Saturday, April 1, 2023

Gourmet Health & Hiking Poles Weekend Retreat at Point Reyes

The Point Reyes website is limited in space so I’m posting info here for anyone who is interested in this weekend event, which is only offered once per year.

Location:  Clem Miller Environmental Education Center – we are SO lucky to have access to this amazing facility.  If you read the description of our location, you know we are OFF the grid at CMEE.  There is ZERO cell reception.  There is no electricity in the cabins.  There are 5 cabins on the property and one large bathhouse.  Each cabin sleeps about 20 and we will be 3 to 5 per cabin, depending on your selection.  Point Reyes provides 2 excellent/experienced facilitators for our weekend and s/he can assist with cabin selection.

Retreat Description:  Are you getting older? We hope so. But how to age as gracefully as possible?  You love the outdoors!

If you’ve ever considered consulting with a fitness coach or personal trainer, this is an excellent way to get started in understanding how to weave fitness into your life so that you can continue to enjoy your outdoor activities.  This retreat is designed so that each participant can connect with nature, rejuvenate and experience a variety of classes and activities specifically designed to help you maintain your ability to enjoy the outdoors.

Together we’ll enjoy Point Reyes and learn transformative skills focused on improving and maintaining your skeletal structure and quality of life.

The weekend will include structured classes, group movement and exercise sessions as well as a variety of health and wellness discussions. Participants may enjoy all or some of the activities.
Learn and practice skills and progressive routines to enhance your health as well as optimize, personalize and PROGRAM your fitness.

Expert instruction will help you improve your ability to hike efficiently and comfortably using poles. A variety of top quality poles will be provided – learn which model fits you best and will enable you to achieve your hiking goals.

Weekend rate includes two nights’ accommodations and most (healthy and delicious) meals.

Hikes: Saturday’s short hike is part of the hiking poles training. Sunday’s hikes: 2 levels will be offered (easy/gentle and stronger/exercise) so you can practice skills and experience the magic of Point Reyes.

From prior participants:
“I went from never having used poles to feeling confident. The food was amazing as were so many other aspects of the weekend.” Jaime
“Activities from day one that provide guidance on how to get the most out of the weekend. Jayah puts a lot of thought into her teaching methods to achieve individualized goals.” Julie
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your 1000% effort to teach us, care for us and inspire us to be fitter and healthier. I know you made each of our lives better in so many ways.” Clarice
“Exceptional training in a natural environment.” Carol

10:30 a.m. Friday, August 23, 2019 to about 4 pm on Sunday, August 25, 2019

Most retreats at Point Reyes run well over $400 and do not include the food.  This one is $315 (members) or $345 (non-members) and includes most of the food – see note at end of this post to see how you can experience a truly magical culinary experience as well as the training and camaraderie of this retreat.


Activities and times are approximate and subject to change due to weather or whim.

• 10:30 to 11 Arrive at the Clem Miller Educational Center at Point Reyes National Seashore
• 11 to 12:30 Unload car, sign in with facilitator, get parking pass and repark car in nearby lot. Select cabin, arrange bedding. Settle in, lunch on your own.
• 1:00 Fitness for the Trail class
Six key elements determine your ability to maintain physical fitness. This interactive session progressively helps you create a more structurally-solid foundation. Individualized movements focus on improving joint health, balance, posture, endurance, flexibility and strength.
This is a combination lecture and participation which will give us a common language for the weekend and give you tools for establishing a healthy exercise routine. Participants will be able to assess their level in each category and learn movements and exercises in each that will help facilitate optimal physical health. Extremely easy, low to medium level of exertion.
• 4:45 Dinner Prep
• 5:30 Dinner (Discussion: individuals’ intros, issues, interests and goals)
• 7:00 Hiking Poles lecture, anatomy discussion and pole fitting (gearing up – variety of quality poles provided). Learn which poles fit you best and will help you achieve your goals.
• 8:15 Qi Gong guided meditation for organ health and relaxation with Master May Chen

• 7 to 8:30 Morning movements, Tai Chi & Breakfast (discussion: outline of the day)
• 8:45 Hiking pole training session and short hike (< 2 miles): Beginner to experienced hikers learn techniques which help improve performance on the trail. Optimal use of poles on uphill will improve your power, endurance and spine function; on the downhill, you’ll develop skills for improving confidence and saving your knees.
• 12:30 Lunch (Discussions: personal care tips, metabolism)
• 2:00 Strength & Balance session with bands (provided)
• 4:30 Dinner Prep
• 5:30 Dinner (Discussions: Gear, Trail Tips, what’s in your pack?)
• 7:00 “My Feet!” Session on feet including blister prevention followed by Qi Gong Meditation with Master May

• 7 to 8:30 Morning movements, Tai Chi & Breakfast
• 8:30 Practice Pole Hikes: Weather Permitting – Enjoy nature and experience the magic of Point Reyes. Two levels offered (Easy, gentle, nature hike or more energetic exercise training hike).
• 11:45 Stretches, Recovery strategies, including Foam Roller session
• 12:45 Lunch (Discussions: nutrition, wellness, fitting it all in)
• 2:15 Pack & Clean up
• 3:30 Farewell & Feedback gathering

Facility: – See description on the Point Reyes website   Scroll down to read about the Clem Miller Environmental Education Center.  There are 5 separate cabins, each of which sleeps over 20 and our retreat will be under 20 people total, so it’s 3 to 4 people per cabin.  We have LOTS of space!


Our system is UNIQUE (and, if I do say so myself, brilliant) at Point Reyes, but it requires a little up-front coordination which, in the long run, will save you a BUNCH of time and trouble.

Meals are coordinated ahead of time via a website that makes the food for the weekend easy, creative and fun. Rather than having to prepare all your meals for the whole weekend, you will be able to bring 2 to 3 items plus a few staples. This easy and well-organized website will enable us to see what everyone is bringing as our culinary experience unfolds.

Our focus is on healthy, nutritious, yummy meals that connect us as we share stories and enjoy health-related discussions. You will be able to contribute in a way that you’re comfortable, whether it’s a main dish, side dishes, snacks or staples (which will be listed so all you have to do is sign up for that item).

A full-service, commercial kitchen is provided.

Participants will need to advise the instructor of any food allergies or limitations.

IMPORTANT NOTE FOR REGISTERED PARTICIPANTS: Instructor will want to reach out to you 2-3 weeks before the class so you can get the custom and updated list of what to bring as well as prepare your food contributions. WHEN YOU REGISTER, you will want to ask the field seminar office for the instructor’s email so that you can reach out and receive the info you will need in order to participate in this retreat. The sooner you reach out to the instructor, the easier it will be for you to prepare.

What to Bring:

Point Reyes Health & Hiking Poles Weekend Retreat  Instructor’s Custom List of What to Bring

This is significantly more comprehensive than the “standard” what to bring on the Point Reyes site.  I suggest you START A PILE.  In the past, participants were “sure it was there,” and left home without something really basic.  If you are lacking anything, let instructor know as Jayah has extra of almost everything. When in doubt, pack extra.

  • Variable, layered clothing:
  • Your food contributions (via the sign-up genius website)
  • Your own cloth napkins (no paper please)
  • Toiletries (including soap)
  • Ear plugs (in case of snorers)
  • Hat and sun protection.
  • Good quality hiking shoes (with tread).
  • Your favorite face and body lotion (for one of our health discussions)
  • WARM sleeping bag or linens & pillows (linens not provided for bunkbeds, basic foam mattress only)
  • Any other linens, air mattress, foam mattress pad, etc. for your comfort (this is “glamping”). Instructor is seriously “princess and the pea” and has multilayer air mattress, foam pads, comfy sheets, tons of pillows and a teddy bear
  • Towels
  • Shower shoes
  • Flashlight, headlamp, lantern
  • Your favorite mug for Golden Milk (morning drink which will be provided), tea & coffee
  • Yoga mat
  • Extra pad(s) for under the mat (something to protect your knees)
  • A rag to wipe off your poles if they get dirty or wet
  • Rain gear, if necessary.
  • Fanny Pack OR Day pack with chest strap (or add bandana or something to TIE straps); water bottle(s) – note there is excellent filtered water at Clem Miller Environmental Education Center.

Optional Items:

  • Your favorite small piece of exercise equipment. Be creative, as we’ll be sharing our success stories.
  • Yoga strap (or terrycloth bathrobe belt)

Instructor has extra and you may request one especially if you’re an early responder:

  • Chair for outdoor seating (lawn or camp chair)
  • Foam roller
  • Fingerless bike gloves

** Hiking poles?  I have lots.  Bring your own or let me know if you’d like to borrow a pair/be fitted.  When you email me about this, please include your height.

To Register, click here



Personal Training for Parkinson’s Disease

September 14, 2014 by  
Filed under Coaching, Fitness & Health, Testimonials

The sooner I can get people using poles, the better for building muscle memory.  People who face mobility challenges find profound freedom of movement  when using poles for walking and exercise.  Here’s a note from a wife/caregiver/client whose husband with PD who lived out the remainder of his life walking and being there for his family…

“Dear Friends of Jayah,

Our doctor recommended my husband receive physical therapy.  He had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.  We visited the physical therapist, learned a lot, but she recommended Jayah Faye Paley on a regular basis to guide and help us.  She  gave Jayah the highest recommendation.

Jayah arrived like a breath of fresh air.  How she managed to keep such a sunshine disposition always astounds me, even now that she gives me exercises and help.  Parkinson’s is a draining disease.  I found I was angry a lot and irritable.  I wanted my old life back.  I hired help, but it was always a bit crazy; whereas, Jayah was solid.  She liked my husband, and he liked AND obeyed her; what he wouldn’t do for me, he did for her.  She came at first once or twice a week, but she was so valuable in keeping him active that I think she eventually came three times.  She knows her business thoroughly.  I suppose that is another reason my husband, a former UC B professor of engineering, admired and respected her.

She complimented him with his use of the poles, what he liked very much as he had been a superb skier.  She gave me respite, what I needed.  I looked forward to her coming because Iain was in good hands and I felt freedom.  Jayah also helped me with other care givers, guiding them to do exercises with my husband.  This was very important in the last years of his life when Parkinson’s truly took hold of his movement and activities.

I am happy to answer any further questions.  I look back on the last years of my husband’s life and realize that Jayah made the difference.  I look back on those years as precious because he was still present, what I miss so much now, even 4 1/2 years later.  He was diminished, but he was there and he tried to please.”

Joan F, Berkeley, CA

Using POLES for Walking & Maintaining Mobility – MS Radio Talk Show

March 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Poles, Testimonials

Radio Show helping people with Multiple Sclerosis.   Today after being bounced out of bed by an earthquake, I was honored to be the guest on a wonderful new radio talk show with John Rowley.

We talked about how people with MS can benefit from using poles.  Press the play button, listen and let me know what you think?

Listen to internet radio with johnrowley on Blog Talk Radio

Learning to useTrekking Poles, DVD Testimonial

July 18, 2011 by  
Filed under Testimonials

Hi Jayah!   I am currently reviewing the Poles for Balance and Mobility video. I have lent my Trekking video to a few people who are doing a better job with their poles now.   I am still amazed at how much you are able to get across to them in the video.

I am getting a lot better with my poles, really enjoying the benefits of your method.   One slight observation, as a cross country ski instructor, I disagree with you and LEKI on the right and left pole instruction.   I find the thumb on top of the top strap works best for me no matter what the label says.   I have tried it the other way and get blisters.   I could use my gloves, I know.

I hope to catch another of your seminars, I like your image of the Physical Therapy person working with poles.   I like to imagine the entire trail lined with those rails used in PT that allow people to learn to walk again.   Here is my free slogan for you:

Freedom of the trails, safety of the rails!  Keep trekking!  Eileen

Dear Eileen:  Be careful with that fragile thumb joint.  Yes, gloves will probably solve the problem. 

Yes, you’re right.  We’ve completely maxed out two DVD’s with training, supplemented by info on this blog.  To teach is to learn.  Thank you so much for your lovely email that I share on my blog.  Plus it’s a good excuse to share some more flowers.  Be sure to click on the honeysuckle to enlarge, click the back button to return to blog.



Pitcher Sage

Travelling, using poles, Happy Knees!

June 2, 2011 by  
Filed under Testimonials, Travel

I love getting photos and feedback from people with whom I’ve worked.    Here’s a note from Pam:
Thank GOSH for Poles!
We just returned from our trip to the Amazon jungle and then the Galapagos.  It was so much more rigorous than we’d expected, with 2 hikes a day and always a snorkeling session.
So, thank YOU for our private pole lessons!  Can you imagine hiking over these uneven boulders and slick lava without poles? We had no trouble at all – our knees didn’t even hurt at the end of the day, and the only difficulty was attending to pole placement so as not to spear an iguana!

Poles help rehab injury: From a friend in Afghanistan

October 13, 2010 by  
Filed under Testimonials

Dear Jayah,  I wish to thank you for your great help with the physical therapy process of my shattered ankle. I originally contacted you after watching your training video, regarding the choices and use of trekking poles. Prior to my being evacuated to Germany after the injury, some of the hospital’s medical staff in Afghanistan had recommended using them for balance during recovery.

They didn’t believe however, that I’d be able to come back to work in the same capacity as before. Now, after months of guidance from you, I’ve returned to the theater of operation at 63 YO, keeping up with younger people. Of course, all the hardware in my ankle result in  permanent reduced flexibility and the  arthritis constantly reminds me of that fateful day in September 2009. But thanks to your help and those seemingly ordinary LEKI poles, I remain the oldest active member in my Company’s labor force of around 200 people.

You coached me in the proper breathing and position while walking, and also on the correct exercises afterward. You designed a stretching program specifically suited to the limited resources available here. It raised my endurance level which was noticed by coworkers upon my return to Kandahar this September.

At that time, I was informed that I’d be strictly doing assessments here in Kandahar, which has flat and relatively easy terrain. Nonetheless, I kept on using the poles around the base the way you instructed me to for the last 6 weeks. I’m now excited to inform you that the restriction as been lifted and I’ll be returning starting this week, to those small FOBs (Forward Operation Bases) for assessments like I used to.

Thanks to you, I’ll again be able to negotiate the rugged road-less mountainous areas along the Pakistan border (after being dropped off) with my 100 Pds or so backpack. Thanks to you, I feel alive and productive again. Thanks to you, I can continue to improve in a very minute way, the creature comfort of these brave young men and women  who are handling the grueling front lines.

I’m scheduled to return home for a 2 weeks R & R in January 2011 and would appreciate the privilege to invite you and Bob (whose probably active again since his injury) to dinner. Of course, since I lack your incredible culinary talents, you’ll need to pick the restaurant…

I attached a few photos and a video of my work situation. Feel free to use this email and/or attachments if it can help anyone who feels like giving up, as I did, after a seemingly career-ending injury. Please continue to inspire people to “keep on Trucking”.
Gratefully, Pierre

Pierre Kandahar_walk

Good posture and daily walking is good prevention medicine.

October 9, 2010 by  
Filed under Fitness & Health, Testimonials

“Good posture is critical not only for people with Parkinson’s.  Postural collapse and resulting abdominal compression harms breathing, digestion, circulation and cardio-pulmonary function.   Improving body alignment, walking and stretching interfaces well with treatment plans for carpal tunnel syndrome, recovery from heart, lung, sciatica, back problems and joint pain.
Good posture and daily walking is good prevention medicine.”
– Diane Whitacre, Postural Anatomist,  San Francisco Bay Area.
Keep up your good work, Jayah!
Diane Whitacre, Postural Anatomist, RT

REI Clinic Feedback

July 26, 2010 by  
Filed under Testimonials

Hi Jayah, I attended your REI seminar is July and was impressed with what I learned in a short time. I do use poles for hiking and hike regularly, however, I found out from the video I am a user of the dreaded “death grip.” Through the video I was able to expand what you covered in class and really learn techniques that I refined on my very next hike. I needed to see the video to understand the 2 finger swing and how to keep my elbows in for the most effective core workout I have ever had! I also mastered the uphill push technique and am working on the downhill technique which is the hardest for me.

As an avid hiker and now AdventureBuddy aficionado, I highly recommend the video to the next class of learners. Feel free to use this email as promotional materials because I AM SOLD -POLES MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE AND PROPER POLE TECHNIQUES MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD! Thank you for your hard work to help exalt the valleys and make the hills lower. Trek on!

Eileen McB
One happy pollster!


July 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Testimonials

In my forty plus years educating teachers, I have never experienced such life-changing training as Jayah has put together for people with mobility issues.  She breaks down complex skills so that specific conditions can be worked on with maximum efficiency.   I have recommended her DVDs and have seen remarkable results.

Jayah is truly a gifted teacher!

David Georgi, Professor ret.

David Georgi, The Garden Dude & Jayah at Yosemi

California State University, Bakersfield

David Georgi, Professor of Education, CSU Bakersfield.
In my forty plus years educating teachers, I have never experienced such live-changing training as that Jayah has put together for people with mobility issues. She breaks down complex skills so that specific conditions can be worked on with maximum efficiency. I have recommended her DVDs and have seen remarkable results. Jayah is truly a gifted teacher!
The image is a gardendude portrait. You can also download the one on my csub web site if you wish or I can send you a more professional one when I get back from Kauai in a few weeks.
David Georgi, Professor ret.
California State University, Bakersfield