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Is 'Swinging Baby' Video Anything to Cry About?

Nathan Thornburgh, a DadWagon reporter who also writes about Russia for Time magazine, last week pulled back the curtains to reveal the woman behind "Baby Yoga with Lena Fokina," a video-gone-viral that initially was widely regarded as a hoax and that was later pulled from YouTube, which deemed it too disturbing even for its seasoned, seen-it-all viewers.

In the DadWagon interview, Fokina explains the rationale for what Thornburgh describes as a "lariat-like twirling of a tiny infant" -- a practice that some online commenters have derided with terms such as "wacked" and "batsh*t crazy."

Asked one such commenter: "Is russian society so lax in protecting its children that they don't track down and prosecute this woman for child endangerment and neglect?" Instead, it seems that quite the opposite has occurred. In answer to Thornburgh's question as to whether Fokina has "had any legal problems" due to her practices, which she calls "dynamic gymnastics," Fokina says, "I never have. I love people."

Fokina's baby exercises apparently stem from the beliefs of one Igor Charkovsky, who has long espoused childbirth practices and child-rearing systems that, depending on whom you talk to, fall somewhere along the continuum between tough love and waterboarding. (In this undated photo, Charkovsky bears some physical resemblance to Brother Theodore, who rose to national fame on old episodes of the David Letterman show.)

Commentators on one website speculated that Fokina's practices would catch on among well-to-do, trend-conscious parents in some parts of the United States, like San Francisco's Noe Valley neighborhood. But given that San Francisco, in the name of children's welfare, recently moved to crack down on fast-food restaurants' free toy offers, would its Board of Supervisors really tolerate near-newborns being flung about like the Flying Wallendas?

Still, one legal issue could still bring Fokina's airborne babies down to earth or at least take the wind out of her business name. According to some reports, someone in South Korea has filed for patent protection for the term "baby yoga." And as we've seen in recent years, the yoga community is no downward-facing dog when it comes to taking on fierce IP battles.

Written by Law.com managing editor Paula Martersteck.

Posted by Laurel Newby on January 24, 2011 at 07:26 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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