• Richard Hittleman: The 1960’s One-Man Yoga Movement, BLOG, MARCH 2013

    Posted in Blog by Eric Shaw

    Yoga for Life — Richard Hittleman



    Before there was Rod Stryker Ana Forrest or Shiva Rea, there was Richard Hittleman (1927 – 1991).

    At age 22, he studied the written works of Ramana Maharshi after learning some yoga  basics from a Hindu maintenance man who helped his parents at a Catskill retreat called “Utopia.”

    In 1961, he had the first yoga TV show, Yoga For Health, aired in LA, and his vast success in booksales began the next year—and continues to this day—with 8 million editions sold.

    In 1962 he kicked it off with Be Young with Yoga, putting out 4 more books before ’62 was done. He went on to complete 24 of them (listed below) before a sudden death in Santa Cruz, California at age 64.

    Though he knew the subtler practices, Hittleman physicalized yoga for his audience while adding tips on holistic living.  Ultimately, he published philosophical texts, too, such as Yoga: 8 Steps to Health and Peace (1976).

    Hip dude, he hung out with Alan Watts, aired his TV show in Britain,  and ran yoga studios above Grand Central Station and in Coral Gables, Florida. He even evolved his own Yoga Universal Church in Rapid City, South Dakota in 1977—which just gave him tax troubles—which some people say contributed to his early death.

    I’ve completed what I think is a thorough bibliography of the man.

    Through these titles, you’ll touch yoga’s burgeoning wave of popularity in the wide-open 60s and ’70s:


    By Richard Hittleman:

    1. Be Young with Yoga, 1962

    2. Richard Hittleman’s Yoga for Health, Posture, Book Two, 1962

    3. Richard Hittleman’s Yoga for Health: Principles and Exercises, 1962

    4. Richard Hittleman’s Yoga for Health: Principles of Nutrition, 1962

    5. Yoga at Home, 1962

    6. Yoga for Physical Fitness, 1964

    7. Yoga, Philosophy and Meditation, 1964

    8. Yoga for Special Problems, 1967

    9. The Yoga Way, 1968

    10. Yoga U.S.A: The Unique Exercise System 10 million Americans Believe, 1968

    11. Richard Hittlemans’s Yoga 28-Day Exercise Plan, 1969

    12. Richard Hittleman’s Introduction to Yoga, 1969

    13. Richard Hittleman’s Guide to Yoga Meditation, 1969

    14. Richard Hittleman’s Yoga Natural Foods Cookbook, 1970

    15. The Yoga Way to Figure and Facial Beauty, 1970

    16. Weight Control Through Yoga, 1971

    17. Yoga for Personal Living, 1972

    18. Yoga:  8 Steps to Health and Peace, 1976

    19. Richard Hittleman’s 30-Day Yoga Meditation Plan, 1978

    20. Richard Hittleman’s Guide for the Seeker, 1978

    21. Richard Hittleman’s Yoga for Total Fitness, 1982

    22. Yoga for Total Fitness, 1983

    23. Yoga For Health, 1985

    24. Richard Hittleman’s Yoga, nd



    Richard Hittleman’s Yoga Video Course, 1986



    Yoga for Life, Second Exercise Album—Double-LP, 1961

    Yoga Meditation 1964

    Yoga for Health, Second Exercise Album—Double-LP, nd




  • 5 Responses to "Richard Hittleman: The 1960’s One-Man Yoga Movement, BLOG, MARCH 2013"

    1. Daniel Miller May 8, 2017 17:34 pm

      I don’t think Richard Hittleman ever met Ramana Maharshi in person, but he was a student of Bhagavan’s teachings. I think Hittleman may have corresponded with Ramana by mail, but I am not sure.
      I seem to recall reading that Hittleman studied with Indira Devi, but I don’t know when or for how long.
      I wasn’t aware that he died suddenly. He had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, but I don’t know the particular circumstances with respect to his death.
      In a lecture not long before he died, Hittleman remarked with a smile that he had no fear of death: “Indeed I’m looking forward to it,” I believe were his words. Spoken like a true yogi.
      Hittleman’s yoga instruction is far more accessible (IMO) than much of the yoga material today. Plus, he really understood how the 8 limbs of yoga are related and how they are all directed towards the one goal of Union.
      I am thankful for Richard Hittleman’s teachings. They have enriched my life beyond measure.

    2. michael camenzuli chetcuti August 11, 2017 10:08 am

      I was lent the ‘Be Young with Yoga’ book when living in Malta in the 90s from a well known celebrated writer. Within days of week one practice I knew that this would be life changing for me, as it certainly turned to be. Unfortunately, materialism and self concern made me stray from the book, but have many times returned to it with the same wonderful results. I have recently, at 76 years of age decided to practice and study it with more dedication, although some of the techniques are much more difficult to do, especially the ‘Backward Bend’.

      Friday 11th August 2017

    3. Charles in Florida August 11, 2017 11:03 am

      Thank you for the thorough bibliography and filmography. I stumbled upon Richard’s TV program from 1961 on KTTV Los Angeles while rummaging around YouTube. I was astounded to find a TV program on Yoga was being broadcast that early…. where else could that happen but in California. 🙂 I would appreciate any information on his sidekick during those years, Diane Stuart. What a lovely woman! These people were all ahead of their time. I don’t think Diane appeared on his later videos, which feature other female assistants. I can’t find anything about her online. Perhaps she married and changed her name? One of the many forgotten pioneers, alas. Thank you again.

    4. susie r wood August 14, 2017 11:44 am

      I just ordered Richard Hittleman’s 28 day Yoga Plan….I was introduced to his work in the 60’s, practiced on and off (more off) during the decades until recently, I have practiced regularly for the last six years.
      I recall the peaceful way my days went when I used his yoga exercise plan in the mornings before work. Thank you.

    5. Keith Williams August 16, 2017 22:55 pm

      Richard Hittleman was also my inspiration. In 1965, I was given his book, ‘Be Young with Yoga,’ by a college friend. Having had far less inspiring books, I found this one to be a revelation. I was hooked.
      Like many others, I have strayed from Yoga a number of times, but always returned to the practice. Now, at age 74, I have made a vow to renew my practice using Hittleman’s book as a guide.

      As has been mentioned, his teachings were far more informed and accessible than most before or after him. A great teacher and a good man.

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