Meet: Eve Holbrook

Eve Holbrook’s thespian genes (she’s Hal’s daughter and her maternal grandfather, Robert Rossen, directed Paul Newman in The Hustler) were guiding her before 9/11. In the days following the terrorist attacks, she took stock of her life and realized that her profession often felt like an empty enterprise.

These days, the native New Yorker can be found leading Iyengar yoga classes and retreats. Mixing her two traditions – yoga and acting – has made her better at both. YogaCity NYC’s Sharon Watts sat down recently to find out all about Eve.

Sharon Watts: How did you get into back care yoga?

Eve Holbrook: As a teenager, I herniated several of the discs in my lower back in a horseback riding accident, which led to chronic pain and crippling sciatica. In my early twenties, as part of my training at The Old Globe, I began taking yoga classes three times a week. I felt better immediately. As I learned to work with my back through Iyengar yoga, the sciatic episodes became less frequent and eventually went away completely.

SW: Why Iyengar? It is a tough tradition.

EH: Our classes were taught by the wonderful Gerhard Gessner, who co-founded the Prana Yoga Center in San Diego. Sometimes the late Will Robertson, an Iyengar teacher, stepped in as a substitute. The detail and precision of Will's instructions captured my imagination and made the poses more accessible for me. He articulated effective ways to lengthen my spine and create space between the herniated discs so the related nerves were not impinged.

SW: Did you stick with Iyengar?

EH: I fell in love with Ashtanga after acting school and started studying with Guy Donahaye at Ashtanga Yoga Shala. Practicing the primary series in the dark hours of the morning was supremely beautiful and profound; but after a couple of months my back was hurting again.