Karl Paulnack, the director of the music division at Boston Conservatory, gives a speech to incoming music students about how music is a basic need of human survival:
"Music is a basic need of human survival. Music is one of the ways we make sense of our lives, one of the ways in which we express feelings when we have no words, a way for us to understand things with our hearts when we can’t with our minds.
"If we were a medical school, and you were here as a med student practicing appendectomies, you’d take your work very seriously because you would imagine that some night at two AM someone is going to waltz into your emergency room and you’re going to have to save their life. Well, my friends, someday at 8 PM someone is going to walk into your concert hall and bring you a mind that is confused, a heart that is overwhelmed, a soul that is weary. Whether they go out whole again will depend partly on how well you do your craft.”
Yoga teacher trainees, take note. This applies to us, too.
Every day, students walk into the hot room, some of them for the first time. Some of them will need saving - from broken hearts, from turbulent minds, from aching souls. And it's not like the E.R., where the wounds are obvious - you might never even know which people need saving. But sometimes, you might save them anyway. It depends - partly - on how well you do your craft. So practice with attention, with care, and with love.
Note: I read Paulnack's speech at this photo blog, written by a very talented young lady who is recording her time as a Swedish exchange student - worth a look!