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The Breathing Methods That Will Help You Maintain Your Cool

Return to your center.

Wellness

"Everything is going to be all good as long as you breathe." This is the advice I would hear constantly throughout my life when things weren't going as planned. At the time, I never understood how breathing could solve all my problems. As I got older and developed a meditation practice, I began to experience the benefits of breathwork: lower levels of stress and anxiety, the ability to think clearer, healing emotional wounds, releasing negative thoughts, and increased levels of happiness. Becoming one with my breath has helped me tremendously, and it can help you too.

We can't discuss breathing methods without talking about the master of breathing himself, Wim Hof. Wim Hof, more known as The Iceman, is an extreme athlete, philosopher, and breathwork genius. He has been able to withstand freezing temperatures through the art of breathwork. Hof's method has been featured in James Nestor's book, Breath. James is a journalist who set out to scientifically test long-held beliefs about breathing.

Through modern research, James and other scientists have been able to prove that we can change the mind through our breath. Making adjustments to the way we inhale and exhale can improve the overall quality of life.

I have implemented most of James Nestor's breathwork practices into my meditation. In my experience, using these methods have helped your girl all the way relax. If you're feeling a little tense and looking to realign, then these breathing tactics might be for you!

Here are the top breathing methods to help you come back to the center.

1.Deep Belly Breathing

This breathwork method is the "OG" of all breathing methods. Deep belly breathing is a great way to release any tension in your muscles. Tension in your muscles can be related to stress and anxiety. Deep belly breathing lets the muscles in our body know it's time to relax. The best way to implement deep belly breathing is by laying down. Inhale through your belly and exhale through your mouth by making a whistle shape with your lips. Try your best not to move your chest when deep belly breathing. Repeat at least 3-10 times.

2.4-7-8 Method

The 4-7-8 method is a personal favorite of mine. I love the 4-7-8 method because it allows me to take control of my breath. When I take control of my breath, it makes me feel like I'm taking back control of my life. The 4-7-8 method is perfect when life feels chaotic.

The 4-7-8 method can seem intimidating at first, but it is quite simple. You can practice this method by sitting up or laying down; inhale slowly for 4 seconds through your nose. When you reach the top of your breath, hold it for 7 seconds. Exhale slowly and count for 8 seconds. Repeat as many times as needed.

3.Nose Song

Now, I'm going to keep it real with you. This is where breathwork can feel a little weird, but I promise you it's everything. Nose song consists of breathing in through your nose and humming. According to Indie Bound, humming helps produce neurochemicals such as oxytocin. When oxytocin is released, it helps reduce stress and induce calmness.

Incorporating breathwork with humming can also help you fall asleep during those long restless nights.

Most prefer to practice 'nose song' breathwork in solitude to avoid being judged. You may practice this method anywhere that makes you most comfortable. Sitting up or laying down are both acceptable when trying this method. Simply inhale through your nose, hold your breath for a beat, and hum when exhaling. Repeat as many times as needed.

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Before she was Amira Unplugged, rapper, singer, and a Becoming a Popstar contestant on MTV, she was Amira Daughtery, a twenty-five year-old Georgian, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. “I thought my career path was going to lead me to law because that’s the way I thought I would help people,” Amira tells xoNecole. “[But] I always came back to music.”

A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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