Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - Everyday life can be physically and mentally draining for some. Stress from work and relationships, unhealthy eating, and lack of exercise are all symptoms of the increasingly fast-paced lifestyle individuals living in Addis are facing.

While going on a diet or venting to friends may reduce one or more of these symptoms, yoga aims to deal with all of these symptoms head on. An art form originating in India, yoga is increasing in popularity in Addis Ababa, with its focus not only on the physical, but the spiritual and mental well being of its clientele.

Swasthy Addis, located around Kebena behind Ras Amba Hotel, is a center that practices Indian Ayurvedic massage and yoga. After walking down a small path behind the hotel, one comes upon the brightly orange and purple villa with extensive bamboo construction.

Entering a large yard, an open-air reception area and yoga studio is found up a staircase, followed by a garden with a panoramic view of the city. Against the bright lights of the city stand four women in the yoga studio led by its instructor.

“Exhale, now inhale”, she calmly iterates, as the women descend onto rubber mats into various stretches. The large villa is still except for the women’s movement.  A Sanskrit word for peace, Swasthy Addis aim is to provide tranquility and calmness to its visitors. Ayurveda, which is practiced at the center, is one of the oldest holistic healing systems and is based on the combination of the body, mind, environment, and universe.

Following Ayurveda Philosophy, the massages offered are made up of two components: abhyangam, a full body massage for 45 minutes with oils imported from India to remove toxins, and swedena, a herbal steam bath for 20 minutes to open pores and cleanse the entire system. Recommended once a month, ayurvedic treatments are available for around 380 birr and are said to be useful not just for illnesses but to make sure all of the systems of the body are working properly. Read Full Story on the Ethiopian Reporter.