Disturbing video on facebook is not ‘baby yoga’

Francoise Freedman
Written by Francoise Freedman

Here is an article from Birthlight in response to that awful video:

Dear all Birthlight teachers around the world,

I picked up a Metro  free newspaper on the tube on my way to Heathrow airport this morning and found a piece by Laura Elvin entitled ‘Facebook: “Cruelty” video is Baby Yoga’. The article explains how Facebook is refusing to remove a two minute clip showing ‘a naked newborn baby being flung around by the head’, as a ‘chatting woman’?? dunks the screaming infant in a bucket of water, using its tiny stretched arms. The article uses many alarm bells reporting shock and aimed at shocking: the baby is hung upside down while screaming loudly, is shaken back and forth, then goes quiet and ‘floppy’ while the woman continues to swing ‘it’ around in the water as she ‘twists its little limbs’.

As I read I can feel the baby screaming. The words take me right back to the training I refused to submit my baby to with Igor Tjarkovsky in London in 1982.  Tarkovsky is the instigator of a method of Baby Gymnastics and extreme water training that has recently dubbed itself as ‘Baby Yoga’ as Yoga has gained popularity in Russia in the last decade.

The Indonesia-based video was reported to Facebook staff in Britain on the grounds of both ‘graphic violence and nudity’ but the Facebook moderator for the UK said that the clip did not violate standards policy on the grounds that ‘it depicts a form of baby yoga. This is an unacceptable stretching of the term ‘Baby Yoga’ and no one associated with Birthlight can endorse this justification by Facebook. It is time to protest on behalf of the babies out there as the video is gaining shares.

Metro offers a pixellated screen shot from the video with the title ‘sick’ and quotes the words of Lurleen Hilliard, the founder of Nolonger Victims, a global charity campaigning against abuse, who issued the dramatic statement “I think we’ve literally watched a baby being murdered’. What will readers remember? an association of Baby Yoga with utmost barbaric cruelty and baby abuse. As the world initiator of the label Baby Yoga in 1996, I could have, perhaps should have, trademarked it as a hallmark of the gentle and safe movements we promote to enhance babies’ enjoyment of close interaction with parents or main carers. But I did not because yoga does not belong to anyone.

Birthlight Baby Yoga follow babies’ own pace of development to their delight. Should a baby cry, the immediate response is to cuddle and soothe him/her.   Observing baby cues is part of the respect for babies as little persons who show us when they are ready to play and when not. The forceful conditioning of babies inspired by Tjarkovsky on land and in water is abhorrent to Birthlight.

If you have suggestions of how we can disassociate Baby Yoga from this and other video clips that show practices amounting to baby abuse, please send your post to sylvie@birthlight.com.

Françoise Freedman
Founder of Birthlight