I met Amanda Gawthrope on a very important point in my life. I became mum and knowing nothing about baby swimming , but knowing how is it good for babies was searching for smth around. 10 -15 years ago there was a popular trend in Russia – Learn Swimming earlier than Walk . And I followed that trend . Teaching my baby to dive from birth , without understanding the main idea of bonding , contact and possible psychological traumas I may cause to him . Yes, following other schools we nearly killed all love to water (though my baby enjoyed it from birth) , and I had to change the situation and find solution how to return this love back. I really had to heal him. Meeting Amanda and Birthlight training changed my life and LIFE of my family . I nearly cried at the course as I realized how many mistakes I did But I was just one out of thousand mums who did not know about gentle ways of swimming , did not met Amanda yet.

I nearly woke up . I became the first birthlight certified baby swimming instructor birthlight in Russia (2009) , I healed my son. And decided to help and lead other families to avoid mistakes. Amanda taught me to love water, to be mermaid, to dance in water, to move, to be water. Her words from my first training were deep in my heart and sould . She Amanda Birthight became part of my life. I was surprised of her combination of a swimmer , professional, tough , but so gently with babies, toddlers, kids, mums.

So I became an organizer of Baby Swimming courses in Russia in spite of all the difficulties I met, bad words about us from other schools… My heart was saying – this method should develop in Russia . We need to be strong and bring these trainings. And only a strong and devoted to her work person could do this, convince ,show, prove.

All Russian families were waiting her coming to the training in Moscow to attend a workshop or to be a model during the training …. As those minutes during workshops were unforgettable. I watched families feedbacks, they wrote warm words in the name of Amanda. She was loved by all.

We created such a lovely atmosphere on our water trainings , that decided even to shoot a film for the sake of teaching moments (happy how Russian community accepted the ideas). We booked about 40-50 families with babies from newborns to toddlers to shoot a fantastic film. Everybody wanted to input smth into Birthlight water life. My third son was also in the episode , he deserved it . As he was a real birthlight water boy , who from birth was in water in the atmosphere of love , respect. Me myself like mum was waitng for the new trainings with Amanda , as every visit my son was doing smth special, new and cool . Amanda like a fairy was opening hearts of kids . The light and love of kids was in the air every time she visited our swimming centre .

Swimming with toddlers needed special attention . On toddler swimming training we all turned into toddlers. Real toddlers with fears were forgetting about them . My second son jumped into water (3 years old) following Amanda ‘s words, songs. As he trusted her. He jumped and all fears were gone

New idea on swimming with kids after 4-5 years – how to prolongate the period of fun swimming with teaching technics. We launched a new pioneer course Swimming Technics for kids (2015) . It was a transformative course for instructors , as we learnt so many thing How to explain , How to keep fun , How to enjoy swimming and water for all life .

New trainings for Russian community – swimming with special needs kids. Though there are other hydra reabilitaition courses, the idea was to show different things . And she succeeded – showed how to enjoy life in water with special need babies . The most touching course I ever attended. But the strongest . Don’t cure, but help enjoy, start from where baby is now, just love, love and enjoy the moments. Idea of relaxing mums. Swimming with babies together .

MIndfull submersions (2017) / We in Russian were happy to host the first Training on Mindful Submersions with Amanda. When all other school are striving for results , for diving, for results – we have to bring ideas of Birthlight here and introduce it to many families . She introduced updated submersion policy. For Russian community it was weird , but we had to conduct this course i, in order to change mentality / Thanks to Amanda and her training we made a big step forward . Whilst Birthlight approach to submerging babies during parent and child swimming classes has always been gentle and child-led, current research and observational studies have taken Birthlight deeper into understanding the practice from the babies point of view than ever before.  New method of working more with mirroring and baby’s choice to submerge.  

And Amanda was that revolutionary person – whom many people knew as very energetic person. Was the one wh managed to show these idea on babies, teaching instructors to Listen , to watch , to respect.

Amanda was always a hero – to bring smth new, cool for excited demanding Russian community . Being emotional and passionate tutor who can inspire total trust in babies and parents in their abilities. We are in the name of Russian community are thankful to her for the CONTRIBUTION .

Teacher Trainings Russia – 10 years together

2008- 2009Baby Swimming
2010-2011Baby Swimming
2010-2011Toddler swimming
May 2012Baby Swimming
May 2013Baby Swimming
Nov 2013Baby Swimming
Nov 2013Toddler swimming
Nov 2013Special Swimming (revolutionary course for swim instructorS)
May 2014Baby Swimming
Nov 2014Baby Swimming
Nov 2014Toddler swimming
June 2015Baby swimming
June 2015Kids fun swimming (cool ideas like explosion in minds)
Nov 2015Baby Swimming
Nov 2015Toddler swimming
May 2016Baby swimming
May 2016Special cerebral palsy (fantastic course)
May 2016Kids fun swimming
May 2017CPD on Mindful submersions! (revolutionary course)
May 2017Baby swimming
May 2017Kids fun swimming
Nov 2017Baby Swimming
Nov 2017Toddler swimming
2014-2015Baby Swimming Film – a great project

10 years input of work experinace into Community , where originally different schools were recognized .
More than 20 teacher trainings
More than 300 graduates
One Film shooted now well known abroad as a teachers Manual

Anna Shkulanova, Baby swimming Birthlight instructor , Organiser of Birthlight teachers trainings in Russia (2008 – 2023) , www.changeworldyoga.ru