Richard Hittleman’s Yoga 28 Day Exercise Plan

Today I reached the halfway point of Richard Hittleman’s Yoga 28 Day Exercise Plan. 14 days down, 14 more to go. This book is from the yoga pioneer who brought Hatha Yoga to the masses via TV in the 1960s and 1970s. I’m using the original hardcover version (shown in these pictures), but a newer paperback version is also available. Richard Hittleman photo As she mentioned in her review of Richard Hittleman’s Yoga for Health, Hittleman’s televised programs were how my mom, Lee, began to practice yoga in the first place. She’s our resident expert here at HathaYoga.com, and she still refers to his work in her current practice and teaching. I see that it continues to benefit her in numerous ways. So, I thought I should look more deeply into his approach to Hatha Yoga.

Standing the test of time

The book “Richard Hittleman’s Yoga 28 Day Exercise Plan” was first published in 1969. It does make occasional references to a 1960’s woman’s lifestyle which are a bit outdated. However the practice plan and the yoga poses (asanas) themselves remain timeless. Richard Hittleman's Yoga 28 Day Plan cover The foreword to the book promises that practically anyone, regardless of age or physical condition, will benefit from diligently following this 28 day plan.It also contains important pointers on preparing for your practice. An example is the wise suggestion to wait at least 90 minutes after eating before practicing. After performing the abdominal lifts a couple of times, it becomes obvious why!

The asanas

Each day presents a series of asanas with photos and a brief, specific explanation of how to perform each pose. Subsequent days have a combination of new and/or advance positions combined with poses learned on previous days. Richard Hittleman's Yoga write in hold times I am finding the pace of Richard Hittleman’s Yoga 28 day plan to be a good speed for learning. It starts off with beginner poses and stretches. The level of difficulty increases as the days advance. There are often reminders to not go beyond one’s abilities, and to never strain. If an advance position is too challenging, he suggests referring back to an earlier version of the pose.

Speaking of referring back to earlier poses, this is one thing that some might find a little cumbersome. In Richard Hittleman’s Yoga 28 day plan, as the days progress, the student is instructed to perform a pose learned on a previous page. The new day’s instruction might show a single photo of the final position of the asana.

Richard Hittleman Yoga leg over

However, you’re not getting the full recount. For someone very new to Hatha Yoga, this means you’ll have to bookmark your current page and go back to the pages referred to, and then back again to you bookmarked page.

Richard Hittleman's Yoga refer to previous pages Even if you learned how to perform an asana on a previous day, it’s not always easy to remember exactly how long to hold the pose. So, it might take a little extra patience when needing to refer back. I guess you can chalk that up to yoga’s whole learning process. Patience is a worthwhile thing to practice!

Progress

The good thing is, you’ll likely have to look back less frequently as the days progress. But it would be beneficial to check back occasionally to be sure you’re not missing any steps, and see that you’re performing them correctly. Richard Hittleman's Yoga day one I would imagine that having to reprint the instructions every time a pose was repeated would make for a very large book. So, I understand why it was structured this way. Still, I as I follow along I am reminded how much easier it is to follow a video as opposed to a book.I’ve seen compilations of Richard Hittleman’s Yoga for Health TV program, but they are quite costly.

Richard Hittleman’s yoga practice plan

Most days include an additional practice plan reviewing the poses of the day. Here the student is often instructed to repeat the most advance position of each position performed that day.Richard Hittleman Yoga practice plan Each day’s practice runs anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, depending upon a couple of factors. Some of the shorter days are to allow your body to “reset”, as Hittleman puts it. A practice session could take a bit more time if you are new to a pose, or simply if you’d like to rest longer between poses. I find this is actually a surprise benefit of following along with a book as opposed to a video. You can go at your own pace.

Thoughts for the day

At the end of each practice, there is a page titled “thoughts for the day”. One day Hittleman might discuss how to approach your physical practice for maximum benefit. Another day he might talk about how to relieve tension. He also touches upon how one should eat for sustained energy. It sounds like he’ll go further into that in the second half of the book. More on that when I complete the 28 day program, so stay tuned!  Richard Hittleman Yoga thoughts for the day

I’m looking forward to the second half of Richard Hittleman’s Yoga 28 day exercise plan. Hopefully I’ll find that his teachings will have as positive of an impact on me as they have had on my Mom!

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12 thoughts on “Richard Hittleman’s Yoga 28 Day Exercise Plan

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  3. I’ve had this book since the early 70s and have completed the entire plan several times. Unfortunately, I did not continue to keep up with the maintenance exercises. I decided to begin the plan again to attain a fitness level that will allow me to work on my feet. The plan does work and you gradually feel your balance and muscles turn to steel :)

    • Hi Wilma, so many people who are familiar with the plan swear by it. So happy to hear it’s working for you once again! Keep up the good work! :)
      ~Maria

  4. 8years ago in june? I started with the 28 days … It felt great to do en kept it up even though I got symtoms, later where diagnosed. It was Cancer. a tumor and spreadings of so incurable? Chemo forsed me to stop. In time it went and came 4 times, and I tryed to start again with yoga. So this is the 7th day of the fourth time trying. Felt like I need it too. I feel the positive as my muscles are still leaner

    • Hi Lina, I am so glad you are finding the program helpful and healing. I think that is a wonderful thing you are doing for yourself. Keep up the great work. Wishing you all the best.

      Namaste.

      ~Maria

  5. A friend lent me this book about 20 years ago. I have been doing the routines ever since.
    My friend lent it to me because I had mentioned that my hip hurt when I walked. I was afraid of inherited arthritis. I’ve been doing the rotating routines ever since. I had to add weight exercises and some cardio, but I’m still using this book at 70.

    I can still remember the first day I noticed my hip didn’t hurt. It still doesn’t.

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