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Morning Traditions: 5 Ways to Start the Day

Article by Virginia Van Zanten

From sunrise yoga hundreds of feet above the streets of Los Angeles to a serene morning spent with the Buddhist monks of Kyoto’s Myokaku-ji Temple, these five truly special experiences guarantee that you start your day on the right foot.

1. Elevated Yoga in Los Angeles, California

Beginning the day with a sun salutation may not be particularly unusual, but getting into your Vinyasa flow on the rooftop pool deck overlooking the city of Los Angeles is an unquestionably unique experience. At The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles, groups of up to 10 people can enjoy a 60-minute group yoga and meditation class on the rooftop pool deck— 26 floors up. Guests may find the elevation a bit intimidating, but the brave are rewarded with panoramic views of the city as well as landmarks like the Hollywood sign, Griffith Observatory and the San Gabriel Mountains.

2. Soul Purification in Bali

Guests at The Ritz-Carlton, Bali have the unique opportunity to participate in an authentic Soul Purification Ritual during their stay. The Melukat (a cleansing ritual) is typically performed to mark a new beginning or a major life transition like marriage or childbirth. A Balinese priest performs the ceremony on a secluded white-sand beach at sunrise, thereby invoking Surya (sun god) and Varuna (ocean god), as both are believed to be necessary to bring about a new beginning. A guide accompanies guests through the steps of making an offering, cleansing with holy water, and praying, after which a string called Benang Tridatu is tied around the wrist as a reminder to continue the quest for understanding.

3. Morning Chanting in Kyoto, Japan

With more than 1,500 Buddhist temples in Kyoto — the longtime capital of Japan and the enduring “cultural capital” — it’s fitting to start the day in the serene splendor of the Myokaku-ji Temple. Guests of The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto can embark on a short bike ride past the Imperial Palace and the Kamo River to reach the centuries-old temple and observe monks chanting the okyo (Buddhist texts) accompanied by the wadaiko (Japanese drum). After the morning traditions are complete, it’s time for a traditional breakfast of rice balls, Japanese pickles and miso soup enjoyed alongside the monks before guests are given the opportunity to wield the bachi (drumsticks) themselves.

4. A Dawn Turtle Release

Every year, turtles come ashore near the beaches of The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun to lay and bury their eggs before returning to the ocean. As part of the property’s Turtle Guardian Program, the eggs are transferred to the nearby Turtle Camp where they stay until hatching about two months later. On the day the babies emerge, guests can assist Turtle Guardian volunteers in releasing the palm-sized hatchlings into the ocean.


5. A Turkish Breakfast on the Bosporus

Acting as a dividing line between the Asian and European sides of Istanbul (the city spans both continents), the Bosporus has been of strategic importance for millenniums and today is a truly special way to experience the city. Guests at The Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul can start their morning with a two-hour guided tour on a private luxury motorboat where they can enjoy a traditional breakfast — cheese, olives, tomatoes and cucumber, honey and clotted cream, simit (sesame bread), tea and Turkish coffee — while taking in views of hundreds of Ottoman-era waterfront houses, landmarks like the Topkapi and Dolmabahce palaces, and even the Hagia Sophia.

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