Opinion Brief

Is baby yoga child abuse?

A viral video shows a Russian fitness instructor swinging a newborn to give her a workout. How dangerous is that?

Many new moms turn to yoga to get themselves and their children in shape. But a Russian fitness teacher living in Egypt is trying to push the trend beyond prenatal yoga and mommy-and-me classes. The instructor, Lena Fokina, made a "baby yoga" video that went viral this week showing her swinging a 2-week-old baby by her tiny limbs, even flipping the infant over her head. Is this an innovation that will help parents raise stronger babies, or simply child abuse? (Watch the video below)

This is a form of abuse: This video clip is absolutely "horrifying," says Linda Marsicano at Babble. This "so-called Baby Yoga" looks certain to "dislocate a limb or two!" Fortunately, it seems highly unlikely that "swinging newborns" will catch on in the U.S. — "to me it looks like child abuse."
"Baby Yoga: You have to see this horrifying video! Plus Mommy & Me yoga classes"

It is not as scary as it looks: Lena Fokina "isn't actually hurting the baby," says Sasha Brown-Worsham in The Stir, just swinging her "with highly controlled, almost circus-like motions." This is just a "slightly amped-up version" of workouts many moms do with their newborns." I wouldn't try it, but Fokina's a pro, and she's doing this to help the child, not hurt her.
"Chill out! Baby Yoga with Lena Fokina looks fun"

At least the baby in the video was not hurt: I can't say "whether swinging a barely conscious newborn over your shoulders does more good than harm," says Nathan Thornburgh at Dadwagon. But "we've tracked down the baby in the video, and she seems to be doing just fine." In Russia, some motivated parents see "baby yoga" as a way to give their child a "leg up" — but if you're not a "Slavic Tiger Mother," it might not be for you.
"DadWagon Q&A: Exclusive interview with Baby Yoga's Lena Fokina"

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