baby gymnastics
Facebook video does not show baby yoga, expert says. iStock

The child abuse video Facebook has refused to remove from the site does not show baby yoga, as it purports to, but an extreme form of baby gymnastics developed in Russia mixed with water.

Sylvie Russell, director of baby yoga organisation Birthlight, which organises and trains teachers, said what is shown in the video is definitely not baby yoga – even if Facebook thinks otherwise.

The video shows a baby crying as it is held by the arms and dunked and twisted in a bucket of water. The NSPCC called for its removal saying it was "dreadful and disturbing" and that the baby is clearly "terrified".

However, Facebook told the Mirror: "Whilst we understand that people may be upset by this video which depicts a form of baby yoga, after careful review we found it does not break our rules."

Speaking to IBTimes UK, Russell said baby yoga is all about gentle movements and learning cues from your baby – if it is screaming, you obviously stop what you are doing, she said.

"It started 30 years ago. It's all about nurturing and movement to help the mum and the baby. It is a gentle approach that will help to promote better sleep, better breastfeeding if the mum is breastfeeding, relaxation time ... it's all about relaxation.

It appears the video originated in Indonesia, but the identity of the woman remains unknown. Russell spoke to a baby yoga teacher who was just about to fly to Thailand for training about the video: I asked her because I wasn't sure of what we were seeing.

"This method came from Russia. It's a mix of baby gymnastics and extreme water together, which has nothing to do with baby yoga. I just couldn't watch."

The practice of baby gymnastics made headlines across the globe in 2011 after Russian woman Lena Fokina was filmed swinging babies by their wrists and ankles – a routine she called baby yoga. The video was eventually banned by a number of websites over claims it glorifies child abuse.

Russell said it is extremely important it is made clear the video does not show baby yoga.

What is baby yoga?

Baby yoga involves stimulating the baby's senses with movements and rhythm to help the infant's mental and physical development. IT includes massage, stretching, singing, games and relaxation.

It also helps mothers to attune to their child's needs and help them learn how to calm or stimulate them when appropriate.

Baby yoga moves are also designed to be age appropriate, Russell said. "While you are training to teach baby yoga, you know the movements – those that can be done on a three month old, or movements that are appropriate for an older baby," she explained.

Physical benefits of baby yoga include better sleep and more settled behaviour. In one session, they receive as much physical activity as if they had been handled for hours. It also stimulates the digestive and nervous system and helps alleviate wind and colic.

Psychologically, it is also thought to help parent and baby communicate better, as well as increasing the baby's ability to cope with new situations.