Pranayama practice has several benefits. These include increasing oxygen supply to the body, reduction of stress and tension, improved immunity and digestion, enhancement of the body's ability to eliminate toxins, as well as promoting balance in the mind and body. While it can be very challenging to control one's thoughts, it is much easier to control breath, which has a direct effect in calming the mind. Over time, deep breathing practices can lead to lengthening of the silent periods in between our repetitive thoughts.
Kundalini pranayama is said to have a cleansing effect on the chakras. There are 7 chakras in the body: root, sacral, solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye and crown, each symbolizing different energies. For instance, the heart chakra relates to one's ability to be compassionate, empathetic, and to give and receive love.
When there is an energy blockage in a chakra, there may be ill effects on the mind and body connected to its domain. To illustrate, if the heart chakra is blocked, the person may be selfish, unaffected by other people's suffering, have difficulty being affectionate and loving, feel lonely, and value their happiness at the expense of others. On a physical level, it may manifest as lung diseases, high blood pressure, heart problems and chronic upper back pain.
General signs of chakras being imbalanced include depression, fear, doubt, repression, vengeance, criticism, greed, and inability to engage in healthy, mutually satisfying relationships. Ways of balancing the chakras include pranayama, yoga postures specific to each chakra, mudras specific to a chakra, meditations focused on a specific chakra, sound healing, and yantras for each chakra.
I find it helpful to use a variety of these techniques to balance the chakras at different times. Different people resonate with different techniques and teachers. I thought I would post some helpful resources that I have tried so you can see how it works for you.