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Who We Are 

We are an internationally established platform offering embodiment education, training, and spaces for movement- and body-based  soul-work.  Evolving from founder Stefana Serafina’s work with freeing the intelligence of  the body through intuitive movement, the Deep Body Institute is an emergent and growing collective of deep-body practitioners, embodiment experts, therapists, artists, & educators, passionately advocating for a deep-bodied social change.

Below, please meet: 


Deep Body Collective

Our Story


Stefana Serafina

Stefana Serafina

Founder,  Lead Teacher, Mentor 

Stefana Serafina, M.A., is an embodiment educator, writer, & mentor.  The Deep Body method,  which defines our work, emerged in Stefana's work over the last twelve years with communities in California, Europe, Central America, and is a unique body- and movement–based approach to personal & collective growth, and soul work.  

 Stefana’s  teachings and facilitation, which is a signature blend of movement journeys and expressive arts approaches, earth and nature-centric body practices,  myth & ancient story,  embodied archetypal psyche, and ritual dance, have been called "life-changing and life-giving",  "penetrating and rekindling", a "masterful invitation to the timeless remembrance of who we are''. 

See more  about Stefana's credentials and the story that lead her to creating the DBI.
deep body collective

The Deep Body Collective

Our Deep Body Collective is an emergent and growing collective of embodiment experts, trained Deep Body practitioners, therapists, artists, soul workers and change makers.

Core Faculty


     Michelle Maree Hardeman-Guptill MA, LMFT is a licensed psychotherapist, a transformational coach, a trauma specialist and a mentor for practitioners who understand the value of being trauma-informed whenever working with someone's mind or body. She brings all of the wisdom that she has gathered over 20 years into a container of safety, occasional cussing, a splash of sass and total reverence for your unique experiences.

     Michelle has ancestral roots in Ireland and Denmark. She currently lives on the Miwok and Pomo lands of Northern California.

     Her work supports people to create a bridge between the wisdom of their body and the power of their mind. This dance between the mind and body leads us to awareness, insight, regulation and expression.


In Michelle's words:

     “The work with the deep body initially terrified me, and eventually became a driving force in my reconnection to the magical world inside my own body. Stefana ignited a passion for me to help others create that bridge between the mind and the body so that our world can return to a place of balance, aliveness, connection and intimacy."


     Katy Avila, MFA,  is an artist and a weaver of body, myth, music, dance, poetry, & the stars. After years of studying music, writing, and astrology, she had the visceral sense that something was missing in her creative pursuits - movement. A string of synchronicities led to discovering Intuitive Body & Dance in 2017, training with founder Stefana Serafina, and becoming certified as a Deep Body® Practitioner  in 2020. She has since supported Stefana and the Deep Body Institute as a project manager and teaching assistant.

   Katy has taught expressive arts and movement workshops in high schools, yoga studios, medical universities, music festivals and online since 2015. 

    As a Deep Body Practitioner, Katy has created and taught numerous courses on embodied astrology, and offers transformative embodiment mentorships focused on emotional, creative, and authentic expression.

​​   Katy is of Mexican-American heritage, with ancestral roots in Poland, Ireland, Spain and Britain. Working with the Deep Body Institute has allowed her to connect with indigenous  and ancestral wisdom of movement and dance, and brought her home to her own body and the Earth.

Teaching Assistants

Carmen da Silva Wells standing.jpg

     Carmen da Silva Wells is a creative coach and embodiment facilitator dedicated to guiding individuals and groups toward more aliveness, impact and fulfilment. Carmen strives to embody the spirit of love, curiosity and service in all aspects of her life. She is passionate about weaving together wild wisdom and purposeful creation, in service of a more collaborative, conscious and creative world.
In her women's circles, coaching, Wonderwalks and training sessions, she holds space for people to explore their life’s questions, navigate their edges, and cultivate a spirit of playful and courageous expression.
Carmen's exposure early in life with different cultures, inspired her to study organisational anthropology and behavior change and pursue a career in international development.
After having her second child, she decided to shift her focus closer to home and towards more embodied ways of living and working. This prompted a personal search back to her own creativity and authentic expression, via mindfulness, art making, somatic work, yoga, energetic healing modalities and intuitive dance.
Carmen’s ancestral roots reach from Brazil and Norway to Canada and England. She has planted herself in Amsterdam, where she considers herself a local and lives with
her two children.

In Carmen's words:

     “I believe creativity has the power to awaken, empower, heal, and transform. Creative expression is a crucial part of holistic well-being. For each of us and for our planet. Deep Body Movement is a powerful approach towards igniting our creativity. It helps finding clarity, new perspectives and connection. It’s time to follow our deeper body’s invitation to slow down and listen. To our own bodies, to the stories of our ancestors living within us and to the impulse of life communicating what is important in this moment of the unfolding story."

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Simona Schiau

Simona is an artist, dancer, and adventurer at heart. Simona is the co-founder of Twerk Prophets - where she and her partner work with a range of somatic practices that focus on bringing people back to their core selves and stripping the layers of confusion and illusion. Her work is based firstly on pelvic literacy and secondly on reigniting playfulness. 

Today, she uses that awareness and years of designing visual imagery to create emotional journeys for the body. She sees bodies as children starved of attention and stories who want to express themselves and be part of these imaginal acts. In these places of wonder, our bodies finally learn to speak again. As we allow them to tell these stories, our bodies develop more language (movement), grace (ease of transition, be it physical or emotional), and courage (freedom of expression).

Besides being one of the teaching assistants, Simona is currently also the project manager for the Deep Body Institute.


In Simona's words: 

“Deep Body Work has given me insight and understanding into a world that I had stepped into mainly through intuition and has given me the tools to build a better foundation for my practice. I am in love with this work because it feeds what I see as extensive starvation now in the world: the work with myth and symbol, those essential tools that allow us to live in the world in a deeply connected way. This mythopoetic layer that I feel so strongly connected to in this work is one of the most needed modalities of healing and becoming whole again.”

Our Story 

You can find more about our Vision and Story here, or read Stefana's personal story of developing the work here
Our Story
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