Thomas Michael Amelio, Shivanand, first learned yoga as a young child from his father. In his teens he continued his practice of yoga, meditation and study of the world’s spiritual traditions. His love for these teachings and practices led him to Kripalu Yoga Ashram, in Pennsylvania, which later was to become the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, in Lenox, Massachusetts. There he received many of his teaching certifications and trainings. A founding member of, and senior teacher at, Kripalu, he lived and worked there for almost twenty years, including a one-year sabbatical in India where Swami Kripalvandaji (lovingly called: “Kripalu”) did his spiritual practice. Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health is the largest center of its kind in North America with over 25,000 guests a year, and he continues to lead programs there, including the New Year’s Spiritual Renewal Retreat.
After his service at Kripalu, he moved to Manhattan where he was Director of Special Projects for Deepak Chopra’s Infinite Possibilities Media, and then moved on to other media projects for prominent authors in the field of wellness and consciousness, such as Andrew Weil, Thomas Moore and others.
From 2000-2002 he was director of the Ross Institute Center for Well-Being in East Hampton, NY. The center brought the best in wellness, spirituality, and global culture from the eastern, western and indigenous traditions to the Hamptons community. The center is a grand and gorgeous setting for learning and, along with the Ross School, hosted such presenters as Mehmet Oz MD, Thomas Moore, Stephen Spielberg, Spalding Gray, Houston Smith, Ram Dass, Quincy Jones, Billy Joel, Deepak Chopra MD, Andrew Weil, MD, Larry Dossey MD, Peter Mathiessen and many others.
Currently he continues a similar work as President of The New York Open Center. The Open Center, for over twenty-nine years New York City’s premier educational organization for programs and classes in the field of holistic learning and world culture, offers over 500 classes a year. After a quarter-century in Soho, the Open Center moved to a beautiful and more spacious location at 22 East 30th, between Madison and 5th Avenues.
In the NYC area he has taught thousands in classes on meditation, mantra, self inquiry, Vedic understanding, and yoga philosophy. He is also a Certified Professional Coach and sees clients privately.
While living in India, he edited the book Yoga:The Ultimate Spiritual Path –a comprehensive work on yoga philosophy, by Rajarshi Muni, published in 1994. He is a singer-songwriter, with a solo CD, Inner Quest, and the jazz-pop-World-Music fusion CD Shakti Fusion put out by his 8-piece band of the same name. In 2008 he released a CD of mantra invocations for deep meditation: Mantra Darshan.