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Controversial swinging baby classes - this is not baby yoga!

Many of you may have seen and been rightly horrified by the recent youtube video  showing Lena Fokina swinging screaming babies by their legs. She calls it 'dynamic baby gymnastics'.

This is NOT Baby Yoga!  this is dangerous, violent, harmful and totally against what babies need...  Igor Tjarkovsky, the Russian pioneer of brutal baby water training, developed these extreme and unsafe practices that have been known for some years as Russian Baby Gymnastics.  Due to the growing popularity of baby massage and baby yoga in Russia through our Birthlight training centre in Moscow, Tjarkovsky's followers have started dubbing his practices as Baby Yoga. Sheila Kitzinger called Tjarkovsky 'the apostle of pain' after seeing him in action in a London pool in 1982. I was there with my baby, and his horrific treatment of babies motivated me to start developing the Birthlight practices now acclaimed all over the world. These are not shock tactics but contagious delight of interacting babies and parents with movements that truly support babies' development without violence.

Medical Anthropologist Dr. Françoise Freedman’s deep understanding of pregnancy, birth and parenting, her multidisciplinary approach of combining indigenous knowledge about reproduction, parenthood and the yogic wisdom of the ancient sages with up to date scientific research makes the Birthlight Baby Yoga (BBY) approach unique. Eminent obstetricians Dr. Gowri Motha (the best-kept secret of the supermodels), Dr. Amali Lokugamage (author of ‘heart in the womb’), Dr. Michel Odent (pioneer of waterbirth and gentle birthing)  as well as or midwives trained in this approach endorse, recommend and/or use the BBY practices. Tried and tested for over 25 years to not only  prevent common ailments in infants and newborn mothers from colic to postnatal depression but also to address these conditions, BBY also aids bonding and teaches practices, that are fun and enhance early parent-infant communication. This gentle parenting uses ancient moves and holds as observed and learnt among Amazonian forest people  as well as rhythmical stretches transmitted through generations of mothers in India for centuries.

Over the last twelve years Birthlight has trained more than 2000 certified teachers in Baby Yoga, counting with highly qualified trainers such as  Sally Lomas, Liz Doherty, Ingrid Lewis and  Marion O'Connor.  With a first video out in 1997 and the first Baby Yoga book in 2000 (Gaia Books), Birthlight has distinguished itself as the pioneer of Baby Yoga not only in Britain but now worldwide with Birthlight centres in Zurich, Moscow, Singapore, Sydney, Taiwan and we have successfully trained teachers in many other countries where we have active partners. Most of the other successful Baby Yoga providers have been trained by birthlight and these practices have brought delight and harmony to families far and wide.  BBY has elicited eloquent testimonies from health professionals and new mums from all walks of life and all origins, contributing the current popularity of our original moves. Birthlight is a small UK registered charity that has grown organically, through word of mouth marketing in community circles.  One parent-baby pair at a time, Baby Yoga contributes to create a better world for our children.

Françoise Freedman
Founder of Birthlight

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