'Baby yoga' proponent back with another worrying video
Lena Fokina, Lena Fokina yoga, baby yoga
Angela Mulholland, CTVNews.ca
Published Monday, March 5, 2012 12:23PM EST
Lena Fokina is back. The Russian woman known for the infamous "baby yoga" video that showed her recklessly swinging tiny infants around, is back with a new video that is sure to cause just as much outrage as her first.
In early 2011, the video of Fokina swinging and twirling a naked two-week-old baby shocked a normally jaded video-watching world. She calmly dangled the infants from one arm, or held them upside down from the legs while swinging them around her head.
Many questioned whether the video was even real or if the babies might actually be dolls -- because really, no one would be foolish enough to swing a real, live baby around their head, right?
But real it was. Fokina insists "baby yoga" is beneficial to the children, strengthens their joints, and can be very relaxing for them. But the video so horrified and disgusted viewers that YouTube took the clip down off its site, citing a violation of their policy on "shocking and disgusting content."
Fokina has remained unrepentant, insisting that she's been practising "baby yoga" for more than 30 years including on her own five children, and can't recall ever hurting any child.
Critics, of course, say it's all highly dangerous.
Tossing your baby lightly in the air to make her giggle is one thing, they say; risking brain damage and "shaken baby syndrome" by swinging them around like a bag of potatoes is another. And of course, let's not even think about what might happen if the parent should happen to lose their grip.
But Fokina is back, swinging infants again and granting a short interview in a new video by British media company Barcroft TV. In the video, uploaded last week, the 51-year-old yoga guru is seen teaching fellow parents her brand of baby yoga in Dahab, Egypt.
Mothers are shown willingly handing their infants over to Fokina so she can swing them around, and then giving the practice a try themselves.
While Fokina demonstrates the technique over the sound of a new age music soundtrack, the babies can be heard crying out – not crying like they're in extreme pain, perhaps, but crying like they want nothing more than for the whole thing to be over.
"I think this is the best thing I can do to improve my child's health," an earnest-looking mother tells Barcroft TV in the clip.
Fokina has insisted in interviews that while some babies might cry at first, they quickly get used to it and learn to enjoy the practice. She also says baby yoga helps infants develop faster than others.
"They are early readers, singers, talkers, swimmers. You haven't seen anything like it anywhere!" she told DadWagon.com in an interview last year.
Fokina is now living full time in Dahab, teaching courses to parents – not just on baby yoga, but yoga for children of all ages, as well as something she calls "extreme developmental gymnastics," freediving, and another controversial practice: rebirthing.
Fokina appears aware that many don't approve of what she does, but she says she simply doesn't listen to naysayers.
"If I have critics over the Internet, I will not read it. I don't have time," she says.
Warning: Some viewers may might this video disturbing