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