Soraya began practicing yoga when 19 in the Northern Territory. At 20, as a dental therapist working in Katherine, Soraya had a spiritual experience which changed her direction. She soon discovered the Mangrove Mountain Satyananada Yoga Ashram, and did her month long yoga teacher training in 1981. Soon after Soraya took Sannyasa and was given the spiritual name of Swami Devashakti Saraswati. Soraya continued to live in various Satyananda Ashrams, teaching, studying and living a yogic lifestyle for the next 8 years.
Soraya left the Ashram life to have a family and share her work in the community. She has four sons with two wonderful grandchildren and a wisdom that has only grown richer from family life.
Serving through her teaching, singing and allied trauma informed therapies Soraya believes in the intelligence of love in action. And this love begins in our own heart. Holistic healing includes clearing imprints of past trauma and completing our unfinished business, so we begin to love the life we are privileged to live.
Together with her husband and musical partner composer/musician Terry Oldfield, Soraya runs Mangalam Meditation Retreat in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Queensland, Australia.
Teacher and Therapist
Soraya brings her rich history of experience in natural health together with the 40 years of practice and teaching of the ancient philosophy and practice of yoga, and yoga therapy with the sister science Ayurveda, as an Ayurvedic Health Coach. These practices, still applicable today, assist clients in reestablishing a healthy life balance.
Soraya manages Mangalam Meditation Retreat outside Palmwoods on the Sunshine Coast. With weekly classes, ongoing courses and monthly music and kirtan gathering.
Terry Oldfield and Soraya
Together with husband Terry Oldfield, Soraya shares ‘Music from the Heart’, singing songs and mantras for peace. Soraya and Terry have recorded many albums, available on Spotify and Apple Music and perform together in retreats.
Non-duality or Advaita
Our philosophy is that of oneness, understanding the universe that is unfolding moment by moment. And NOW is when life occurs. The energy of love abides in the oneness that unifies all sentient beings. Shared in our Free online Global Satsang.
Tragedy and Awakening
In 2009 Soraya tragically lost her 17 year-old son to suicide 3 years after sadly losing her brother to suicide. This sparked a period of deep grief and much soul-searching.
Author: Shining Through From Grief to Gratitude
Soraya shares her incredible life story in her memoir.
This period of deep grief sparked many deep and profound shifts and internal changes over a period of years. From this period Soraya awakened to a whole new way of living. One of deep and profound peaceful loving presence. Soraya shares this sad story and her uplifting and profound insights in her book Shining Through from Grief to Gratitude published in 2016.
Her life has since been dedicated to supporting others through trauma and to awaken to a new way of living. To remember who we truly are as divine beings, and that our essence is that of love. It is the monkey-mind we mistakenly identify with that tricks us in believing otherwise.
Music and Mantra
Soraya loves to sing and encourage others to sing too. ‘It does wonders for your nervous system and awakens the heart’ She loves encouraging others to sing through chanting and kirtan: The ancient languages such as Sanskrit override the intellectual brain and promote joyful relaxation.
A Little History
Growing up in the Outback
I grew up in outback Australia and we moved around a lot. I found my solace in the powerful beauty of nature which became my ‘silent best friend and teacher’.
It was while working on Aboriginal land in the Northern Territory that I first came to realise my true nature. I (Soraya) disappeared and became everything all at once. While this experience didn’t last, a thirst for wisdom and for the return of that experience of unconditional love was born.
I became a spiritual seeker, leaving behind conventional life to live in a Yoga Ashram. I donned orange robes and lived a very simple life with no bank account or personal means.
All through my 20’s I taught yoga and lived a simple rural life practicing karma yoga (selfless service). I deepened my knowledge in the ancient yoga practices, meditation, naturopathy and yoga therapy.
At 29 I left Ashram life to start a family and then at 34 I suddenly became a single parent raising my sons alone. I continued my teaching and worked as a naturopath. I began to travel, taking groups to India.
In 2003 I met the wonderful musician and composer Terry Oldfield and soon we became best friends, working together writing songs and performing. We both shared a love of mantra and ancient cultures which we express by singing mantras and Celtic songs.
Our commitment to authentic spiritual life was in perfect alignment. We laughed, played and sang together…and in 2007 married and continue to tour globally sharing our work together with music and mantras for peace to this day.
Soon a series of tragic family suicides left me grieving and questioning everything. My profound and very painful journey with grief changed everything. An awakening to truth as it had never been experience before left me with a profound sense of gratitude and finally peace.
Grief to Gratitude
Seven years after my 17 year old sons suicide I completed and published my memoir ‘Shining Through From Grief to Gratitude’. Writing helped me to process the painful emotions around my grief and kept me inspired to seek truth.
I had discovered that by allowing the light of awareness to shine clearly here, suffering began to fall away and out of the deepest tragedy of my life emerged a deep sense of presence and freedom. I continue to inspire others to acknowledge their buried feelings and emotions and to heal. To recognise who we truly are beyond the body-mind most of us limit ourselves to be.
I had stared death in the eye… From this a deep acceptance of ‘life as it is’ has arisen
I know now we are not the body, our story, beliefs or history. We are truly much more than this.
Happiness is our true nature
Happiness is our true nature. It is a precious gift to live ‘as consciousness’ which is naturally peaceful.
The clearing of old patterns, beliefs and mind fabricated limitations requires courage, honesty and deep inquiry.
The process is of course ongoing as the old patterns will re-emerge to be seen through again and again…till they dissolve away. Conscious living and abiding in peace only occurs in this eternal moment.