From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Baby twisting: Is this really yoga?

Bhakti Yoga   (Photo: Kalyan Kumar) 
The video-gone-viral of Russian “guru” Lena Fokina twisting, twirling and otherwise manipulating a two-week old infant is being billed as an example of “baby yoga.”

Naming this kind of theatrical display “yoga” seems about as accurate as naming subtler kinds of verbal gymnastics “prayer.”

The Parmath Niketan website explains:  Yoga should never be mistaken for any other mode of exercise, which is operational only on a physical level.  Instead, yoga is a spiritual means of attaining Moksha (liberation from all things transient and illusory).  The very word “yoga” means “union” – not just between parent and baby – not just between mind and body – but ultimately between “the limited self and the Divine Self.”  This is more a matter of realization than it is of obtaining anything that isn’t already present.

In a DadWagon exclusive interview with Lena Fokina, she at first defined “yoga” as “just life, whether you are an adult or a child.”  She afterwards reiterated that “life invented it” - and that her teacher, Igor Borisovich Charkovsky - simply conveyed it.  According to Haaretz, Charkovsky is an elderly, Siberian-born, non-medical practitioner whose methods of baby dunking, shaking, tossing, chilling, etc. (during his repeated visits to Israel) have elicited descriptions of him as being everything from a sacred healer to a dangerous charlatan.

Parmath Niketan reports that true yoga encompasses inquiry (Jnana), selfless service (Karma), devotion
(Bhakti), introspection (Raja), and balance of bodily forces (Hatha).

All that, it would seem, goes far beyond a blatant rendition of “Shake it up, Baby.”


Copyright January 22, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved 

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