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Eleonora Zampatti's Ode to the Moon

"The moon understands what it means to be human. Uncertain. Alone. Cratered by imperfections."
Tahereh Mafi

Eleonora Zampatti | Manduka Blog

Since 2014, Ode to the Moon has brought people together to practice yoga, self-love, and the power of vulnerability. All this in the aim of creating awareness around domestic violence. Founder and Manduka Ambassador, Eleonora Zampatti, (herself a survivor of domestic abuse) shares her story below along with advice for being an advocate to yourself and your loved ones.

Could you share a little about your experience? 

I spent five years of my life at war with my body and my mind because I was in an abusive relationship.  He was the perfect guy when we met. Rich, polished, finishing school at Yale. When my parents met him they were so happy because he was very proper. But it was the beginning of a nightmare. In the time we were together he completely isolated me. I lost my visa because of him. He convinced me that my father was ignorant, that my mother didn't care about me, and that I had no friends except his friends. I did everything I could to meet his standards and it was never enough. When he did become physically abusive, he was always too smart to leave marks.

How did you get out of that place?

One day when my partner and I were fighting, I had a panic attack and left the apartment to walk around the city. I was on the Upper West Side in Manhattan and I walked by the 72nd Street Bikram studio -- not knowing what Bikram was. I recognized the word "yoga" and just wanted to shut my mind off and not think about anything for a few hours, so I walked in. I remember that for the entire hour and a half, I really could only concentrate on how hard it was to be in that room.

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After that class, I was empty.  I realized I had been holding my breath my whole life, telling myself not to say the wrong thing, move in the wrong way, or do the wrong thing. But after class my body and mind were exhausted and I was able to breathe again.

After that, yoga became my priority. When I was on my mat, everything was okay. The yoga room became my place of power where I truly understood that I am way stronger on a physical level than I ever thought. I started to like myself and love my body for being able to do things that I never thought I could.

Eleonora Zampatti | The Manduka Blog

Is there something about yoga specifically that makes it so healing over other forms of exercise?

Yoga taught me that vulnerability is strength. Think about it. In order to get into a handstand, it's not about pushing. It's about unlocking the back of your legs and lengthening the body. Your hips stack on top of your shoulders and the only thing you need to do is inhale and trust yourself. It's not about jumping into the pose, it's about moving into it with ease. That's true of life for me, too. It doesn't matter how broken you are. There's just a moment in your life where you just have to surrender to your faults and find strength in them.

How did Ode to the Moon get started? 

We started wtih community yoga classes that were donation based. I wanted to practice on days there was a new moon and to do a very restorative and grounding series.  I just wanted to start a conversation, raise money, and give back to a local association that offers shelter and services to victims of domestic violence.

We incorporated live music because art, music, and body movement together all help you to get in touch with your emotions -- especially the ones you don't want to feel. We did this for a long time and everyone in the community started to recognize our efforts. More than anything, though, a lot of people started to come to me and say "I'm not ready to go to a shelter, but I am abused, and I don't know what to do in the meantime." So I understood that there was a gap that needed to be filled.

It's very simply called awareness. There needs to be a place in the world where we're allowed to talk about domestic violence without judgement and it needs to be a place where we feel safe. The most violent aspect of domestic violence is the silence there is around the topic.

We also want to educate. I go to high schools in the area to talk to kids about bullying, self-love, relationships, my experience and about taking care of your body and being kind to yourself.

Eleonora Zampatti | The Manduka Blog

Where did the connection to the moon come from?

The moon has a cycle. There's no full moon without a new moon. In order to be strong and full of light, once a month the moon needs to disappear and be empty. It teaches you that nothing can be full without being empty. I had to be broken down completely and lose everything to find love for life again. I had really lost it for a while but when I found it again, it was a different kind of love. That makes us who we are.

What's the best way to support someone who may be experiencing violence in their relationship?

It really depends on whether the situation is life endangering or not. What I will suggest is to never make that person feel judged. Don't go over and say "What are you doing with this jerk!?" The point is not to push your friend away. The more bad things my friends used to say about my ex, the more I was like "They don't understand." Be there and remind them that they are capable. Try to become a mirror for those people to see who they really are.

And, of course, I would always suggest a yoga class. Yoga is always good advice. Yoga and pizza.

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And if you had to give one piece of advice to all women?

I'd give it to women, I'd give it to kids, and I'd give it to men. Learn to inspire yourself. Believe in yourself so much that you become your own inspiration. I don't want to sound cocky, but I think it's the most powerful thing you can do. Be inspired by who you are.

Learn more about Ode to the Moon. Follow Eleonora on Instagram. Interested in becoming a Manduka Ambassador? Apply here

 Eleonora's Manduka Selects:
Libertine Bralette in Black | Manduka Libertine Bralette
High Rise Legging in Hana Print | Manduka High Rise Legging

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