and allowing the mind to become more calm.