…But Not If You’Re
The Rest Of Us

A bizarre video of a Russian woman literally swinging a baby in ways that would rock most mamas’ minds began making the rounds online a few weeks ago. Now, Lena Fokina’s “baby yoga” video has become quite popular…but not for a good reason.

baby holding feet

I usually advocate refraining from judgment when it comes to other mom's parenting choices as well as accepting cultural differences, but in the case of Lena Fokina and her baby yoga moves, judgment is the word of the day. And if it's not judgment, it is concern for sure.

What's the buzz all about?

The buzz is about a video of a woman, Lena Fokina, who is literally swinging a baby around her body, up and down, and back and forth -- in ways that I wouldn't swing my Marc Jacobs handbags. Gawker reports that the translation of the text on the video is, "Baby Yoga with Lena Fokina."

If that's "baby yoga," then most of us moms who have witnessed or participated in a baby yoga class with our wee ones are owed a refund.

Baby yoga or crazy?

I think it's fair to say that most mothers would never dream of doing anything similar to what Lena Fokina does with the infant in her baby yoga video. Most brand new moms are exceptionally careful with their young babies, and even as we become more comfortable over time, we're well aware of concerns such as shaken baby syndrome and those little body parts called joints. Babies are soft and flexible, but most of us aren't willing to find out exactly how soft and flexible.

And while infants who are injured or killed as a result of shaken baby syndrome aren't swung around, but rather shaken, it's safe to say that most moms are too cautious -- or not crazy enough -- to risk it.

Is this form of "baby yoga" safe?

Michele Borboa, M.S., SheKnows Health Editor, notes, "I don't recommend hanging infants upside down for any extended periods of time and especially not while swinging them; swinging by itself runs the risk of dropping an infant on its head and causing long-term brain damage." Basically, common sense should dictate that it's not smart or safe to swing an infant.

If that's not enough, Borboa offers very detailed reasons not to swing your baby to and fro: "Hanging upside down for long periods of time can cause pooling of blood in the lungs, which can lead to pulmonary edema, and the head, which can lead to death -- gravity helps pull blood down to our feet when we are upright but it also pulls blood into the head when the body is upside down, and there are no muscles in the head to help pump the blood upward towards the heart. Another problem is high blood pressure, which can lead to a stroke. Any long-term alteration of the circulatory system can have negative, if not dangerous, long-term effects."

Forget safe. How about respectful?

Just because a baby is a baby doesn't mean his parents -- or other adults -- should use him for their own…I'm not even sure what to call it. Hobby? Agenda? Sport? Babies rely on their parents and other adults who care for them for protection.

Swinging a real, live baby around -- and calling it baby yoga -- in the same manner that my two-year-old daughter swings her dolls when she's being silly is hardly my idea of respecting an infant. Trite as might sound, babies are people and they deserve respect.

And yes, this is real

When I first saw the video, I watched it a handful of times, trying to determine whether it was real. I wasn't the only one. The Internet was buzzing with speculation over whether the Russian baby swinging (or baby yoga) videos were real.

Well, the answer is yes, the baby yoga videos are real. Lena Fokina granted DadWagon an exclusive interview -- her first American interview about baby swinging or baby yoga. The baby yoga video is real and the baby being swung around by Lena Fokina was a two-week old infant that she reports is healthy and advanced now.

When asked whether Americans should try baby yoga at home, Fokina responded, "Americans should be able to do a lot of this themselves, in order to pass something on to their children. An immobile American loses their naturally given reflexes (swimming, reaching, stepping—they have machines that do this for them). That's why, in parallel with their children, the parents learn to do these things: dive, swim, run, jump, bend and much more. Our workshop is called 'family active lifestyle.'"

Do you want my two cents? Don't try this at home.

>>Watch the baby yoga/baby swinging video and then weigh in. Do you think Lena Fokina's form of baby yoga is acceptable?

Read more about real yoga for kids


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Comments on "Baby yoga? Maybe if you’re Lena Fokina"

Sana February 14, 2014 | 12:29 PM

Just out of curiosity, I carefully imitated the same type of swinging moves with a "reborn" doll (this is a hand made and very lifelike doll). Small glass beads are encased and sewn into a heavy nylon pouch inside of the doll's head, which is then placed into the cloth body and meticulously sealed. After several minutes I noticed little glass beads spilling onto the floor. If this happened with a doll, can you imagine what this must do to an infant? I cringe at the thought of it!

Dan February 22, 2013 | 8:21 PM

As a police officer with 17 years experience, if someone did this to a baby in my jurisdiction I would not hesitate to charge them. I think the video is compelling evidence of child abuse, and to my mind it meets the Canadian Criminal Code definition of assault. CAS would definitely be getting involved as well.

sara February 11, 2013 | 12:40 PM

Its been practiced and monitored by some for over 30 years. There are some that do this yoga correctly but sadly there are many who are 'winging' it or not properly instructed. Personally, I would never do this to any child in this manner. But I am not going to be a crazy person saying that this person should be killed for it. All cultures are different. I know it doesn't make it OK and I'm not saying it is OK. I think most of you need to do your research before condemning, thats all.

linda February 11, 2013 | 5:34 AM

something is seriously wrong with this woman and more importantly the person who is videoing it.... baby yoga is about relaxation not being swung around to this extent . will probably cause this poor baby some form of brain damage Also why are these idiots being exposed on the internet will only give some other idiot ideas to do this I am a midwife and feel appalled at what i have witnessed

Eleanor February 10, 2013 | 10:06 PM

She is a full blown idiot !! She should be charged with child abuse. That could cause brain damage. Babies die from baby shaking syndrime.

Anouk January 24, 2011 | 8:57 PM

I just cannot believe someone would do this to a small precious infant... WOW I could not stop screaming at the screen and my husband had to come in and stop the video because I was in so much pain watching this. I would NEVER let anyone do this to my baby or ANY baby in the world if I could. Plain ridiculous... Someone stop her before she kills a baby.

Naomi de la Torre January 23, 2011 | 5:31 AM

This video was painful to watch. I am usually one who does not like to judge others on parenting techniques or things that might be cultural differences, but this just seems downright unsafe to me. I hope I'm not just not educated enough, but I felt sickened when I watched this and it made me scared for those babies.

Lawmommy January 21, 2011 | 5:33 PM

I am completely skeeved out by this. I'm not even sure skeeved is a word...but...this is horrifying.

Laura Willard January 21, 2011 | 2:20 PM

When I first watched it several times, Monica, I was under the impression it was a fake baby. I had my mom watch it with me because we were shocked that a "fake" baby could look so real. Unfortunately, the baby is most definitely real, which makes seeing the video sickening. Thank you for your nice comment!

Monica January 21, 2011 | 1:38 PM

I can't watch it ... maybe make the video not auto play? I love what you say here: "Swinging a real, live baby around -- and calling it baby yoga -- in the same manner that my two-year-old daughter swings her dolls when she’s being silly is hardly my idea of respecting an infant. Trite as might sound, babies are people and they deserve respect." Not trite at all!

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