It”s the hurly learning centre! Babies left screaming in terror as they are swung round head of “baby yoga” guru who claims it is GOOD for them
Frightening images of babies as young as two weeks old being flung around a therapist”s head have shocked millions around the world.
And now the Russian woman filmed spinning the babies by their wrists and ankles has confirmed she hopes to bring the practice to the UK.
Lena Fokina can be seen flipping a baby over her head in her bizarre “baby yoga” routine which has been banned from a number of websites for fear that it glorifies child abuse.
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Terrifying: Despite often leaving babies in tears and in some cases throwing up Lena Fokina hopes to bring her worrying “baby yoga” techniques to the UK
Many viewers believed the moves must have been performed on dolls but the 51-year-old says they are definitely real babies and she has been practising the techniques for the past 30 years.
Lena was tracked down at a seminar called “Parentingthe Deliberate Way” in Dahab, Egypt, where parents from across Europe werepaying her to perform the same moves on their infants, some just months old.
And while most of the babies were left screaming in tearsor vomited during or after their session of “baby dynamics”, Lena insists it isfor their benefit.
The qualified PE teacher, said: “It”s very goodfor babies and not dangerous at all. Some babies cry at first, but they beginto enjoy it.
“Most people think young babies can only lie on a bed,eat, and cry. But babies are born with natural reflexes, which we can use tohelp them develop physically and intellectually.
“I work with parents from across Europe. I hope soonI will be working with a family in England. I think there are a number ofopen-minded parents there whose babies could benefit from my work.”
Bizarre: Even though the babies are clearly uncomfortable as they are swung and flipped by therapist Lena Fokina, she is adamant they enjoy the exercise
Look like dolls: But the 51-year-old says insists they are real babies and says she has been practising the unconventional techniques for the past 30 years
According to Lena, baby yoga was first practiced byancient African tribes – but the modern incarnation was developed by fellowRussian Dr Igor Charkovsky, who was also present at the seminar.
Lena, a mother-of-five and grandmother, does sessionsthat can last up to five minutes, during which babies are spun, swung andflipped, often by a single limb.
The actions are performed on babies from a few weeks oldup to around age two.
Lena added: “The method was originally developed tocure and correct the health of children having muscular or skeletal problemsbut it is also suitable for healthy children.
“The movements are designed toimprove their muscular abilities and development.
“And the children often turn out to be earlyreaders, singers, talkers, swimmers. It also makes their hands stronger. We arehumanists and we don’t do anything wrong.”
At the camp the parents, hailing mainly from Russia andthe Ukraine, also seemed entirely satisfied as they stood by and watched Lenatreat their babies, usually above a gravel floor.
Shocking: There are concerns that the techniques produce “dramatic and unnatural movements” which have been linked to Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS)
Each day at 8am, parents would bring their tots to theMirage Village Hotel in Dahab. Around twenty parents had signed up for Lena’s latest12-day seminar, which costs 255 per family.
Parents smiled and chatted as the infants were left danglingfor long periods by their arms or legs. But in almost every case thebabies began crying just seconds into the bizarre routine.
And another vomited mid-air after undergoing severalminutes of swinging. Yet Lena refused to acknowledge any dangers.
She said: “From the moment of its birth a child cangrasp, step, support itself and swim.
“The Charkovsky method uses these natural reflexes forchild training. The amount of time it takes to train an adult to do it on achild depends on the sensibility of the child’s parent. Sometimes it only takesone training session.”
Therapist: Russian born Lena Franklin said she first started performing “baby yoga” on her children more than 30 years ago
For years, doctors around the world have warned that”dramatic and unnatural movements” inflicted on a young baby can lead to brainbleeding, retinal hemorrhaging and brain swelling – commonly known as Shaken Baby Syndrome(SBS).
And some researchers have suggested that SBS can occur atmuch lower levels of head movement than had been previously thought.
But Lena, who has been practicing baby yoga for more than30 years, tells clients it is harmless even for newborn babies, as long as achild is eased into the movements gradually.
She is also not worried about any strain on the babies”joints and limbs.
She said: “Even a tiny baby’s body can adapt to theprocess easily if you take it gradually.
“As long as the parent or instructor has practiced andstudied the teachings of Dr Charkovsky the child will be fine.
“People tend to get upset when they see it because theyare not aware of children’s real abilities – but these abilities are much widerthan it is traditionally thought.”
The Dahab seminar offered participants the opportunity to “learn the method of Igor Charkovsky and techniques for working with pregnantwomen, newborns and children”.
As well as morning seminars in ‘baby dynamics’ parentswere also instructed in ‘water rebirthing’, which involves repeatedly dunkingchildren”s heads underwater.
The practice is designed to address “repressedtrauma from birth.”
According to literature about the practice on Lena’swebsite, rebirthing “allows the mind and body to gently restructure itself soas to increase the feeling of happiness, efficiency, be healthy and to feel theinner harmony of the individual.”
However, thereseemed to be little of this on display in the children being forced under thewater by Dr Charkovsky, a Russian midwife whose research includes the effectdolphins can have on a mother”s calm during childbirth.
Again, many ended up in tears.
Also on offer at the seminar were more traditionalpursuits such as baby massage, swimming lessons and gymnastics.
Lena has also conducted workshops in Thailand and Indiawhere she has worked on children from all over the world.
She said: “Baby dynamics is quite well known in Russia butup to now all the literature about it has only been in Russian.
“However, it is becoming increasingly popular throughoutthe world and we want to teach parents by bringing our methods to where theylive.
“Although I don’t know anybody practicing in the UK yet Iwill be very proud when I see my methods applied there.”
Lena studied physical education at the University ofPhyscial Culture in Moscow, achieving a Master”s degree.
She later went on to study under Dr Charkovsky.
Now divorced Lena has five children, Alexandra, 30,Tatyana, 27, Timur, 23, Maria, 16 and 13-year-old Pavel.
She is also grandmother to Christian, three, and Petrik,four and it was on her own children that she started refining the worrying methods.
Lena studied physical education at the University of Physical Culture in Moscow, achieving a Master”s degree before taking up her unusual techniques
She said: “I first tried baby dynamics 30 years ago aftermy oldest daughter Alexandra was born. At first I was worried, but then I realised how mychildren enjoyed it and it inspired me.
“People criticise our methods out of ignorance – ifonly they tried to understand what we were doing, they would change theirattitudes. If by doing it I give children an advantage, whywouldn”t I
“I was aware of the practices but it was only later whenI was introduced to Dr Charkovsky that I became a teacher in it. It”s something I am very proud of and have believedin for a very long time.”
Lena lives in Russia but frequently visits Dahab whereher two eldest daughters live. She works full-time giving seminars all over the world,but insists her work is not done for profit.
She said: “What I do is not a commercial project. I earnenough money just to live here and work with children. What I do is not part of my life, it is my life.”
Despite being relatively common in Russia, Lena says sheprefers to hold her seminars in Egypt.
She said: “I love Egypt for many reasons. The climate is favourable with lots of sun and warm sea.
“There’s also good conditions for freediving, yoga andsports and the people here have a good attitude to what I am doing.
“All my children have grown up according to theCharkovsky method and they have all gone on to achieve outstanding results inlife – they are Russian champions in parachuting, freediving and horse riding.
“Now my children are practicing those same methods ontheir own children. It’s the best proof.”