Lena Fokina’s Baby Yoga (VIDEO)

January 20, 2011 |  by  |  Lifestyle, Sports
(11 votes, average: 4.73 out of 5)

A controversial Russian video is making its rounds on the internet and depicts some very disturbing baby yoga moves–or what looks more like a woman flinging her infant around like a ragdoll.

Check out the baby yoga video featuring Lena Fokina after the jump!

Baby Yoga: Safe for Baby?

Not sure what you do with your baby, but if I had one, I certainly wouldn’t do the baby yoga moves as depicted in the video below. Let me start with a disclaimer. I do not speak Russian, so if anyone out there can enlighten us on what is going on in the video (or the linked site), please feel free. Also, I’m sure there are healthy and safe baby yoga practices out there, but the video below does not seem to show any of them.

Who is Lena Fokina?

Lena Fokina is the baby-flinging Russian woman in the video who claims this so-called baby yoga is actually beneficial to an infant’s health, both physically and mentally. Really?? Is she a pediatrician? A medical professional of any kind? No and no. I can’t help but think about the possibility of your hand slipping mid-swing.

Many of you have wondered if the baby yoga video is fake and surprisingly enough, it apparently is real. Writer Nathan Thornburgh, who visits Russia regularly and is a bit of an expert on the subject, interviewed Lena Fokina. He wrote about it on his website, DadWagon:

I have found a Russian obsession with physical hardiness that goes far beyond pictures of Putin fishing topless. I remember going with my brother to a Soviet sanatorium—what they used to call their spa-resorts—in 1990 and finding that the main treatment there was standing in a stainless steel room while a technician sprayed us with what felt like a fire hose…

But “baby yoga,” and its corollary, dunking-a-newborn-in-the-ocean, is not just another act of toughening. The more I looked into it, the more I realized that in a certain milieu of alterna-Russians, the parents who do this are sort of like Slavic Tiger Mothers: hyperinvolved parents who want to give their child a leg up in life.

That’s, well, different.

Are we uncomfortable with this sort of thing because it’s actually harmful or just because we don’t practice “baby yoga” like this in the United States? Any doctors out there want to weigh in?

Watch the Baby Yoga Video:

Here’s the baby yoga video so you can decide for yourself. Tell us what you think below!

Safer Approaches to Lena Fokina’s Baby Yoga

SheKnows Health Editor, Michele Borboa, MS weighed in on the matter:

“We are born to walk upright and not to hang upside down as the norm. Even athletes who do upside down stunts, such as gymnasts, do not hang upside down for long periods of time. 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. 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.”

As an alternative to Lena Fokina’s extreme approach to baby yoga, here’s what our SheKnows Parenting Team recommends:

Your baby’s health & development: What is normal? >>

5 Fitness tips for new moms (including baby yoga) >>


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  1. i cant get over how awful that music is.

  2. trying to distract you from what’s going on in the vid!

  3. Oh this is horrifying. It looks like one of those baby’s limbs is going to rip right off!

  4. I agree – this looks very hazardous to a baby’s health. And I mean, why would you even risk it?!

  5. At my yoga studio there are so many people too uncoordinated to manage yoga on their own, much less be responsible for another human being being flipped every which way with no say in the matter. I can’t imagine a doctor would advocate this.

  6. I think she that woman should be imprisoned after she gets slung around.

  7. This lady was REALLY rough. IF she took it down about 10 notches and was way more gentle I could see the benefits.

  8. Eessh… this makes me cringe. I did baby yoga with my first child and it was nothing like this.

  9. I did yoga with all three of my kids when they were very young – mostly toddler age. It was very slow movements, very concentrated and much different than this. I recommend it to other moms and I know there are lots of safe and reputable fitness and yoga centers that show moms the proper way to incorporate baby into exercise. This lady is NOT one of them.

  10. Um. Um. I found it very disturbing. I couldn’t watch it all.

    She is obviously practiced so none of her ‘swings’ were jerky enough to cause shaken baby, but I suspect anyone else who is trying this would be very jerky and a brain injury could be highly likely. Keeping on the subject of jerkiness, the average person would also be likely to dislocate a limb or twist it and break it.

    There is such a thing as baby yoga, but it’s more about slow gentle massage. Besides, when I think of yoga, I think of slow movements that are held for periods of time. I dont think of rapid movements. No matter what this is, its not yoga.

  11. Hopefully that text in Russian at the bottom says: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!

  12. This seems more like child abuse then it is helpful in anyway.

  13. OMG!!! I was freaking out watching that video! I thought she was going to drop the baby or pull the arms out of their sockets!! I don’t think that is appropriate and for heaven sakes, put some clothes on that child!!!

  14. Un-F-ing-believable. This is horrible beyond belief!!! After all the swinging, she tried to walk the baby like she did in the beginning and sure enough it was unable to walk! A little dizzy, maybe?

  15. All I can say is wow,,this is just so hard to watch. I cldn’t finish it all either. Is this her child? If not how cld any mother or father watch this woman toss their baby around like a toddler with a babydoll? If a parent wld allow this to happen to their newborn, I can only imagine the type of childhood this poor baby is gonna have.

  16. I could not even watch the whole video!!! My God what is wrong with this woman not to know the brain damage she could possibly cause that poor child…Please do follow up story and tell us she was arrested and sent to jail for this!!!!

  17. it surely looks like child abuse to me. If that was done in this country you can bet child protective services would step in.

  18. what kinda of person would let someone do that to their baby. Hasen’t she ever heard of shaken baby syndrome?

  19. This is so awesome, someone giving their baby a serious leg up from the beginning!! I have seen other kids that have gone through this treatment and their balance is incredible, they walk earlier than other babies, and their spatial abilities are super! Of course if YOU did baby yoga ONLY your way could be the best and safest and the most super duper because you are all soooo smart and know more than anyone else on earth what is best!!! You disgust me, look at the results! Talk to people who have gone to Lena!

    I love the ignorant comments that suggest she is shaking the babies!!! SOOOO funny, I watched the video and there is NO shaking going on… uuhhhh, mindless robotic humans that can’t have a thought of their own if it is not blessed by the AMA or other similar crap.

  20. Maria, I hear what you’re saying about Lena having good intentions, but swinging the baby around her back? I mean, that really seems unnecessary. If one was well trained and aware of a baby’s limitations at that young age then fine – I see how certain concentrated movements could be helpful, however I agree with many of the people above in that this demonstration is just too risky and extreme.

  21. First off, where the eff is the babies parents, second why hasnt this idiot been arrested or why hasnt someone tossed her around like a ragdoll.

    Im honestly sick to my stomache, just disgusted.

    This nut case belongs in jail!!!

  22. … AND i was just being nice on my last comment!

  23. Are you kidding me? This woman needs to be restrained. Those poor infants! Should have a disclosure of “do not try this at home”!!

  24. You are soooo sadly blinded! The poor infants that have parents that won’t allow something healthy like this! It may be outside the “accepted” norm, but that is garbage to say she needs to be restrained because you are a closed minded idiot that can’t have a rational thought.

    Do this…BE RATIONAL

    You disgust me, look at the results! Talk to people who have gone to Lena!

    Did you talk to the babies!? ZIP IT

  25. Someone’s going to end up hurt.

  26. Maria ams troll.

  27. I, for one, do find the video to be quite disturbing (and secretly hilarious), but to go as far as saying she needs to be institutionalized? Lena Fokina has the best intentions when she’s swinging these babies like Indiana Jones does his whip. Clearly from the video, Platona Goryun, 2 weeks old at the time, is not crying during the whole process and so evidently, no harm is being done to the child. Coming from the results shown in other infants that have been swung, maybe baby yoga is actually benefitial when it comes to the development process of a newborn.

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