Stefana Serafina, M.A.,
is an embodiment educator, transformative movement facilitator, mentor, and writer recognized for her unique body– and movement–based approach to personal and collective growth. Weaving together movement journeys and expressive arts approaches, nature- and soul-centric body practices, women’s sensuality & mystery traditions, embodied archetypal psyche, and ritual dance, Stefana’s facilitation and teachings have been called "life-changing and life-giving", "deeply penetrating and rekindling", a "masterful invitation to the timeless remembrance of who we are''.
Over the last twelve years, while working with communities in California, Europe, Central America, and online, Stefana developed the Deep–Body model & method, which serves as the foundation of our work. Stefana also coined the phrase "deep body" to describe the convergence of many-layered intelligence in our physical form.
She is the founder of the Deep Body Institute, which provides spaces, resources, education, social activism, and community for returning to our deep bodies’ soulful, creative, and earth-honoring intelligence.
Stefana’s credentials include a Master's Degree in Communications with an award winning thesis on body image in modern culture; counseling training from the Interchange Counseling Institute, and a wide range of training, research, and experience in various modalities, including Authentic Movement, world dance, indigenous traditions, drama therapy, and women's studies.
Stefana hosts & produces the Embodied Way Podcast.
Read Stefana's personal story below
Hello fellow seeker, thank you
for being curious to meet deeper.
Moving my body freely has disrupted, shaped and transformed my life, and I have learned that that is what movement wants to do in our bodies– open, stir, free up, reorganize, make flow, make change.
Deep down, I always loved moving & expressing my body, but as a kid growing up in communistic Eastern Europe, there weren't many opportunities beyond a corseted ballet class or a traditional dance with steps to follow– not to invent. I was one of the millions of girls and women in patriarchal cultures around the world– including western democracies!– where the feminine or creative expression of a body is still not truly welcome, let alone encouraged, valued, or made space for.
I craved that expression without having the words for it.
It was those stolen all-night teenage dances at forest festivals or beach rave parties– dancing in my own hidden ‘corner’, eyes closed, that gave me some formative glimpses of what happened to my spirit when I moved freely, spontaneously, uncensored. And over the years, I kept drinking the medicine of movement on my own terms: I moved instinctively, clumsily, foolishly, tenderly, fiercely, with no one to watch.
During a great crossroads in my life, already in my early 30s and living in San Francisco, when I had become deeply disillusioned with what I thought would be my lifelong career in journalism, movement & dance found me again and allowed me to begin shedding the projections for my life and discover who I was meant to be.
Simply put, when I moved and danced freely, without steps to follow but with full attention in my body, I could suddenly cry the tears that weren’t coming before, feel the feelings put on the shelves for later, and free up my muscles, my bones and my psyche of whatever was stagnant moments before. But there was more: When I moved, I got access to a woman inside me that I wouldn't have known otherwise– free, intuitive, powerfully sensual, spirited, aching to create, wise beyond my mind, and suddenly with so much to give to the world!
So I asked myself: What if women everywhere got to meet that deeper, powerful self inside their bodies?
I already knew that our bodies have, over centuries, become fortresses occupied by our culture, and women were particularly affected. But what would happen if the women of the world–if we– decolonized and rediscovered our own bodies again? What would happen if we took our bodies back from all the objectification, beauty standards, ageism, sexism, stiff morals, dieting, fake embodiment, and the many other embodied oppressions of our culture? What if the free, sensual, mysterious, wilder, tender-hearted tigress in each body was freed to walk her mighty pounce in the streets of the world?
In 2009, I offered my first expressive flow class in San Francisco– an experiment that had my classes sold out for the next two years- such was the hunger people had to move creatively, sensuously, freely– to rediscover their own rhythm in the world. So I naturally threw myself into building a vision & a platform, which would only shape up over time but from the very beginning it had everything to do with freeing our bodies and their vast creative, intuitive, and emotional genius.
Little did I know how much more would be uncovered once our freed up bodies began moving together– under the surface, away from pretty-dancing and learned ways, into the deep waters, and in- between the worlds...
Over the last 12 years in rooms, temples, and forests around the world, we have been discovering that when our deep bodies are free to tell our true stories, they remember wild, ancient, and astonishing things about our nature that are ours to embody once again. Our bodies taught us that they are direct expressions of the feminine nature, and they have an intelligence and a soul deeper than we have ever been educated to believe! And that to free that intelligence is to free ourselves.
As I took my work to venues across California, Europe, Central America, and worked with the many, many women and non-binary people who came curious and hungry to rediscover their bodies and themselves again, I became a devoted researcher of the body and its moving expression, and amidst the healing, growth, and discovery that resulted in our communities, the Deep Body Model & method emerged naturally, as knowledge from the center of our own bodies.
Today, our Deep Body work is a reclamation of soul and body- as one. And I believe that this is direct action in dismantling the patriarchy! After all, patriarchy cannot survive the dance of women, and humans at large. To free up, open, trust, and love our bodies is to be actively creating the post-patriarchal order.