“This class has been revitalizing and renewing. I am off caffeine, I am sleeping through the night, I no longer drag myself through my day. But the biggest benefit probably is that I feel more joy in my life and I feel more present in whatever I am doing. I am very grateful for this.” — Paula McGuire
“I began Qigong just a couple of months ago with Amelia Barili at the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery. I came into Amelia’s class at an extremely stressful time in my life. After the first class I felt as if a weight had been lifted from my body. As each class progressed I felt calmer and more at peace with myself. My strength and flexibility improved along with an enhanced sense of well being. Amelia is a remarkable teacher. Her directions and demonstrations, intermingled with serenity, humor, and focus, create an open atmosphere of personal learning and growth.”— Peggy Harding
“The benefits of studying Wild Goose Qigong with Amelia Barili are threefold. First there are the physical benefits of the warm-ups, the stretches and the practices of Qigong itself, which affect the body from the top of the head to the sole of the feet. Then there is the knowledge of Chinese Medicine about focusing on the energy channels or meridians and learning skills to feel and revitalize specific organs and parts of the body. Finally, there is the pleasure of learning with Amelia. She is a very inspired and inspiring teacher.”— Suzy Cortes
“Amelia is truly an exceptional teacher of Yoga and Qigong, and a genuine gift to her students. With much expertise and patience, she guides her students, through the graceful movements of the exercise, while teaching an outer attention to the form and an inner intention to the movement. Practicing in this way becomes truly transformational.”— Phil Waltz
“Amelia’s way of explaining the deeper meaning of each practice and her inner guidance has forever changed the way I used to practice Qigong.”
“Amelia works with each individual to make sure we learn her wonderful lessons of “self care”. These lessons I will have with me long after the classes end. I am grateful to her.”— Connie Holt
“Learning about Qigong and yoga practices which help to maintain health, energy and a general sense of well being are easy and enjoyable with Amelia. She has an amazing ability to teach. Amelia combines continual introduction of new techniques with enough repetition to allow her students to not only remember the techniques, but incorporate them into a daily routine. She explains the history and rational for each of the exercises, and relates the various traditions common themes and practices. Amelia does all that anyone could hope for with regard to instruction– but the amazing thing about her is her calm and engaging presence. Her voice captivates and draws you into the Qigong experience. Not only do her students learn a lot but we leave the class each week feeling relaxed, calm and happy. I enjoy Amelia’s class so much that I drive the sixty odd miles from Gilroy to Berkeley each week just to attend. I hope many more people will have the opportunity to take a class from Amelia Barili, and do so for years to come.”– Lucinda Gobin
“The first time I heard Amelia’s voice, I was driving my car. She was being interviewed on KQED about a class she was offering at the Berkeley Buddhist monastery. I found what she had to say and how she said it so compelling, I had to pull over to the side of the road to listen. (If you haven’t been to the Berkeley Buddhist Monastary, you’re in for a treat. The room Amelia teaches in is beautifully appointed with candles, flowers, sacred books, buddhas, and stained glass windows. Mats, pillows, and blankets are provided.)
What works for me is the way Amelia integrates movement into meditation through healing practices that engage the whole body. Time slows down when Amelia speaks, making it possible to relax and receive her layered teachings with a clear state of mind. Her instructions and demonstrations are so clear, articulate, and embodied, I can follow her lead from multiple perspectives—by listening, observing, and applying my “intention and attention”—or just by letting the sound of her voice flow through me.
Every week we learn something new that reinforces what we’ve already learned. I now have a sense of the shape of my own skull and facial structure; I know where my major organs are located and can feel the spaciousness between my cells expanding as I breathe “like sighing.” Amelia tailors her classes to the health issues of her individual students (for me, asthma and insomnia). I now sleep longer and breathe easier without medication and am better able to sustain a meditation practice between classes.” Ramsay Breslin
Testimonies from UC Berkeley Osher Lifelong Learning Institute workshops:
“My motive in taking the winter 2014 OLLI class on neuroplasticity and volunteering called “each one teach one” was to instigate a change in my life. I had finished an 8-year volunteer job that was arts-oriented. I wanted to do something more directly people-oriented. Through Amelia Barili’s OLLI course, I learned of different options and how to apply. I chose the English In Action program run through the YWCA because it offered scheduling flexibility and complemented my interest in foreign travel. I picked a partner for English conversation who could meet me downtown after OLLI classes. The support structure supplied by Amelia, the course material and classmates was crucial; it all helped me overcome inertia and actually take action.
My partner was a 46-year‐old published novelist from Seoul, Korea who had won a six-month fellowship to study at Berkeley. I expected that I would learn about Korea, and help her with English. Instead, I learned about my own values, culture and lifestyle. A writer’s life is introspective, so she wanted to know how others live. What do I do all day? Why is Berkeley so liberal? Why is it more so than Stanford? What makes this area different from Iowa City where she had attended a writer’s conference? Why do rich people give their money away to different causes? Her questions were refreshing and made me think.
We were both changed by our time together. She was surprised to discover elders living rich fulfilling lives, taking classes at OLLI, riding bicycles, volunteering, etc. It gave her a new vision for how life could be after retirement. I was changed by her probing, unexpected questions, and looking at my life through her eyes. I am grateful for the experience provided by the class, and ongoing contact with classmates through the interest group.
The positive experience led me to take on a new commitment this fall: being hosts to students living at International House. This time, my husband joined in. We were assigned a 28-year-old man from Korea studying economics and a 21-year-old woman from China who studies engineering in Tokyo. The young man returned home in December, but the young woman is still here. She will be interning this summer with Habitat for Humanity and living in our house with us. More learning and neuroplasticity awaits!” –Jane Neilson
“In January 2014, I took Amelia Barili’s OLLI Course on Neuroplasticity and the Art of Volunteering. This course was unique and a life changing experience for me. After retiring from a career in community mental health, working for over 30 years as director of a program for adults with major mental illness, mainly schizophrenia, I was interested in expanding my knowledge of clinical applications in the field of neuroscience, a discipline that has developed since I studied psychology over 50 years ago. Also, I was interested in finding new volunteer opportunities in the community that would utilize my clinical social work skills, as well as challenge me in new directions.
Dr. Barili’s innovative and stimulating class exposed her students to the academic and research literature on neuroplasticity. The class lectures and bibliography (both books and videos) introduced me to the prominent experts in neuropsychology. Her class inspired me to continue my studies in neuroscience in the Department of Psychology. And I even got to be a control subject in a neuroscience study at the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute.” — OLLI Neuroplasticity Student, 2013/14
“Volunteering has been a part of my life for over 30 years in many different forms, but Dr. Barili’s course on Neuroplasticity and Volunteering and her work on integrating service learning as an educational tool, has had great influence on not only the recipient of my volunteer work but the benefit to my personal well being and in turn, that of my community as well.
The impact of service learning can not really be described in words; to integrate service learning throughout a general course curriculum takes the learning experience from a two dimensional writing and speaking experience to a third level of understanding and perception; and by more that just the student: by the volunteer, by the recipient whether another student, family, or organization, and by the community at large for the increased awareness of the ties that hold us together.” –Debbie V, 2014
Testimonies from Esalen workshops:
“The combination of a wonderful, generous spiritual presence with keen psychological insights and a profound sense of the mysterious textual beauty and questions we find in the works of literature we read, made Amelia’s workshop exceptional” — David Moyer. (“Beyond Tales of Love and Solitude: The Magical Reality of Gabriel García Márquez”, at Esalen)
“A truly gentle and brilliant spirit. Her presence is imbued with the Indian- yogic spirituality mixed with the very best of the scholarly tradition of the West, and flavored with her deep interest in Latin America and the East” — Oswaldo Voysest. (“The Dreamer in the Labyrinth: Jorge Luis Borges”, at Esalen)
“The workshop provided a fertile space for personal insights and deep understanding of the realities we live in.” — Lorraine Peña. (“Weaving Dreams: Borges, Neruda, García Márquez”, at Esalen)
“Excellent. Very transformative.” — Robert Peltier
(“Reading Neruda: Sensuality and Tenderness” at Esalen, Big Sur, Ca”)
“Amelia’s insights, sparkling wisdom, talents and tenderness are all that a guide is for me. How grateful I feel to have been part of this workshop” — Celie Placzek
(“Weaving Dreams: Borges, Neruda, García Márquez” at Esalen )
“Very transformative for my soul and being. I like how she uses literature as inspiration and entry into our worlds.” –Sylvia Schroll (“Weaving Dreams: Borges, Neruda, García Márquez” at Esalen )
“Very beautiful and healing.” — Adrian Isaac (“Sensuality and Tenderness: Reading Neruda at Esalen”)
“It was a great experience, both at a personal and a professional level. I have a more profound understanding of Latin American literature now, and I can bring this understanding to my students.” — Jessica Hooper (“Weaving Dreams”, at Esalen)
“Wonderful workshop. I learned much more about Neruda’s life, love and poetry and was able to use some of his poems as models for my own self-discovery and writing.” — Kim Mahler (“Sensuality and Tenderness: Reading Neruda” at Esalen)
“Very enjoyable and thought provoking. Not only did I learn a great deal about Borges (and my field is literature!) but I was impressed how Amelia facilitated the discussion and moved us to connect at a deep level with ourselves and Borges texts and ideas!” — Marta Altisent (“The Dreamer in the Labyrinth: Jorge Luis Borges”, at Esalen)
“Very inspiring, sensitive approach to teaching.” — Wulf Blumert (“Beyond Tales of Love and Solitude: The Magical Reality of Gabriel García Márquez” at Esalen)
“Amelia is a passionate and graceful teacher, full of wisdom and quiet knowing. I felt very supported and joyful at delving into some of the most beautiful poetry I have ever read.” –Julie Daniels (“Sensuality and Tenderness: Reading Neruda at Esalen”)
“Outstanding. Thanks to Amelia an entire new world of Latin American Literature has opened up for me.” — Suzanne Johnson (“Beyond Tales of Love and Solitude: The Magical Reality of Gabriel García Márquez” at Esalen)
“Well beyond anything I have experienced before. She is the cream of the crop.” — Joseph Johnson (“Sensuality and Tenderness: Reading Neruda at Esalen”)