This Is Russian Swinging Baby Yoga. You Need Answers

Lena Fokina demonstrating baby swinging yoga on a newborn baby. (Screenshot/YouTube)
Lena Fokina demonstrating baby swinging yoga on a newborn baby. (Screenshot/YouTube)

What am I seeing? What is the purpose of the Russian baby throwing? I had so many questions after seeing this. It’s so hard to fathom why this might be a good idea, but I am open to finding out if it has a good reason.

First, watch this video

After investigating, this is what I found.

  1. It is called Russian baby-swinging yoga, or dynamic baby gymnastics. They start them as new born infants, some only two weeks old.
  2. It’s popular with Russian and Eastern European hippies.
  3. The older babies seem to be fine with it, as they are probably used to it. But the newborn babies are often heard crying.
  4. It’s not an ancient tradition, it only started 30 years ago.
  5. The man who dreamed this up is Russian yoga teacher Igor Borisovich Charkovsky. There is a specific method to this, to make it safe. Parents are taught how to do it themselves.
  6. It is not safe, it is considered child abuse.
  7. They say it’s good for their babies’ health.
  8. They don’t always do it in the snow naked. They like to do it at beaches, standing over gravel roads, and in living rooms surrounded by TVs and other sharped-edged furniture.
Lena Fokina swinging a newborn baby around in a class teaching parents the controversial technique. (Screenshot/YouTube)

Lena Fokina swinging a newborn baby around in a class teaching parents the controversial technique. (Screenshot/YouTube)

Why?

The woman who made this whole baby-swinging thing famous is Lena Fokina, after the self-proclaimed baby rearing expert’s first video went viral. It was taken off American YouTube because it was in violation of the “shocking and disgusting” content policy. In the video she flung a two-week old baby girl up in the air, over her head, around and around, by her hands and feet.

She doesn’t understand why we find baby-swinging yoga so shocking.

We don’t understand why this would be necessary and how it could be of any benefit, or how the mother didn’t die of a heart attack.

“Life invented it; it was conveyed to us by the teacher and author of all these ideas, Igor Borisovich Charkovsky… over the last 30 years, Charkovsky’s system has lived in Russia and has spread from there. Not everyone accepts it,” Fokina said in an interview.

No. Not only do people not accept this, it is condemned by pediatricians as extremely unsafe, with the potential to cause fatal injuries. Fokina is seen in multiple YouTube videos using extreme swinging moves on babies as young as two weeks old. The videos seem endless (who isn’t holding their breath?)

Below is a video showing Fokina demonstrating baby swinging yoga in Egypt, where she used to run her baby business. Later in the clip you see Charkovsky pushing a newborn baby’s head under water repeatedly, basically water-boarding a baby. Well, OK, swimming babies is old news. (This is the video featured at the top).

Next up—Fokina’s class on the beach in Egypt, before she became such a controversy. Fokina went home to Russia around 2012 because of the revolution. She was the guest on a mainstream talk show there, but was ripped into by pediatricians and grandmas from across Russia, and brought to tears. Charkovsky initially invented this as a treatment for babies with muscular and skeletal problems. I couldn’t find anything on the internet about him in English except what Fokina had said.

This next video show a father in China apparently preparing his baby boy for Shaolin monk training. He started with his baby when it was eight months old. The baby seems perfectly relaxed and happy. It seems rather dangerous to be doing this over concrete though, no matter how confident and skilled the father may be.

Russian dad swinging his chubby little guy around. I’m getting used to this.

Lucky last one—this baby girl looks about four or five months old at the beginning. She’s obviously very strong, but is it necessary to make her hang from so high? What if she let go?

My conclusions:

  • This is just extreme.
  • Baby swingers apparently don’t worry about such things as letting go and g-force.
  • Now I know how the Russians are so good at gymnastics.
  • I bet the older toddlers love it, and we’ll no doubt be seeing them at the Olympics one day soon.

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