Latin American Academy

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Apply for the Next Latin American Academy

The Next Latin American Academy Begins in February, 2020.

Graduation video of the first Latin American Academy.

Program Description and Benefits

The Academy provides you with the opportunity to engage deeply in the process of self-discovery. It is rigorous in the sense that you are asked to make an active and on-going commitment to self-reflection and meditation. It is challenging at times, since facing yourself can be humbling and disorienting. And it is frequently joyful, since the freedom of going beyond perceived limitations and experiencing the abundant resources of your true nature is liberating.

A great strength of the program is that it draws upon the collective power of the group for support in transforming personal limitations. The trainee participates in six residential retreats, shares experiences in monthly small group conference calls with a mentor, connects with others in the group to encourage personal practice, and draws upon the mentor relationship for individual guidance and direction. The Academy environment is one of complete confidentiality, support, and the genuine warmth that emerges when people openly share their journeys with one another. The Academy program concludes with a formal graduation ceremony.

Six Group Retreats

The first retreat introduces the abiding practice of the inner refuge. Through focusing and resting your attention on the stillness of the body, silence of inner speech, and spaciousness of mind, you discover the unbounded spaciousness of your nature, the light of awareness, and spontaneous, genuine warmth. The inner refuge is the foundation of the Academy training and your capacity to abide within it is deepened and strengthened in all subsequent retreats.

You will explore the practices of the Nine Breathings of Purification and the Tsa Lung (exercises of breath and movement). These practices enable you to increase your awareness of the subtle energy channels and centers in the body in order to clear limiting patterns of reactivity, discover fresh and open awareness, and express yourself in a more authentic way. These practices are presented in Awakening the Sacred Body by Tenzin Wangyal.

The focus of the second group retreat is to rest more deeply in the inner refuge and experience the gifts of spaciousness, awareness, and warmth. In addition to continuing with the previous practices of the body, you will learn the practice of the Five Warrior Syllables, a practice which explores the power of sound and silence to release subtle obscurations and support the emergence of authentic presence and creative expression. This practice is presented in Tibetan Sound Healing by Tenzin Wangyal.
You will be introduced to the Fivefold Practice, a contemplative practice using five lines of pith meditation instruction through which no experience is rejected, and instead becomes the doorway to truly seeing, self-liberating, and discovering the generative power of awareness. The book used to clarify these teachings and practices is Tenzin Wangyal’s Awakening the Luminous Mind.
The theme of the fourth group retreat is discovering the spontaneous positive qualities that arise from open awareness. Meditation is not a passive process. As you abide in inner refuge, limiting patterns of ego release, enabling you to experience the emergence of inspiration and creativity. In this retreat you will practice allowing fresh insights and expressions to manifest from the clear and open space of your practice.

The theme of the fifth group retreat is deepening the recognition and experience of the collective healing power of the inner refuge. You will look at how familial, ancestral, cultural, and world pain lives within you and engage your practice within the support of the group to become aware of this collective pain, to host and embrace it, and to explore what becomes available in so doing. As communal pain releases, you are inspired to act from a greater sense of kindness and compassion for the welfare of others.

The focus of the sixth group retreat is to deepen the recognition and experience of the spontaneously arising fruit of one’s practice, to celebrate the benefits of your practice, and to dedicate the merit of your practice to the welfare of others. We examine what blocks and what supports the spontaneous expression of compassion in our lives. This retreat includes the formal graduation ceremony in which Senior Teachers confer the transmission of the inner refuge and welcome the graduates into the worldwide community of 3 Doors practitioners.

We encourage all those who complete the Academy to take the fruits of their transformations into their lives in whatever way they can. Through the guidance of your mentor and inspiration from fellow practitioners, you are supported to recognize how you can benefit others from your experience. The 3 Doors Practitioners Association composed of Academy graduates and teachers provides on-going instruction, support, and a deepening sense of community for all who participate.

Program Details

Presenters: Senior Teachers Alejandro Chaoul and Laura Shekerjian
Location: Tepoztlan, Mexico
Dates:  The dates for the upcoming Academy are:

  • February 22 – 28, 2020
  • September 12 – 18, 2020
  • February 20 – 26, 2021
  • September 11 – 17, 2021
  • February 19 – 25, 2022
  • TBD

Cost: 1000 MXN application fee, 6500 MXN registration fee (due thirty days after receiving your acceptance letter), six tuition payments of 18,750 MXN (due 4 weeks prior to each group retreat).  Accommodations/meals are a separate cost, ranging from 5,500 to 7,000 MXN at each retreat.
Contact: If you have any questions about the upcoming Academy, please contact Martha at

Apply for the Next Latin American Academy

What you will receive

  • Six group retreats of five and one-half days each, spanning the two and one-half year program, two group retreats per year.
  • Program study materials including written practice instructions and the recordings of the teachings and guided meditations from each group retreat
  • Six one-hour individual mentor sessions
  • Monthly group conference calls with your mentor
  • The support of a close community of practitioners throughout and beyond this two and one-half year program
  • Upon graduation, the opportunity to be a part of the international 3 Doors Practitioners Association (3PA)

Academy Commitments

The 3 Doors Academy is a 2 1/2 year commitment of focus and energy. You will be invited to fulfill these requirements:

  • Attend all six group retreats
  • Maintain a daily practice of 3 Doors meditations both formally (on the cushion) and informally (in daily life)
  • Explore repetitions of the A OM HUNG RAM DZA mantra as a support practice and as instructed by your Academy teachers.
  • Document 63 positive changes made through meditation practice, self-reflection, and journaling taking place in relationship with yourself, with your family and others, and in your professional life or participation in society
  • Complete 21 personal retreat days, with no single retreat being shorter than three days
  • Participate in six hours of personal meetings with your mentor
  • Participate in monthly group conference calls led by your mentor
Apply for the Next Latin American Academy

Teacher Bios

Alejandro Chaoul, Senior Teacher

Alejandro Chaoul has studied in the Tibetan tradition since 1989, and for over 20 years with Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak and Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. He holds a PhD in Tibetan religions from Rice University and is the director of the new Mind Body Spirit Institute at the Jung Center of Houston. He teaches meditation classes and workshops nationally and internationally through The 3 Doors and Ligmincha International. Since 1999 he has designed and taught mind-body interventions for the Integrative Medicine Program of the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX, where he holds a faculty position and conducts research on the effects of these practices in people with cancer. He is an associate 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 to teaching the Latin American Academy, Alejandro serves on the research committee at The 3 Doors and is a Fellow at the Mind & Life Institute. Alejandro is the author of Chod Practice in the Bon Tradition (Snow Lion, 2009) and Tibetan Yoga for Health & Well-Being (Hay House, 2018). He lives in Houston with his wife, son, and daughter.

Laura Shekerjian, Senior Teacher

Laura Shekerjian is a psychotherapist practicing in Berkeley, California and a long-time practitioner in the Bön tradition. Holding master’s degrees in counseling psychology as well as Buddhist studies, she has worked for over twenty years in individual, group, and classroom settings to actively engage her clients and students in the process of self-discovery.

Laura utilizes a variety of therapeutic approaches, such as dream work, somatic awareness, and western psychological insights, as she guides others towards the realization of their essential natures. Laura was adjunct faculty for many years in the departments of somatic psychology and counseling psychology at John F. Kennedy University and the California Institute for Integral Studies. Currently, Laura teaches in The 3 Doors Latin American Academy as well as for Ligmincha International. Laura has participated in the translation of texts from Tibetan to English.