Founding Director – Jung Center’s Mind Body Spirit Institute
Adjunct Faculty – Integrative Medicine Program Department of Palliative, Rehabilitation & Integrative Medicine MD Anderson Cancer Center
Adjunct Faculty – McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics McGovern Medical School, UT Health
Instructor – Rice University Glasscock School of Continuing Studies, aster of Liberal Studies program
Instructor – University of Maryland, Baltimore, Masters in Integrative Medicine

Dr. Chaoul is the Huffington Foundation Endowed Director of the Mind Body Spirit Institute at the Jung Center of Houston, bringing a new approach for helping healthcare professionals flourish by reducing stress and burnout, and improving health, resilience and nourish the human spirit.

He holds a PhD in Tibetan religions from Rice University, and has studied in the Tibetan tradition since 1989, and for almost 30 years with Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak and Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, completing the 7-year training at Ligmincha Institute in 2000, and also training in Triten Norbutse monastery in Nepal and Menri monastery in India.

Alejandro is a Senior Teacher of The 3 Doors, an international organization founded by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche with the goal of transforming lives through meditation, and since 1995, he has been teaching meditation classes and Tibetan Yoga (Tsa Lung & Trul Khor) workshops nationally and internationally under the auspices of Ligmincha International.

In 1999 he began teaching these techniques at the Integrative Medicine Program of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX, where he holds an adjunct faculty position and for the last twenty years has conducted research on the effect of these practices in people with cancer and their caregivers. He is also an adjunct faculty member at The University of Texas’ McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics, where he teaches medical students in the areas of spirituality, complementary and integrative medicine, and end-of-life care. In addition he is an Instructor at Rice University’s Glasscock School of Continuing Studies Master of Liberal Studies program and an at The University of Maryland, Baltimore, Masters in Integrative Medicine.

In addition, he is an advisor to The Rothko Chapel and past board member of The Boniuk Center for Religious Tolerance at Rice University, and founding member of Compassionate Houston. His research and publications focus on mind-body practices in integrative care, examining how these practices can reduce chronic stress, anxiety and sleep disorders and improve quality of life. He is the author of Chod Practice in the Bon Tradition (SnowLion, 2009), Tibetan Yoga for Health and Wellbeing (Hay House, 2018), and Tibetan Yoga: Magical Movements of Body, Breath & Mind (Wisdom Publications, 2021). He has published in the area of religion and medicine, medical anthropology and the interface of spirituality and healing. Dr. Chaoul has been recognized as a Fellow at the Mind & Life Institute.


Alejandro, born in Argentina, navigated a diverse religious and educational background. Despite being part of a Jewish family in a predominantly Catholic country, he attended a Presbyterian school. Alejandro’s spiritual journey intensified due to existential attacks, prompting a search for meaning. Introduced to meditation by a high school friend’s uncle, his interest expanded during university studies in the United States.

Venturing to India after graduation, Alejandro explored various traditions, meeting teachers from Hinduism, Sikhism, and Buddhism. His encounter with the Dalai Lama during a pilgrimage in Germany profoundly impacted him. This inspired him to coordinate the Dalai Lama’s visit to Argentina, kickstarting his mission to bring Buddhism to the West.

Engaging with different teachers, including Yeshe Dorje, Alejandro delved into the Ngondro, a set of preliminary practices. His commitment led to organizing the Dalai Lama’s visit and ignited his passion for Tibetan Buddhism.

Returning to the United States, Alejandro pursued Tibetan studies and connected with key teachers like Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. While completing a Ph.D. at Rice University, he became involved in cancer research at MD Anderson, integrating Tibetan yoga into healthcare practices. This experience fueled his mission to establish the Mind Body Spirit Institute, expanding beyond healthcare to education and corporate sectors.

Alejandro continued his involvement with the Bon tradition, teaching at its centers worldwide. His journey seamlessly blends Western scientific approaches with Eastern spiritual traditions, reflecting a passionate commitment to bridging these worlds.


Alejandro emphasizes the uniqueness of the Bon tradition, highlighting its incorporation of the nine vehicles, including rituals, medicine, and astrology, which are considered supportive practices for this life. The tradition is characterized by its inclusivity and location-oriented view, where every action, including rituals, holds significance when aligned with a broader perspective.

He elaborates on the interplay of wisdom and compassion, describing them as the wings of the Garuda. The tradition’s healing practices involve a holistic approach, encompassing body, speech, and mind. Alejandro delves into Tibetan yoga, which integrates breath and channels practices, along with magical movement practices, aimed at clearing obstacles and restoring a balanced state of mind.

He further discusses the efficacy of sound practices, specifically using root or seed syllables related to body, speech, and mind. The burn tradition’s research, conducted at MD Anderson, demonstrates tangible benefits, such as improved cognitive function in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and enhanced overall well-being.

Alejandro emphasizes the practical applications of these practices, citing examples of improved sleep quality, reduced intrusive thoughts, and enhanced spiritual and relational aspects. The discussion underscores the tradition’s potential to support individuals in various journeys, not limited to those affected by cancer, backed by substantial data validating its practical benefits.

Role of Teacher

When Alejandro teaches within the Bon tradition, he grounds his instruction in the teachings from his mentors and the relevant texts. He maintains a clear distinction between different traditions and doesn’t blend practices. While sharing personal experiences influenced by his life, education, and various teachers, he doesn’t mix religious elements explicitly. For instance, he doesn’t instruct a mantra followed by a prayer from different traditions.

In secular environments like MD Anderson, Alejandro adapts his approach, focusing on the practice itself without religious undertones. His intention is to help individuals connect with themselves, respecting their existing beliefs. For patients facing challenges in their faith due to illness, he facilitates a reconnection to the essence of their prayers, not steering them towards a particular tradition.

Alejandro values the uniqueness of each person’s path, emphasizing the importance of respecting and honoring diverse lineages. He draws parallels to academic citations, highlighting the origin of teachings without imposing a specific path. This approach encourages individuals to follow what resonates with them while maintaining an awareness of the teachings’ origins. In teaching, he adapts his methods based on the environment, mirroring the flexibility demonstrated by his mentor, Tenzin Wonder. Despite different contexts, Alejandro emphasizes the importance of acknowledging the source of teachings.

Tibetan Yoga

Alejandro delves into the expansive nature of yoga, emphasizing its broad definition today, which includes mindfulness. While acknowledging the prevalent focus on physical postures in the Western understanding of yoga, he highlights that Tibetan yoga extends beyond mere asana practice. In Tibetan yoga, meditation precedes breathing and physical movements.

Texts on Tibetan yoga assume a foundation in meditation and breathwork, presenting the movements as a synthesis of these practices. Describing the magical movements involved, Alejandro elucidates the process of holding breath, directing mind and breath to specific areas, and exhaling forcefully. The subsequent stillness allows for a settling effect, contributing to a comprehensive experience.

Alejandro underscores the significance of shaking after each movement in Tibetan yoga, symbolizing steering away from the death of samsara, benefiting not only oneself but all beings. He describes these movements as purification practices, distinguishing between “getsal” (clarifying or cleansing obstacles) and “bugden” (enhancing meditative states).

From a doctrinal perspective, Alejandro emphasizes the overarching goal of returning to the natural state of mind, akin to the state of all Buddhas. He likens the journey to touching and staying in that state, navigating distractions and challenges. Personal practices, such as the nine breathings, serve as daily resets, helping maintain awareness and clarity amid life’s demands.

Incorporating elements like the daily practice of Tibetan yoga, Alejandro sees these rituals as potent reset buttons, fostering resilience and aiding in returning to a state of awareness. He shares his daily routine, expressing the transformative impact of these practices on his own mindfulness. Through anecdotes and reflections, Alejandro encourages a gradual deepening of practice, culminating in prolonged states of heightened awareness and connection.

3 Doors

Alejandro, in collaboration with Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, initiated the Three Doors Down approach within the Bön tradition. Initially drawing from a predominantly Bön and Buddhist practitioner base, the initiative gradually broadened its scope, welcoming individuals regardless of religious affiliation or linguistic background. The emphasis lies in making the essence of practices accessible without necessitating adherence to Dharma language.

The lineage, though present, is framed in a non-religious context, acknowledging the transmission of teachings akin to the connection between teacher and student in academia. The Three Doors methodology maintains the sense of transmission while presenting practices in a secular manner, facilitating inclusivity.

Addressing the immediate benefits sought by practitioners, Alejandro notes that many initially approach the practice for short-term gains such as improved sleep, reduced anxiety, or relief from depression. The Three Doors approach encompasses not only personal healing but also a transformative process integrated into daily life. This involves translating inner experiences into tangible changes, documenting these transformations, and applying them to interrelations, personal growth, and societal contributions.

In essence, the Three Doors Down approach extends beyond individual meditation practices, emphasizing a holistic process of inner transformation and subsequent communication of these changes. The method encourages practitioners to be consciously aware of their experiences, employing a toolbox that includes practices like the nine breathings, five warrior syllables, and the five statements of Dawa Gyaltsen. The documentation of these transformations, shared with mentors, becomes an integral part of the journey, fostering a visible and acknowledged shift in one’s life.

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!