Yoga and Qigong

World traveler from her early youth, Amelia Barili studied healing traditions in Asia, Africa, Europe, North and South America. She has always been interested in the subtle connections between body, mind and spirit, a passion that has taken her to many interwoven paths.In 1972, she graduated from Kaivalyadhama Yoga Institute in India, with a Diploma on Comparative Philosophy of Religions and Classical Yoga and has taught yoga philosophy internationally for many years. She is also a disciple of Grandmaster Yang Mei Jun, the 27th generation inheritor of the Taoist Medical Qigong system developed in the sacred Kunlun Mountains in China and only recently introduced to the West.

While keeping her practice and her teaching of Yoga and Qigong, Dr. Barili developed a career as cultural journalist and professor. (see more in UC Berkeley Innovations) (LINK)

Blending the principles of Classical Yoga on inner and outer union, together with the teachings of Cognitive Science about how we bring forth the world we inhabit, Amelia Barili introduced the concept of life as service in her courses  at the University of California, Berkeley. With Fritjof Capra she created “Globalization and the New Global Civil Society” (LINK), including in the course a strong component of “service learning”. This methodology empowers students by showing them how they can make a difference by engaging in volunteer work in their communities while mastering an academic subject, and by contrasting theory and experience in their learning process. Fritjof Capra and Amelia Barili have also designed and taught together “Deep Ecology in Arts and Science”, where they presented what has been discovered in science, in the last twenty years, about consciousness and how it was anticipated and manifested by such artists as Pablo Neruda (another of Barili’s passions) and Andy Goldsworthy.

Responding to the need for guidance for social and personal transformation, Barili and Capra designed and taught “The Emerging Consciousness”. In that workshop Fritjof presented the latest discoveries of science on the subject of consciousness and discussed how they can be applied for sustainability and transformation in our institutions and society. In turn, Amelia compared them to the corresponding findings in the thousands-years old empirical science of the mind of Yoga and Qigong, highlighting the amazing potential for self-transformation inherent in us. She integrated and taught powerful healing practices from these two millenary traditions to help cope with change and stress, and to support the transformations we are bringing forth in our self and our community.

For many years, Barili has been inspiring students with these practices at the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery, where she teaches “Integrating Classical Yoga and Taoist Qigong” (LINK to Ongoing Classes). In those semester-long sessions, she shows how to practice powerful healing techniques from both wisdom traditions, in the form of easy daily routines that generate awareness of body and mind and promote resilience, creativity and optimal well-being.

She also integrates contemplative practices to foster deep learning and creativity in her classes at UC Berkeley. Dr. Barili has done research and written on the neurobiological and Cognitive Science bases of life-long learning. Besides discussing those findings at her interdisciplinary course on “Borges, Buddhism, and Cognitive Science” at UC Berkeley, she begins each class with brief meditations to foster the students’ ability to focus and observe their minds.

Dedicated to building bridges between the university and the community, and to opening the students’ hearts and minds to the experience of empathy and compassion in our diverse society, Dr. Barili engages her students in serving the community by volunteering in assisting immigrants, refugees and at-risk minority groups. Inspired by the motto “each one helps one”, she challenges students to a higher standard of learning, while at the same time helping them realize they can make a difference. Because she conceives the university as a space for personal and social transformation, she is active in researching and developing new ways of teaching and learning.

For her innovative courses and the work she and her students have done over the last 10 years in helping the community, Barili has been distinguished with, among other awards, the UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Award for Public Service. (LINK include picture)

Knowing that creativity and compassion are fostered and sustained by inner transformation, Amelia Barili led at Spirit Rock a retreat on “Entering the Now”, with Ajahn Amaro, Buddhist teacher from the Thai Forest Tradition and abbot of the Amaravati Monastery in England –a frequent interlocutor of the Dalai Lama at the Mind Life Institute in Washington–. They presented transformative practices and approaches from Buddhism, Classical Yoga and Medical Taoist Qigong to explore the end of suffering through the awareness of the timeless quality of now.
 In her workshops on “The Power of Yoga and Qigong for Creativity and Self-healing” which she has been teaching for many years at human potential development centers such as Mount Madonna and Omega, she teaches powerful practices to access the mind through the body and the body through the mind. These time-tested techniques are so easy that anyone can practice them. They foster self-healing, resilience and creativity, to support personal transformation and to help us bring forth a better world.