Lena Fokina, the hardbodied Russian viral video star seen swinging babies here and here, is real. She teaches baby yoga for a living and raised two (seemingly) healthy daughters that way. And she just gave her first American interview!
Lena has a website where she advertises herself as a childrearing expert based in Dahab, Egypt. We tracked her down through her Russian booking agent, but were unable to interview her because of the language barrier. Enter Nathan Thornburgh: He's a daddy blogger and who writes about Russia for Time magazine. He interviewed Lena in her native Russian, and got her to explain her "extreme developmental gymnastics" techniques.
I've never heard of anything like this Baby Yoga. Is this traditional or did you invent it?
Life invented it; it was conveyed to us by the teacher and author of all these ideas, Igor Borisovich Charkovsky. […] Over the last 30 years, Charkovsky's system has lived in Russia and has spread from there. Not everyone accepts it.
The first thing everybody here thought when they saw your baby-swinging video was "Holy shit!" Then they thought, is it real or fake? So: Is it real? If so, who is the baby?
The child was born in the Black Sea region. Her name is Platona, and she was two weeks old when we took that video. We have a lot of children like her here. They are early readers, singers, talkers, swimmers. You haven't seen anything like it anywhere!! And there's swimming with dolphins, scuba diving with them… Come to Dahab!
Platona has since grown into a normal-looking toddler, and still does "dynamic gymnastics." (Above, at right.) Lena's own daughters grew up to be comely freediving instructors. Here are pictures of them teaching baby free-diving classes with their mom:
Lena Fokina doesn't understand why Americans find her childrearing techniques so frightening:
Did you know that YouTube took the video down because it was in violation of their policy on "shocking and disgusting" content? What is your response to that?
Did they notice that the babies aren't crying—they're even laughing—and that this system has been used for over thirty years in Russia and the children are all alive and healthy? If you need more proof, the best thing is to come see us.
Editors of America: Please hire Nathan Thornburgh, baby yoga whisperer, and fly him to Dahab to record Lena Fokina's life immediately. But don't bring your kids with you, Nathan. Lovely as Platona and the Fokina girls are, that shit will have child services breaking down your door before you can say "chakra." [DadWagon, all images via DadWagon.com]