Category Archives: Yoga

Good news, bad news – Writing for Wellbeing Workshop

Good news, bad news – Writing for Wellbeing Workshop
Good news, bad news – Writing for Wellbeing Workshop


Bad news… due to the snow, my sold-out Introduction to Writing for Wellbeing workshop this Saturday (3rd March) has been cancelled.

Good news… it is being held instead on Saturday 7th April.

Bad news… not all those booked on can make the new date.

Good news… this means there are some spaces now available. All the details and booking contacts will be on the University of Kent website on Monday – click here or email to reserve a place.

Here’s what students have said about previous Writing for Wellbeing courses:

‘Sarah is thoughtful and funny and kind. She allows everyone time and space to think and to be heard.’

‘I’ve loved this course! It’s been surprising, inspiring, emotional but above all enjoyable.’

‘The course was inspirational, joyful and practical. I feel physically and mentally better for having done it.’

‘Sarah is fantastic, she is able to bring out the best in the student and at the same time make them feel relaxed and at ease.’

‘Sarah creates exactly the right supportive environment in which people can express themselves and surprise themselves.’

‘When’s the next course?’

Not surprisingly I get a rosy glow when I read comments like those above but actually all the good work happen through the magic created between the writer and their journal. I’m passionate about the benefits of journal writing, and more and more the research backs up my instincts, but it’s much easier than anyone thinks at first.

However, this isn’t about just getting a journal and writing down random thoughts. It’s about learning new journal techniques and structuring them in such a way that you do surprise yourself. It’s about working out the best tools for reflection, seeing things from new perspectives, and trying new ways of expression. It’s about creating a sustainable journal writing practice. And, as you can hopefully see from above, it’s enjoyable!

If you can’t make the new workshop date, 7th April,  the on-going Monday Writing for Wellbeing short course is full BUT we will be running more at Tonbridge so do email the centre to be put on the mailing list.

tilton yoga and writing

And I’ll be running some more writing and yoga workshops this summer with Anna Robertshaw so you can get a double dose of goodness! More on these soon or you can follow us at Mat and Page on Facebook to be the first to hear. Meanwhile, here’s a teaser of our beautiful venue….




New dates for Writing for Wellbeing Workshops

New dates for Writing for Wellbeing Workshops

Using writing for self-discovery and wellbeing has always been a cornerstone of my teaching practice. Over the last decade, I’ve been part of the tutor team on the MA in Creative Writing and Personal Development at Sussex University, trained in journal writing with American experts, run writing workshops with different groups ranging from teenage mothers, school disaffected adolescents, gardeners older people, yogis, business people, and PhD candidates in economics, statistics, biochemistry. I’ve worked with people who are confident that they are destined to become bestselling authors and others who come into the room declaring that they feel physically sick just looking at an empty page.

And, through all that, my belief that the act and practice of writing – particularly when guided – can make us more alive, increase our empathy, our self-awareness and even our contentment has grown. Largely because I’d never tell anyone to do anything or write to any prompt that I hadn’t done myself. Many times! My journals have been my very best friends over the years. 


So I’m really happy to tell you about some new dates for workshops and courses coming up. Join me! Let’s write together…


Mat and Page – a yoga and writing workshop 

Saturday February 11th 2.15-4pm

 Freestyle Yoga Project, High Street, Tunbridge Wells

what is it?

After our really successful retreat at Tilton House last year (that’s us writing in the yurt above), Anna, the founder of Freestyle Yoga Project and I have been working together to look more at how we can combine yoga and writing as a way of opening up and writing a new story for ourselves! The session will involve guided journal writing – both for exploration and creativity – and movement. You will be exercising and writing on the mat, with visualisations, breathing, and writing exercises.

do I have to be an expert yogi or writer?

No! We have designed this for both beginners and experts because Anna and I believe that every time you go to the mat and the page, the only person who directs your practice is you. Sometimes we want to challenge ourselves, other times we just want to go back to basics. We always want to be beginners in our practice – both yoga and writing – because that way we can surprise ourselves. It’s a chance to experiment in a friendly safe environment, and also to enjoy it.

where is it?

The Freestyle Yoga Project is in the High Street in central Tunbridge Wells. It is a dedicated yoga studio, with plenty of drop in classes. The best news is that it is only a five minute walk from the train station – with regular services from London. You don’t have to live in Kent to join us!

how do I book?

There are two ways of joining us – either come at 1pm for the one hour Mellow Yellow yoga session, and then stay on for the two hour writing and movement session. OR come at 2.15pm for the second session alone. The writing session is £20, on top of your yoga class. We are limiting the numbers, and have already been taking bookings so do contact us as soon as possible if you would like a place –

  Writing for Wellbeing

March 1, 8, 15, 22 – 1-3pm at University of Kent, Tonbridge Centre.

This is a four week course, based on the acclaimed Journal to the Self © workshop, created by Kathleen Adams. The sessions will support personal growth, creativity and life management skills through different journal writing techniques. These will include character studies, letters, expressive writing, lists, visualisations, stepping stones and springboards.

It is suitable for all standards of writing. For more information and to book, click here or visit the University of Kent, Tonbridge Centre website. Full details of the course are here. 



Here are some lovely things writers have said about past workshops:

“Lovely time writing with Sarah Salway today. It was just like a spa. I came in bombarded by the world and finally felt as if I had two hours where I could think”. TG

A Saturday afternoon in a yoga studio. Tucked away for a couple of hours to explore our creativity. To let the words flow, from our minds, our hearts, through pens and onto the page. Creating new poems and prose. An hour ago we were strangers; now we sit here, a new group of writers. ND

You are such a generous teacher, it’s a total pleasure to be stretched by you. JW

I am not sure what I imagined but this was beyond my expectations. I think I had expected just to sit writing notes but your talking and exercises certainly made me think. I really hadn’t realised there was so much out there. I didn’t have the tools… but now I do. KB

“This retreat really helped to shake me out of myself and re-gather some perspective. Anna and Sarah were the perfect guides.” Amy

Laugh until you mean it

Laugh until you mean it

I went to a laughing workshop tonight. Ridiculously I was a bit scared, but that made me laugh by itself. Scared of laughing?

Luckily I’d had practise – just at the weekend we’d laughed a lot as we celebrated my sister’s special birthday. Drinking games, silly moving round the room games, songs, memories. Those family jokes that only family find funny – running to the sitting room to be first on the sofa for a round of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, speaking bad French, singing, not knowing the names of any footballers, and then there was the time we set granny on fire…

But this was with strangers.

We did eye each other up a bit as we sat in the yoga studio waiting for it to begin, but then we had something in common – we were all wondering why we were there.

But not for long. Caroline, our ‘laughter’ coach, got us laughing straight away. ‘It doesn’t matter if it is faked,’ she said. ‘It doesn’t matter if you are laughing at, or with us. Just laugh.’

We sang little songs, we shouted ‘well done well done, yay’ tens of times with happy movements, we laughed as we shook hands, we showed each other our secret laughs, we lay down on the floor with our heads together and we laughed. This was yoga, we were stretching our chuckle muscles.

We’d done charts beforehand of how we were feeling, and after an hour of laughing, we filled in the same charts. I don’t think I was the only one who was amazed at the difference. We laughed at that too.

And look, even when you’re one of the most powerful men in the world, you know it’s important to find time to laugh.

obama laugh

Somehow it feels good to be reminded of that just now. I’m hooked.


Six ways to keep motivated while writing long projects

Six ways to keep motivated while writing long projects

I’m midway through two long writing projects at the moment. Lucky me, but you know, there are times when I miss that PING of adrenalin that comes from actually finishing something.

So here are the six things that are helping to keep me on track and motivated right now:

  1. – This site is all about encouraging you to write 750 words every day (it’s kind of in the name!). Run by two writers, it’s based around The Artist’s Way morning pages, but you write online and it provides all the challenges, badges and graphs I could hope for. It also keeps your writing safe in case you wanted to come back to it at any time, but I cut and paste for my own files.
  2. Balanced – my writing friend, Viccy Adams, told me about this app and I love it. It’s not for writing, or at least not just for writing. How it works is that you fill in certain things you want to do and how often, and it keeps a check on them for you, gently reminding you if you’re behind. They can just be simple things – I put down to go for a walk every day because, daft as it seems, when I’m in the middle of writing a scene I can forget to step outside. It’s a bit like a nanny – it’s even got me to drink lots more water, but you can add fun things too. Dance twice a day…. I like it!
  3. TeuxDeux – I use paper to-do lists as well because I’m a to-do list person, but this version – which links across my phone and computer – is the most easy and accessible one I’ve found to use. If I don’t write it down, it seems, I just forget to do things. Ho hum. I even wrote down to do this blogpost today so now I can give myself a great big …tick
  4. Pomodoro – this app is an oldie but goldie, timing you in chunks of 25 minutes writing, short break, another 25 minutes, and so on. I’ve found it a lot more effective than writing in one long gulp. Of course I could just use a kitchen timer, but that having my phone click away the minutes means I’m not checking emails or twitter. (nb I use an iphone so the link above is to apple, but there are others here)
  5. Freedom – speaking of internet distractions, I hate love this one. Download the programme, then type in how long internet free time you want and it won’t let you on back on at all until that time is over. No matter how much you beg. Essential.
  6. Yoga with Adriene – and lastly, I’m lucky in that I have a great yoga studio just down the road, but when I’m working well I don’t always want to break the mood for too long. I don’t know who Adriene is, but I think she might be an angel because she offers great yoga lessons absolutely free. Most are approximately 30 mins long, and can be done without complicated equipment, right in front of your computer. Because you know,  the writer may be the one who stays in the chair until the words are down, but I still don’t want to be particularly shaped like the chair when I finally type the end!

So that’s my list – what helps you write?

Creative writing courses in Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge (and one retreat)…

Creative writing courses in Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge (and one retreat)…

Dear Writing Friends,

I wanted to let you know about some upcoming writing classes, and one special retreat, coming up. Although they are based in Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge, all are very easily accessed by train – even from London!!

First up are three Saturday writing workshops I’m running at the Freestyle Yoga Retreat in the High Street in Tunbridge Wells. You DO not have to do yoga, or even wear lycra, although it’s a wonderful place. I bear no responsibility for what it might encourage you to do next!

The classes will be held on Saturday 19th March, Saturday 30th April, and Saturday 28th May from 1.30-3.30pm.

They cost £20 each, and can be booked separately or as a group (we will work to a different theme each time.) Suitable for beginners and/or experienced writers, and for anyone over the age of 16.  We will work to prompts, discover new writers and most of all surprise ourselves on the page. Contact me at to book or for more information.

There is also a day class at the University of Kent at Tonbridge on the 23rd April (the link is hereand you would need to book through them. The theme is on getting published, and it’s a useful chance to look at what publications and opportunities there are out there, even if you think you might just be getting started!


And finally, but by no means least, Anna from Freestyle Yoga Project and I are running a yoga and writing retreat at the beautiful Tilton House in Sussex in November (that’s the hammock above.) To be honest, we *probably* won’t be using the hammock in November but we will be in the heated and candelit yurt, writing by the log fire, and probably outside at least once by a huge bonfire. We have so many plans, and it will really be special. In fact, shut your eyes and think of hygge…

This one WILL contain yoga, and writing, but you do not have to be expert at both. It is more about inspiration than competition! You can see more by click click clicking on THIS LINK!

Please feel free to pass this information on to anyone or any writing lists that you think might be interested. However I also wanted to let you know that we have already been taking bookings for all of these classes above, and, as always, space is limited because it feels better to keep the groups small and perfectly formed!

sarah with pen


I really hope to write with you soon! Wouldn’t that be fun? Do contact me for any information on any of the above.


News of an exciting yoga and creative writing retreat:

News of an exciting yoga and creative writing retreat:


In the space between the mat and page, magic happens!

A weekend of creative writing, mellow movement & breathing.

Join award-winning writer, Sarah Salway ( and Freestyle Yoga Project Co-Founder, Anna Robertshaw-Freeth for three days of poetry, poses and peace. This retreat is suitable for all abilities, whether it is your first time to share your writing or you are new to yoga. With a group of likeminded people, you’ll be led through a variety of mellow, fun and practical exercises to create new healthy habits on both the mat and the page.

We will be based at Tilton House (as featured in The Observer, The Independent, The Telegraph, Times Online & The Guardian) nestled underneath the South Downs and edged by woodland with far reaching views across the Sussex Weald. The Georgian country house was once home to economist John Maynard Keynes and ballerina Lydia Lopokova as their retreat for contemplation and calm.

What better place to get your creative juices flowing!


Friday November 11 to Sunday November 13 2016.

Early bird offer of £450, (if paying by the end of April 2016 in full) or £495, based on 2 people sharing.

To book, please contact:

Includes; accommodation in a shared room (all decorated using natural materials), six delicious chef prepared vegetarian meals, tea/coffee, snacks, fruit & water provided from the local spring.

Two creative writing sessions with Sarah, using inspiring poetry and prose readings as well as practical exercises to help you surprise yourself on the page. We will look at journal writing, as well as creating new work, and you will leave with writing prompts and suggestions for future writing.

Two mellow yoga sessions with Anna in the heated yurt. We will move, breath, release, relax, unwind and remind ourselves of the connection between our bodies & mind, suitable for ALL abilities, whether completely new or old hat…

Explore the woodland, gardens and lie and gaze in a hammock at the night sky, in five acres of Sussex countryside.

Elegant and comfortable bedrooms all with great views of the Sussex Weald or South Downs.

We will share our favourite readings by the open fire in the library one evening, but you’re also welcome to read or write quietly here during the weekend.

Free Wi-Fi access.

All weather tennis court (balls and rackets supplied)!

Library / sitting rooms full of inspiring books & dreamy views.

Glorious walks, inspiring views, bike hire available on request.

Five minute stroll from Charleston Farmhouse, home of the Bloomsbury set.

Three good pubs within an hours walk.

Holistic treatments available upon request.