Thomas Amelio (Shivananda) has been a leader, teacher, and facilitator in the field of contemplative education and practice for over forty years. A founding member of, and senior teacher at, Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, he was one of the early members who helped grow the original Kripalu ashram (monastery) into the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, programs center, in Lenox, Massachusetts. He worked with the organization for almost twenty years, including a one-year sabbatical in Kripalu, India, where Swami Kripalvananda (lovingly called: “Kripalu”) did his spiritual practice and writing for decades. Read the rest of his Biography here.
At Kripalu he received many of his teaching certifications and trainings. While living in India, in 1990-91, he edited the book Yoga: The Ultimate Spiritual Path –a comprehensive work on yoga philosophy, by Swami Rajarshi Muni, published in 1994. In India he was privately mentored, daily, by Rajarshi Muni in the deeper teachings and practices of yoga philosophy—some not easily found in writing, but transmitted via oral teaching only.
Kripalu Center U.S remains the largest center of its kind in North America with over 30,000 guests a year, 700 rooms and 600 staff. During the years Kripalu was offering its annual Yoga and Psychotherapy Conference, Thomas was on the small team of long-time yoga practitioners and psychotherapists (including author, Stephen Cope) that helped illuminate what “transformation” is, in light of yogic and modern psychological terms.
He continues to lead programs at Kripalu, including the long-running New Year’s Spiritual Renewal Retreat, and others.
After his service at Kripalu, he moved to New York City where he was Director of Special Projects for Deepak Chopra’s Infinite Possibilities Media, and then, Upaya/Tommy Boy music, moved on to other media projects for prominent authors in the field of wellness and consciousness—such as Andrew Weil, Thomas Moore, Deepak, and others.
From 2000-2002 he was the first director of the Ross Institute Center for Well-Being in East Hampton, NY— founded by Steve Ross (who famously merged Time Inc. and Warner Bros.) and his wife, Courtney Ross, with whom he worked directly to evolve the Center’s vision.
The Center brought the best in wellness, spirituality, and global culture from the Eastern, Western and indigenous traditions, to the Hamptons community, and is a grand setting for learning and, along with the Ross School, hosted such presenters as Thomas Moore, Prof. Amit Goswami, Stephen Spielberg, Spalding Gray, Houston Smith, Mehmet Oz MD,Ram Dass, Quincy Jones, Billy Joel, Deepak Chopra MD, Andrew Weil, MD, Larry Dossey MD, Peter Matthiessen and many others.
He has been faculty at The New York Open Center for twenty-four years, and for thirteen years served first as its Managing Director, then President/CEO. The Open Center has been, for nearly forty years, New York City’s premier educational organization for programs and classes in the field of holistic learning and world culture, offering over 500 classes a year. As part of his role he helped to launch a number of professional trainings, such as: Coaching for Transformation; Sound and Music Practitioner Training; Meditation and Contemplative Studies Training; Building a Thriving Practice; The Art of Dying Institute, and many more. He also helped build affiliations with the New York College for Health Professions, Pacifica Graduate Institute, The New York State Department of Education for Proprietary Professions, Maria Shriver’s Architects of Change, and many others. He is a Licensed Proprietary School Director with the New York Department of Education.
Thomas’s organization— Contemplative Solutions, LLC, offers the time-tested core wisdom and practices from the Eastern mindfulness and yoga traditions in a way that complements the best in modern psychotherapeutic mind-body developments. He has taught thousands in the areas of meditation, mantra, Self-Inquiry, Vedic understanding, personal development, and Yoga Philosophy. He has offered programs, trainings, and consultations with organizations-for-transformation such as Kripalu, Omega, 1440 Multiversity, NY Open Center, Maria Shriver’s Open Field, Becoming Safely Embodied Institute, Ross Institute, East Hampton, Modi Academic International Institute (MAAI—New Delhi), Dream See Do, and others.
Thomas is A Certified Professional Coach (CPC) whose clients include those who are seeking values fulfillment; spiritual emergence issues; building a private spiritual practice; seeking spiritual mentoring; and overall specific strategic support in all aspects of building a transformational business–including, vision, mission, marketing, community building, etc.
He is a musician, Certified Integrative Sound Practitioner, and proponent of sound for integration and healing, with a solo CD, Inner Quest, and the jazz-pop-World-Music fusion CD: Shakti Fusion, put out by the 8-member band of the same name. His more recent recordings include a CD of mantra invocations for deep meditation: Mantra Darshan. His new music, The Infinite Om is now available.
What Folks Say about Thomas’ Work:
“Having known and studied with Thomas for over thirty years I highly recommend him for teaching and coaching — actually for anything. His wisdom and love for people is infectious and makes a world of difference as you navigate bringing spirituality into everyday life.” Deirdre Fay, MSW, Founder, Safely Embodied Network. Dfay.com
“One of my mentees recently asked me, “What do you & your
Professional & Spiritual Coach work on?”
I found myself answering, “Thomas helps me keep my heart open.”
What I meant was that Thomas has helped me live aligned with my ideals and my life’s mission. In the last 10 months since we began working together, despite the horrors going on, Thomas has helped me live a more authentic life and speak my truth, no matter the external circumstances.
Professionally, as a Western medicine-trained physician, I have experienced a deepening of my ability to connect with and provide compassionate-based care to my patients and their families. Additionally, in my role as a teacher, it is easier to teach and role-model compassionate-based care to my students and residents. I have been better able to mentor the next generations of physicians to do the same.
Thomas’ model of coaching takes place on a spiritual level, and on a concrete every-day level. In these past 10 months, he has helped me shape the ecosystem around me, and within me, that now supports the manifestation of the best version of myself. Every day.
Oana Tomescu, MD PhD
Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine and Pediatrics
Associate Program Director, Internal Medicine/Pediatrics Residency Program
Core Faculty, Internal Medicine Residency Program
“Thomas is one of the most generous and wise teachers I know. He is always working on more levels than you’re aware of, and is genuinely interested in helping others. He will sometimes have a way of putting something you need to hear in the simplest and most direct way.
I feel truly lucky to have worked with him and have him helping me. You can’t really compare Thomas’ work to other teachers and coaches because his involves so many levels. And his work on each level is so rich. He helps produce real actual transformation. You cannot say that often. We’re lucky to have him.” David R. NYC.
“I appreciate the warmth, grace, humility, and accessibility that Thomas brings to our weekly sessions. As a teacher, I am grateful for the organization and clarity in his presentation of information, his depth of knowledge, patience, and genuine interest in fostering a community of learners. Each week I leave class feeling energized and inspired by the balance of theory and practical exercises that Thomas shares. In fact, I was so impressed by his workshop contributions to The Integrative Sound and Music Institute Certificate Program at the New York Open Center that I chose to continue studying with him beyond the scope of the program!” Naemeh S.
“I had the pleasure of working with Thomas Amelio as a student of the Meditative and Contemplative Studies program (MACS), a 7-month program hosted by the Open Center in New York City from 2019 to 2020. Thomas is the founder of the MACS program and he was also a participating faculty. In addition to that, he doubled as the program facilitator and participated as a dedicated student.
Thomas is loving-kindness personified! It was an honor to learn from his incredible depth of wisdom and his many years of experience. He is an exceptional human being, an outstanding teacher, a true dharma practitioner and a supportive colleague and friend. His heart is so open to the ancient teachings and he reverently transmits those teachings with grace, insight and care. I have been studying the dharma and meditative traditions in various higher education settings for twenty years and Thomas is among the most distinguished teachers in the field. It was an absolute joy to study with Thomas and I look forward to future learning opportunities with him.”
Troy, NY and Brooklyn, NY
“I was honored to attend one of the New Year’s Retreats with Thomas at Kripalu several years ago. I have been studying meditation with many teachers over the last 20 years and also have a regular meditation practice. I was looking for a place to slow down, relax, enjoy nature and eat delicious food that would be cooked for me by amazing chefs at Kripalu. I was somewhat skeptical about how useful sitting with a group would really be for me. I was in for a big surprise. Every moment spent in the workshop Thomas taught was priceless. He managed to create such a wonderful environment when everyone felt included and valued. Connections I felt with strangers when working in small groups were so powerful I still remember them. Listening to Thomas’s chanting took all my stress and worries away. I still have his CD and listen to it often. I am forever grateful for this experience. Thomas is a true gift to anyone looking for more meaning in their lives.” Almira R. NYC
“Thomas is a gem. He sincerely is a treasure. A colleague and I recently spoke about our experiences in his course and the energy (even in a virtual experience via Zoom) in our spaces as well as in ourselves, was improved. When I recommend that friends take his class, I hear great things back.
He is a teacher of tremendous experience, knowledge, and integrity. The commitment, purity of intention, depth of connection, what I believe is true spirituality, and dedication to the tradition and transmitting it well, are apparent in each interaction. These are all very balanced by a genuine humanity, grounded presence, gratitude, and joy to be the teacher that he is.
I am among those who believe we are all students and teachers and all that comes with that concept. That said, in a classroom setting, it can feel rare to find a teacher simultaneously strong in all the areas mentioned above. I believe that Thomas is one of them.” Ashley L.
“Thomas first became a valuable mentor to me while he was my manager as the Managing Director of the Open Center (he later went on to become its President). He was a kind, compassionate, and reflective manager. He also managed with a sense of fun and adventure. You knew he cared about the entire staff and this is why his solutions were effective. I missed Thomas’ good spirit after I left the Open Center, which led me to take two classes he gave on meditation (one I still take). These classes have been valuable to me and I have incorporated his teachings into my well-being practices.” Heather W.
“During a very challenging time in my spiritual practice, and my life as a whole, Thomas was highly recommended to me by a dear friend. The work I did with Thomas at that time was nothing short of a lifesaver, a true blessing. From the minute we met, I knew I was in the right place with the right person. His teaching and mentoring was compassionate, skillful and always struck right at the heart of the challenge I was facing. His expertise and experience is tremendous. I can not recommend him enough. Thomas is the best.” Jim C. NYC
“As organizer and leader of an eight- month long meditation and contemplative studies program, Thomas was very effective in helping me deepen my spiritual practice. He is a gifted teacher and mentor, who effortlessly weaves wisdom, experience, and academia into his work. Thomas’s bright and humble spirit is a shining example of what it truly means to be a leader among the many modern “gurus” in today’s world.
I look forward to continuing our work together, down the road.” Amy M.