Amandine Roche is a Human rights lawyer, writer, photographer and UN Peace Keeper. I found out about her through an article in the French magazine Happinez and find her really awe-inspiring. She’s a beautiful young French woman who is using her yoga and meditation skills for peace in one of the most challenging environments imaginable – today’s Afghanistan. Her story is fascinating.
She met with the Dalai Lama at the age of 18 and because of this meeting she studied human rights and political science and wrote her thesis about the Panchen Lama, the youngest prisoner in the world kidnapped by the Chinese.
She went on to work for the United Nations in Afghanistan. After the kidnapping and assassination of three of her colleagues, Amandine was evacuated from Afghanistan. She went to India where she recovered and found her inner peace, taking up yoga and meditation and living close to spiritual masters.
She has been studying mindfulness with Jon Kabat Zinn and altruism & compassion with French Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard as well as spiritual teachers such as Marianne Williamson, Deepak Chopra , Eckhart Tolle, Sean Corn (Off the Mat, into the world, who inspired “Yoga in Action”), Julia Cameron (The artist way and If you want to write, one of my favourite books), and many others.
I have read books by these people and watched their interviews, but she has gone a lot further! She also wrote a number of books about her own fascinating experiences (Amandine’s books in French).
Amandine Roche also learnt from the French yogi Arnaud Desjardins, as well as Amma (the “hugging guru”) in Kerala and went on ten days Vipassana silent meditation retreats.
She is a Yoga Alliance certified Hatha yoga teacher (she studied with Vijay Amar in India).
While she focused on her own healing, she realised that the practice of non-violence was not only the best way for her to achieve a happy and harmonious life, but also for Afghanistan and the rest of the world. She returned to Kabul for the UN and there she created the Amanuddin Foundation in order to promote a culture of peace and non-violence, and to develop yoga and meditation in Afghanistan, to foster non-violence. She helps aid workers and soldiers posted to Afghanistan cope with the violence they see in their work (“Inner Peacekeeping for global peacekeepers”, ), and also brings yoga and meditation – as much as possible under the circumstances – to local communities, even training locals to become yoga teachers. As quoted in Happinez, she believes in the power of gratitude, because “once you recognise how lucky you are, you can then be of service to others and give the best of yourself to those who have less”.