There are many types of yoga. Not only are there different styles, there are different flavours. You can find classes that pair your favourite tastes with yoga (think chocolate yoga, yoga in the vineyard), and you can find classes geared towards specific groups (think yoga for runners or bro-yoga). Many classes test the boundaries of a traditional yoga practice, but there is one style that has come up in the news again lately that, in my opinion, should not have any association with yoga whatsoever. Yet it’s been coined, “baby yoga,” by the woman who originally made headlines with her bizarre baby-movement rituals.
You may have seen the video when it first sparked outrage a couple of years ago. It is truly disturbing. It has recently resurfaced because there is a new wave of petitions against her version of “baby yoga,” especially since she is training others to teach this practice.
When I hear the term “baby yoga,” my thoughts naturally turn to my own yoga teacher training over the past 15 years, and the many mom and baby classes I have taught in that time. I think of a series of gentle stretches that can help a baby with digestion (aptly named the gas series), and movements that connect the mom and baby in a gentle physical way. I cannot imagine how swinging an infant around by her wrists or ankles, or throwing him vigorously into the air so much so that he cries or vomits, is considered a form of yoga in any way, shape or form.
Family doctor Kim Foster of YMC's Wicked Health blog agrees. She says “The 'baby yoga' depicted in this video not only has nothing to do with yoga, it is dangerous, physically abusive, and potentially fatal. Under no circumstances should anyone attempt to swing or manipulate a baby or child in this way."
With regards to the many other yoga styles and subsets out there, I am nonplussed. You want to do yoga while heli-skiing? Knock yourself out. You want to do partner yoga in the nude, while applying body paint? Go crazy. But all of these types of yoga involve adults making their own informed decisions about their physical safety. When you take an innocent baby, perform a series of potentially hazardous movements on them, and then call it yoga? That’s where I draw the line. No way. Petition signed.