In our My Top 5 series, we highlight a Houstonian who’s shaping the city’s character and reveal their favorite things to do around Houston when not hard at work. in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month happening now, we’re pleased to feature local wellness expert, Dr. Alejandro Chaoul. He recently launched the Mind, Body, Spirit Institute at The Jung Center to transform individuals and the community via educational programs and experiences that reduce stress, improve health, and nourish the human spirit.
My Top 5 Things to Do in Houston
by Dr. Alejandro Chaoul
- A visit to The Rothko Chapel – The Rothko is a unique landmark in Houston, and I find an incredible space at the intersection of art, interfaith and human rights. Since I arrived in Houston more than 20 years ago, it has been one of my favorite spaces—both as place of refuge when I want to be alone or a place where I can interact with people from many walks of life, via the various events they have every month.
- Exploring Urban Harvest Farmers Market – Every Saturday morning, if I am in Houston, you will see me at this Farmers Market. I love having breakfast from one of the food trucks, like El Topo, Oddball Eats, or Ripe Cuisine. I have found the best kombucha and other items from Pat Greer, honey and bee wax candles from Wendy, and eggs from Three Sisters. I enjoy the chance to shop for Italian cheese, particularly ricotta and mozzarella, from Andreas. I usually wrap up my morning with the golden milk or matcha from Revolution Coffee.
- A quiet moment at the Turrell Skyspace at Rice University – On weekdays, as I bike to work, my route takes me through my alma mater, Rice University. I enjoy the opportunity to ride close to James Turrell’s Skyspace, take a few deep breaths and continue on my way to and back from work. Sometimes I find myself there during the Twilight Epiphany, where the soft lights play with the Houston sky. Very relaxing.
- Gerald D. Hines Waterwall – I love water and the power of being in front of this waterwall is just impressive. Another one of the places I visited when I first came to Houston, I still enjoy driving by it or taking the time to stop and feel the cleansing splash of this cascade on my face and body.
- Salento Bistro in Rice Village – Salento was an important place during my student days. It was here that I wrote large parts of my dissertation. Now, I hold meetings here almost every week. Besides good coffee, they also have wonderful Argentinian empanadas—so I can connect with my nostalgia of home. The personnel are wonderful and at night you can have a bite with a nice Malbec.
About Dr. Alejandro Chaoul
Dr. Alejandro Chaoul is the founding director of Houston’s new Mind, Body, Spirit Institute, offering wellness and emotional health experiences within The Jung Center. He has traveled throughout North America, Latin America, and Europe as a teacher of Bön Buddhism and Tibetan yoga. He is also a faculty member in MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Integrative Medicine Program, where he guides people with cancer and their family members through mind/body/spirit techniques aimed at reducing stress and facilitating healing. Chaoul has personally studied Buddhist practices and traditions with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Löpon Tenzin Namdak, and Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, and he has authored two books, Tibetan Yoga for Health & Well-Being: The Science and Practice of Healing Your Body, Energy, and Mind and Chod Practice In The Bon Tradition.