It’s not every day that one meets a teacher like Professor Christopher Chapple. He is the Founder of the world-class Yoga Studies Program at Loyola-Marymount University, in Los Angeles. (LMU). I was fortunate to meet him many years ago while assisting Swami Veda on a couple of visits he made to Los Angeles. Years later, after consulting with Dr. Chapple, I enrolled in, and completed, LMU’s Certificate program in Yoga Philosophy and found the program to be phenomenal. I especially loved the weekly Sanskrit class with Professor Chapple in which we worked as a class to translate ancient Sanskrit texts.

Over the years, I’ve come to have the greatest respect for Dr. Chapple, not only is he a distinguished academic (he is the Doshi Professor of Indic and Comparative Theology at LMU, the Founder of  LMU’s respected Yoga Studies Program, and the Director of LMU’s Master of Arts in Yoga Studies program), but also a true disciple of Yoga who strives to embody his Gurudevi’s teachings. I’ve have found him to be brilliant, humble, kind and extremely approachable and generous.

In the years since completing the Certificate Program, I’ve worked with Dr. Chapple to bring programs to LMU to familiarize their students with the Himalayan Tradition. We’ve now held several such programs, with teachers including Stoma, Swami Radha, Sanjay Shastri, and myself.

This year, Professor Chapple contacted me with a request for another program, and Swami Ritavan asked me to put it together. So I had the joyous opportunity to work with Dr. Chapple and his delightful staff and teachers to design it.

The two-day meditation retreat occurred over the weekend of January 27th and 28, 2024, at the LMU Center for Prayer and Peace. There is a small plaza just outside where one can view the Pacific Ocean in the distance. It was an exquisite environment for a meditation retreat. Some folks sat on the floor and others on chairs. Dr. Chapple and Zoe Slatoff, who teaches Sanskrit at LMU, offered prayers and mantras to get us started in the mornings.

The retreat provided basic practices that would enable attendees to build their own personal daily yoga-meditation practices, and covered joints and glands practices, sitting, breathing, relaxation, mantra and meditation, and contemplative walking (with a view of the Pacific ocean), spiced with philosophy and stories from my experience in the Tradition. About two dozen people attended over the two days, sometimes more and sometimes less. The participants were very attentive and interested.

I was especially moved when Zoe Slatoff led the group in chanting mantras and when Professor Chapple opened the Sunday morning session by placing us in time and space as one might do at the beginning of a Puja. He even alluded to the indigenous people who lived in the area before America was born.

It was a beautiful weekend, and much was covered. Professor Chapple later wrote to me saying people were very enthusiastic about what they had learned.