2023 new about
my name is
A Dutchie, living in Cape Town with my family. Partner to David. Mother of my spirit son Jade and earthly daughter Aya. Passionate about creating a more balanced and equal world. A world with humans who are connected, to their bodies, the seasons, to nature, to each other and to Mother Earth.
Even when I am not directly working with the body, it is my main language and tool. Energy and art, are very close seconds.
I guess it all started in my granny's womb
If you had met me 20 years ago you would have seen a complete different Tessa: partying, on the go, a full agenda and always happy. I was living in full summer. Living up in my head, seeing and experiencing life through the lens of the mind. As lovely summer and happiness sounds, it wasn't healthy for me. Although I loved it at the time, my body not so much. In 2008, in my first job after graduating from University, the time was there: I burned out.
Not officially, and I did not get the help I could have had, because like always: I wanted to sort it out on my own. I was an independent and strong woman after all.
Oh boy, I could not have been more wrong: I wasn't tapping from my real feminine power. I was using a 'false' masculine one. I had not learn that receiving, connection and intimacy are one of the biggest and most important Feminine qualities.
In hindsight it was a beautiful beginning of my, ongoing, journey of discovering and embodying the feminine and her energies in me.
My first step was a big one for me, I visited my GP and told him that I was not in a good place and asked for a referral to see a psycho-therapist. Something that, at that time, was not done in my environment and the family I grew up in. To soon realize that talk-therapy wasn't going to work for me, I needed a body-oriented one. Like the psycho-therapist said: there is nothing wrong with your cognitive brain (it might be functioning too well), but you need help with the emotional side of things.
And that is where I found my healing, through the body (and in Africa but that is a longer story). I started seeing a hapto-therapist, discovered my huge collection of suppressed emotions and learned ways to express them. It wasn't so healthy to be happy all the time after all. I actually had lots of anger, sadness and fear inside of me. Mostly anger and sadness though. I started doing yoga, and felt the big impact on quieting my mind and releasing stored tension in my body. First through the more yang styles of yoga, because that suited me at the time. I clearly remember my first few savasana's and the small tears that escaped from the corners of my eyes. I fell so much in love with the practice and philosophy that I did a Teacher Training. I started teaching and it felt like everything was falling into place.
But after a while my body was signalling again, I did not have the power to do an active yoga class at all! It was then that Yin Yoga crossed my path. I learned that there is a different way to do things: from a relaxed state of being. I learned that I became stronger, the more I moved from a soft place.
Bringing yin into my life brought a lot of change. Finally I was allowing to life with the seasons. During the year, and slowly over time also every cycle. I dived into Tradition Chinese Medicine (TCM) and their natural and holistic approach to health. While I was grounding stronger into myself I was reconnected with a big desire: I wanted to bring Africa, with her deep mother energy, more into my life.
That is how I picked up my research into sexuality again, my thesis on the cultural and social impact on teenagers in South Africa and their sexual behaviour. A road that led to the beautiful project She Blooms: with her period and a workshop the goal is to create more intergenerational sharing, caring and holding. In order to birth this into the world I had to look at my own cycle and sexuality. I needed a way deeper embodiment of my Feminine. Of my lower chakras. And I needed to honor my blood. Literally and figuratively.
In these years I deepened my understanding through partner yoga, a beautiful practice to show how the masculine and the feminine are related. How they need each other, and how they support each other. A combination of yoga, acrobatics, Thai massage and tantra. My understanding and experience in teaching Yin Yoga was growing and growing. I saw many women and their disconnection from their hips and (lower) bellies. More and more I started to feel the desire to work with women, 1:1 and in groups, specially on the pelvic floor and the lower chakra's. A deep and intensive coaching course crossed my path: Love, Sex and Relationship coaching at the Integrated Tantra Institute. Over two years I dived into the magic world of female sexuality, her body and her in relationship. So much conditioning, strong patterns and stories showed up, in relationship to myself, and within relationship with my partner David.
life, death, birth
I thought I've had my deep dive into my feminine, but the real encounter came when I started the journey of motherhood. After a beautiful first pregnancy my son Jade died during labor, after a full term pregnancy. With no medical reason. He just passed. The most tragic and traumatic experience that lead to a deep understanding of the cyclic nature of life and the Feminine. It was time for a long autumn and even longer winter. In order for me to embody the cycle of life, death and birth, as I fell pregnant again. 14 months after his death I birthed my daughter Aya Rose. She came out, roaring with life. Almost as a twin sister, that is how connected they feel.
It feels to me that Jade came to bring star energy and to make peace with death. I had to become comfortable with the fact that death creates life. That we are cyclic beings. That our wombs move through this cycle, every month and at different times in our lives when we transition. Often unfelt and unseen. However dying to be understood and acknowledged for her capacity to hold space for it all.
I learned that our wombs carry ancestral wounds. That unprocessed events and emotions can be passed on through our wombs. I learned about the meaning of intergenerational trauma and had to embody it. My grandmother had a stillbirth too and at her time she was not allowed to see her son when he was born. And she did not have the space, time and support to grief.
I experienced that there are things in life we cannot control. Life will speak to us in her own way. Aya was born with the gift of having us unite opposites. To meet in the middle. And to show me that life can be trusted, no matter what. It deepened my understanding of what surrender truly means.
After a year of mothering I admitted to myself that I was completely overwhelmed by motherhood and I felt a big need to start my healing journey. Two pregnancies, two births, a major loss and a year of mothering and breastfeeding took their toll on my body, and mind.
After all these years of working on myself and my feminine, I created such a deep and loving relationship with my body but I could not feel that anymore. I did not feel good in my body, I was not grounded, had aches and pains and my libido was gone for a very long time. My hemmorroids kept flaring up and didn't want to leave. Also, after 14 months my belly was still 'open', I had a so called diastasis recti (DR).
Luckily life was still my friend. All the challenges, all the pains and all the gifts, life knows her way of presenting it to serve me. I came across a few beautiful, and powerful female healers, and fellow mothers. Who allowed me to heal on all different layers: physical, mental, emotional, energetic and spiritual. Because there is one thing I learned in these past years, transitioning into motherhood is one of the biggest transitions a woman makes throughout her life.
I needed to slow down and surrender even deeper into this transformation that brought me to my core.
My wise, wild and sacred woman wanted to be seen and heard. To come back into this world even more connected, felt and held. It is (an ongoing) call to foster authenticity. A powerful transition to embody my feminine essence even more and to shine my creative light within myself, my family and into the world.
My work is largely shaped by the following education, trainings, interests and inspiration:
a somatic coaching approach on Sex, Love + Relationships
Layla Martin, Tantric Institute of Integrated Sexuality, 2019 (600hrs)
specializations Female Sexuality + Relationship Transformation, 2020 (200hrs)
Yoga Teacher Trainings
Partner Yoga with Dieke Bikker 2018 (150hrs)
Yin Yoga + Anatomy with José de Haan-de Groot, 2013-2017 (200hrs RYT)
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, It’s Yoga, with Sarah Stone-Fransisco, 2010 (200hrs RYT)
Meridian massage, 2019
Thai Yoga Massage, 2018
Instititute of applied Haptonomy, the science of affectivity, 2012
Master of Science in Sociology, University of Amsterdam, 2007
Bachelor of Communications, Fontys University Eindhoven, 2003
Let’s call it the School of Life, who presents me deep experiences that are the biggest teacher of all, 1982 – now
interests + inspiration
º I have a deep love for Yin Yoga and it’s intimate and feminine character. It has brought me an deep appreciation for TCM and it’s seasonal approach.
º Being creative is an important outlet for my emotional world: painting, mixed media, writing, photography, crochet and pottery are my main tools.
º Conscious or ecstatic dance has been a game changer for me, it allows my (emotional) body to move in complete freedom.
º Over the past years my passion for life transitions, and in specific those of womanhood, and it’s impact on one’s health has grown and grown. Family constellations and inter-generational trauma have been a great source for a greater understanding of the dynamics at play.
º A big part of my day is spent in the kitchen, since nutritious food is what keeps me going. When I have extra time, I love to experiment with cooking.
º Nature is essential for me to keep my nervous system in check. How I spent time there varies from hiking, swimming, gardening to meditating.
º Oh and I love to sit in the morning sun, or on the couch on a rainy day, with a good cup of tea daydreaming. My current morning favorite is Numi’s Earl Grey.