Ode to the Moon's mission is to inspire people to step up, get involved, and cultivate compassion for those suffering in silence.  They seek to empower individuals who are in need of finding a voice to break their silence, offering a clear path to reach out for assistance and wash away the shame often attached to this issue.  Their projects highlight education and discussion on the topic of domestic violence, as well as guidance to various professional services for those who need it.

As explained by the  National Coalition Against Domestic Violence: "Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats, and emotional/psychological abuse... [It] is prevalent in every community, and affects all people regardless of age, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or nationality... Domestic violence can result in physical injury, psychological trauma, and even death. The devastating consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and last a lifetime."   The NCADV notes that in the United States alone, an average of 20 people are physically abused by intimate partners every minute, adding up to more than 10 million abuse victims annually, and on a typical day, domestic violence hotlines nationwide receive approximately 20,800 calls.

We spoke with Eleanora, herself a survivor of domestic violence, about her personal healing process, the role yoga has played in her journey and her dedication to support others, and what Ode to the Moon is doing to help break the cycle of domestic violence and the silence surrounding it. 



How has yoga provided a path for healing trauma in your life and for creating Ode to the Moon?   

Yoga has helped me connect to the present and let go of the pain of the past.  I became so strong that I was not only able to stand on my arms, but more importantly, I was able to walk away from all the sadness I was living in.  I ended the abusive relationship that I was trapped in without getting back into it, and more than anything, I was able to do so without feeling lost.  I understood that yoga had changed me and helped me become stronger and I wanted to share this with people. I started to feel the need to not only teach yoga, but also to use it to bring awareness to a topic that too often is kept in silence: domestic violence.  This is why I have created a series of events called Ode to the Moon.  I teach yoga because I want people to have a place where they can feel safe and truly understand what it means to be vulnerable - a place that is free of judgment, where we can all practice together and support each other with love and compassion.   

In addition to yoga, Ode to the Moon utilizes other expressive modalities - other movement practices, visual art, and music - to support healing and education.  How do these practices help support your mission? 

Art, music and movement are all expression of our soul.  If we can truly connect to who we are, to our strengths and our weaknesses, we can heal from anything that is affecting us. We can transform the pain that we have inside into something beautiful and let it go. 

How have your experiences as a survivor of domestic violence influenced the way you teach yoga? 

Because of what I have been through, I learned to be intuitive and how to “listen”...  How to listen to people who stay silent, listen to the way they move and read into their eyes, and try to simply be there for them, without judgment or expectations. 
I want my class to be a safe place where people can be themselves and discover how strong they really are...  Like the cycles of the moon, which embodies a lyrical flow of dark and light, life and death, strength and surrender.  Convinced that yoga is much more than just asana, I encourage my students to accept their vulnerabilities. Without weakness there can be no strength and without acceptance there can be no healing. My classes are challenging yet accessible, and I try to provide my students with the knowledge and courage necessary to carry their practice out of the yoga studio and into their daily lives.  

What have you found to be the biggest obstacle to breaking the cycle of domestic violence and the silence around it? 

The biggest obstacles are shame and judgment. Victims are ashamed to talk because they are afraid not only of what their abuser can do to them but also of judgment from others. 
One of the most common comments a victim hears is, "Why didn't you leave him/her?" as if to underline that it was a stupid decision on your part and therefore you were looking for trouble.  Because of these delicate dynamics, it's really hard to start a conversation on a topic like that.  It's uncomfortable. 

How best can we be allies and advocates in our day to day lives?  How can people help support Ode to the Moon?   

Listen to those who need help. 
Just listen.  Avoid judgment of their situation and trying to direct them to “help”. 
Be patient with those who are abused and help them understand that love has nothing to do with violence and that we all deserve to be loved for just who we are. 

Ode to the Moon's current model is event-based, with donations made during celebrations of yoga, art, and music.  Our next project is to create an online platform with tools for healing, including online yoga classes and resources for finding out where and how someone can get the help they need, anywhere in the world, without judgment.  We are seeking volunteers who believe in our mission. I would love to work with social media and marketing professionals, videographers, graphic designers, web designers, yoga teachers, and fundraising experts.  If you know someone, please send them to me!




Werkshop is humbled to be able to partner with folks like Eleanora who are working to make the world a safer, kinder, and more compassionate place.  We sincerely hope you'll consider supporting Ode to the Moon, whether that means taking home a pair of leggings, attending one of their events, helping spread the word, or by donating your time and skills to help them grow in their mission. 

With much love and sincere gratitude,

Tina Z and the Eagle Rock WERKSHOP® Famdizzle

Blog Images © Aaron Santoro, @mavtoro