Transformational Coaching and Mentoring with Thomas Amelio

Why work with a coach or mentor?

In his book: Crossing the Unknown Sea, poet David Whyte speaks of a time when he was at a crossroads as to whether to leave his safe and familiar profession, or to move towards his heart’s longing. He went to his mentor: David Steindl-Rast, and his guidance was:

“You are like Rilke’s Swan in his awkward waddling across the ground; the swan doesn’t cure his awkwardness by beating himself on the back, by moving faster, or by trying to organize himself better. He does it by moving toward the elemental water where he belongs. It is the simple contact with the water that gives him grace and presence.

You only have to touch the elemental waters in your own life, and it will transform everything. But you have to let yourself down into those waters from the ground on which you stand, and that can be hard. Particularly if you think you might drown.”

David went on to become a world-famous poet, author, and speaker. A good part of our work might be to help you discover or affirm what your elemental waters are, and then create a powerful, inspiring—and practical pathway, to first dip your toe into the water, and then wade more and more into ultimate immersion.

For me it’s a joy to help you discover, refine and fulfill your vision, purpose and mission.

Private Coaching and Mentoring: How I Work 

My practice blends my training as a Certified Professional Coach (CPC)--through ICF (International Coaching Federation) and a 40+ year career background in leadership, self-development and teaching transformational practice. My training includes including a 2-year Gestalt psychology certification; direct personal yogic training and mentoring in India with Swami Rajarshi Muni; Systems-Centered® Therapy (SCT®); Certified Level 1 Adizes Leadership & Management Facilitator and many other psychological and psychospiritual trainings.

Many of the clients I work with are crafting a new life during a major life transition. Others are building an entrepreneurial venture that aims to better the world. Along with my spiritual and transformational work I also have 4 decades of leadership training and experience, along with much media, marketing, and web networking background.

I work on three levels: 1) Identity clarification: “who are you now? In both form and essence? This includes your deep priorities and core values. 2)Building the functional and lifestyle ECOSYSTEM TO BEST SUPPORT this identity and 3) building your strategy and action steps to fulfill numbers 1 & 2, above.

 Professional Coaching

 I work by phone and, typically, by Zoom video-conference. I usually work with a client once a week for 45 minutes (flexible to one hour) three times a month, including email communications and/or brief check-ins in-between. Typically, I first explore with a potential client in a complimentary session. This gives the client a chance to get a sense of what coaching is like.

If we find we are a good “fit,” and choose to work together, the next step will be to give you a week or more to work on Discovery Questions, which I will give you once you decide to work with me.   Then comes a 1.5 hour discovery session based, largely, on your answers. The questions are designed to help reveal your values and priorities; the goals that spring from them; & set an agenda for our work over the next three-month period (including the 9 sessions)

Note: Psychotherapy is primarily about healing; while Professional Coaching often has a healing effect, it assumes the client has reached a sufficient level of healing to feel the call for something further, and set about building the life they are called to. Both can work together quite well. 

The Coaching Process: 

As already mentioned, I will work with you on the three levels of: your identity and its potentials; building a more refined and effective ecosystem to support that identity; and help you with the real-time action steps to help fulfill all of the above. This is not so much a ‘self improvement” agenda, but one that is transformational–more in the realm of encouraging your emergence from the chrysalis of your former way of being. It often includes the facing of sometimes hidden unconscious self-obstructing beliefs and habits, which I facilitate with loving, experienced, care.

We sometimes have a functional presenting agenda (“problem solving,” “I’m tired of my job,” or “I procrastinate constantly”) which actually turns out to be part of a transformational agenda: “I need to follow my deepest calling;  change my lifestyle; and give to the world in a whole new way.”) 

I love to work with clients who are ready to “heartfully”—and practically—design and enter the next phase of their personal, spiritual and professional lives.

Since I have led not-for-profit, holistically oriented, organizations for decades, this fortifies my ability to help professional clients who are building their own wellness-oriented business, practice, or centers. I also help clients design experiential workshops and retreats.  I help them set up the practical structures: fees, marketing, classes, workshops, private sessions—as well as working with their personal goals and obstacles. But I work with all kinds of clients, no matter what the aim—personal, spiritual, or professional.

Private Spiritual Mentoring:

Note: Some of my clients don’t really feel the need for “coaching” for value fulfillment and success— but just want private mentoring in meditation training, mantra instruction, yogic scripture etc. and building their own spiritual practice (sadhana). Please inquire if you are interested. The timing will be something we work out together. Often coaching and mentoring are combined and, working with me, you’ll see how they enhance each other! 

What People 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."

~Taliesin Thomas

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. 


About: Thomas Amelio (“Shivananda”) intensely studied yogic disciplines in India, where he edited Swami Rajarshi Muni’s classic on Yoga Philosophy and Kundalini Yoga:  Yoga–The Ultimate Spiritual Path. He is a founding member of, and has been a senior teacher at, Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health for over 40 years, and is President & CEO Emeritus of the NY Open Center in New York City, where he served for 13 years as leader, and has been, and continues as, a teacher there for over 24 years. He is the founder of  Contemplative Solutions, LLC.



Thomas Amelio

Thomas Amelio intensely studied & practiced yogic disciplines in India, where he edited Rajarshi Muni’s classic, "Yoga–The Ultimate Spiritual Path." He is a founding member of, and has been a senior teacher at, Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health for over 35 years, and is President Emeritus of the NY Open Center in New York City.