The latin word for breath is spiritus. Therefore, we can interpret breathing as a way of witnessing the flow of spirit through us. Spirit is life energy. If one has high energy and enthusiasm, spirit flows freely with abundance and ease. Conversely, if one has low energy and is depressed or fearful, spirit is blocked and consequently, the breath may be constricted as well.
It is normal to hold your breath when overcome with fear or sadness. External circumstances can sometimes literally take our breath away. When this happens, it is imperative to bring attention to any changes in your breathing pattern, then focus on grounding and centering yourself through deep abdominal breathing. Mindfully, bring yourself back to a place of calm relaxation and with patience and perseverance, the flow of spirit will naturally return in a very timely way! Breath in love, breathe out lingering fear and sadness.