I can balance body as well as I can balance my checkbook. My husband can vouch for me when I say that it isn’t one of my strengths (and he’s just so darn good with all of those numbers). As a softball-playing athlete in my youth, I always heavily relied on my strength and my hand-eye coordination. Balance was never a priority, so it was never something I developed—yoga being the furthest type of workout from my mind.

Arguably, I’m more balanced after a couple of drinks. Perhaps the key is less anxiety? Regardless, a solid pint or two always proves to be good for the soul as far as I’m concerned. But what happens when you volunteer to mix an hour yoga session with a quality brew? Ideally, you would expect to achieve a sense of ultra balance, right? Wrong. I was nervous.

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I’ve never walked into an brew house with anxiety, but entering Hop Mistress Society’s Balance + Brew at Native Son Alehouse in Santa Ana made this a first for me. I never…yogi-ed…before, and the bar patrons looked at me with eyes asking if I was lost while I so apprehensively gripped onto my hot pink yoga mat. “Oy vey, I’m in some trouble,” I sighed as I walked outside to claim my spot.

As I was selecting my center for the next hour, Chef Andrea Machuca and Yulia Kulakova from Khilana Yoga came to greet me. Neither of them scoffed at my lack of experience in the yogarian arts, so we’re off to a great start! Andrea hands me a fresh Blood Orange and Thai Mango juice, Yulia offers me some citrus essential oil, then the “hard work” begins.

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Child pose, mountain, warrior one, camel—I became so many different objects and animals throughout the night that I can’t even begin to come close to remembering them all. I also don’t know if I spent more time in balance or realigning my balance, but I did spend the entire time relaxing and, dare I say—enjoying myself. My mind was completely taken from the hustles and bustles of daily life, and consumed with that moment. The only things that mattered were my balance, my breath, and the beer I was getting afterward. After an hour session and a brief meditation, I realized that I had misjudged yoga. I knew that sitting would be a struggle for the next few days, but I also knew this is something I should incorporate more in my life.

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After our wonderful yoga session, Yulia had a table of jewelry available for purchase and also offered to give henna tattoos to all those wanting even more enlightenment.

The group is then offered a delicious vegan snack to nourish our stomachs as well as our souls. Chef Andrea Machuca serves us Coconut Chia Pudding consisting of coconut milk, chia seeds, hemp granola, blackberries, dehydrated strawberries, and a single mint leaf. She mentions that this dish is easy to make the night before and it thickens over night. This vegan treat is not only nutritious but is surprisingly the perfect amount of filling for a post-workout bite. I wash it down with a tasty Belching Beaver Peanut Butter Stout. A stout is a great way to warm yourself on a chilly night after all.

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You might be asking yourself, why did Hop Mistress create this event, and will there be more Balance + Brews? Chef Andrea nostalgically mentions, “I was friends with Yulia for quite some time, but we fell out of contact. We ended up reuniting and practicing yoga together at the park or the beach, and we noticed that Los Angeles and San Diego were holding yoga and beer events. Orange County wasn’t doing that. We wanted to get it started here. We’re hoping to do this on Saturday mornings—it’s going to be really great!”

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If you are wondering who the Hop Mistress Society is—that’s a loaded question. They are a bunch of badass beer enthusiasts who can run with the boys. That’s right, women thriving in a “man’s world.” These are lady brewers, industry professionals, and beer experts who regularly meet and hold events to change the status quo within the brewing world. If you are reading this on the edge of your seat—they invite you to become part of their movement and to raise your glass with them. Cheers to that!

Hop Mistress Society

facebook.com/hopmistresssociety

Photos: Jessica Rice McNew of Beer+ Brewing


Jessie Dax-Setkus


Jessie Dax-Setkus has 5 post(s) on Fullerton Foundry