Xenia Ayiotis

Name: Xenia Ayiotis

Lives in: Right now my husband and I are somewhat nomadic and living between Athens and a small forest town one hour from Amsterdam. We are planning to settle in the Netherlands, and we are busy exploring the country to see which city we will call home.

From: I was born in Johannesburg and grew up in South Africa. I lived in Greece for a year when I finished university. We have recently moved from South Africa and we now live in the Netherlands.

Occupation: After 20 years in the tourism industry organising tours to Southern Africa, I changed careers when I started working with a coach. For the past 13 years I have been working as a Life Coach. I am a certified Intuitive Eating Counsellor. I have also trained as a Mindful Eating Coach (MB-EAT). I am a licensed Be Body Positive Facilitator through The Body Positive. After completing a 2-year training with Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach, I am a certified Mindfulness and Meditation Teacher.

I came to this work through my own food challenges. I struggled with food and body image issues for over 30 years. I was a chronic dieter, struggled with severe restriction followed by binge eating, and negative body image. I was fortunate enough to find Intuitive Eating and Mindfulness. Coaching has helped me transform my relationship with food and my body and my life! For this reason, this work is very meaningful to me. I have seen and experienced how recovering from a dysfunctional relationship with food can transform every aspect of your life.

My purpose is to help successful, mature women who have been struggling with food challenges for decades to finally find peace with food and live a meaningful life of freedom. I feel privileged and grateful to share this work with women. I offer private one on one coaching sessions, the Food Freedom group course, retreats and workshops.

Tell us your first three jobs (ever!):
My first job ever was a waitress at a Greek restaurant in Jo’burg called Delfini. I worked there as a student, if we weren’t working there we were partying there!

Next I taught English in Greece for the year that I lived in Athens.

And next I taught a group of young  Italian children at a Greek school in Johannesburg.

Zodiac sign: Gemini with a Pisces rising.

Enneagram type (if you know it)?: 7

What do you love about Greece?
Greece has a special place in my heart. For me it’s more of an emotion than a country.When you land in Athens, there is a smell that you just know you’re in Greece. It’s the fourno, the coffee brewing, the smells coming from the taverna.
Some of my best memories are carefree summer holidays with friends.
The sea, whether it’s outside of Athens or on an island, summer or winter, you just can’t tire of it. When I was younger, I loved the summers, now I prefer Greece in the winter, it’s warm enough to swim and it’s less filled with people. Athens has so many hidden, tucked away gems. The peace and magnificent views of walking in Faskomilea (sage) – it’s at the top of the hill overlooking Vouliagmeni lake and the bay. The vegetation and Cypress trees make me think of Arcadia. The buzz on Athinas street and buying herbs, spices and seeds from Evripidou street. Around the corner is Avli – perfect for a mezze and then to Stani for some sweet treats. Athens has buzz, an authenticity, one of my favourite graffiti signs is in Psyrri “Berlin is the new Athens”. Athens has soul.

Tell us something most people don’t know about you:
I talk to trees. In the area I lived in South Africa, we had a beautiful Thorn Acacia Tree. I would stop and talk to the tree, ask it to manifest my desires. It mostly did in its own time. I hugged the tree and we chatted. I miss that tree and once we settle in the Netherlands I hope to find a new tree. While I am in Athens there’s a very old gnarly olive tree in the square in Vouliagmeni that may become my Athens tree.


The first time you tried Kundalini Yoga?
The first time I tried Kundalini Yoga was in Pretoria, South Africa in 2008. It was at the Yoga Connection studio.

Tell us your top tip to combat climate change: We sold both our cars and we use public transport.

Anything else you’d like us to know?:

If you struggle with your relationship with food, peace and freedom are possible. The way through this is not more willpower, control and discipline but the intention to treat yourself with compassion and care.

AND…. (unrelated but important to me!)
I was very happy to hear about the ruling around the “de-xaplostrification” of Greece’s beaches! It was one of my pet-peeves. I am loving seeing all the amazing mindfulness and spiritual offerings in Greece.

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