Living with Harmony ~ A Blog for your Mind & Body

Consider Cork

Posted in Company News,Green Yoga,Yoga Block,Yoga Wedge by Harmony on September 1, 2010

Why should I consider buying a Cork Yoga Block or Yoga Wedge?

Cork is an environmentally friendly choice over the standard chemically-made foam found in most yoga props (such as Yoga Blocks and Yoga Wedges). Here are just a few reasons to consider buying cork yoga props:

  • Cork is a renewable, sustainable material.
  • There are no toxic chemicals in the harvesting or manufacturing process.
  • It is harvested from the bark of Cork Oak. The bark naturally splits every 9 – 15 years and is harvested without harming the tree.
  • Cork will safely biodegrade by nature when these yoga props eventually must be retired.
  • A Cork Yoga Block or Wedge offers a soft texture that is easy to grip and is slip-resistant (similar to that of a foam block).
  • Cork blocks are firmer than foam blocks.
  • The drawback to the foam blocks is that they are chemically-made and can emit an odor when they are new (some people are more sensitive to these odors).  Cork is odor-free.

In addition to offering cork products as part of our “Green” line of yoga products, you can also find yoga blocks made from bamboo, balsa wood, and recycled materials .  Check out all of our Yoga Blocks and Wedges.


Phthalates – What's the Worry?

Posted in Company News,Green Yoga by Harmony on December 9, 2009
In very generic terms, Phthalates (pronounced “thalates”) softens PVC vinyl products.  A lot of exercise balls, flexible tubing, etc. are made with this “soft” PVC.  It wasn’t until Natural Fitness started promoting Phthalate-free products, that I even wondered what this chemical was.  Or what it meant to our health.  I thought I’d share this following article with you.
We carry several Phthalate-free products by Natural Fitness:  Burst-Resistant Stability Balls, Pilates Toning Balls, Balance Discs, Yoga/Pilates mats and Exercise Resistance Tubing.  The easiest way to see all of these products, is to visit our Eco-Friendly Products page.
Here’s the article (you can click on the link to go direct to the source):

Chemicals in plastics alter the brains of baby boys, making them “more feminine”, say US researchers.

Males exposed to high doses in the womb went on to be less likely to play with boys’ toys like cars or to join in rough and tumble games, they found.

The University of Rochester team’s latest work adds to concerns about the safety of phthalates, found in vinyl flooring and PVC shower curtains.

The findings are reported in the International Journal of Andrology.

Plastic furniture

Phthalates have the ability to disrupt hormones, and have been banned in toys in the EU for some years.

However, they are still widely used in many different household items, including plastic furniture and packaging.

There are many different types and some mimic the female hormone oestrogen.

This feminising capacity of phthalates makes them true ‘gender benders’
Elizabeth Salter-Green, director of CHEM Trust

The same researchers have already shown that this can mean boys are born with genital abnormalities.

Now they say certain phthalates also impact on the developing brain, by knocking out the action of the male hormone testosterone.

Dr Shanna Swan and her team tested urine samples from mothers over midway through pregnancy for traces of phthalates.

The women, who gave birth to 74 boys and 71 girls, were followed up when their children were aged four to seven and asked about the toys the youngsters played with and the games they enjoyed.

Girls’ play

They found that two phthalates DEHP and DBP can affect play behaviour.

Boys exposed to high levels of these in the womb were less likely than other boys to play with cars, trains and guns or engage in “rougher” games like playfighting.


  • There are many different types and the most commonly used are deemed entirely safe by regulators
  • DEHP – used to make PVC soft and pliable and used in products like flooring
  • DBP – used as a plasticiser in glues, dyes and textiles
  • Elizabeth Salter-Green, director of the chemicals campaign group CHEM Trust, said the results were worrying.

    “We now know that phthalates, to which we are all constantly exposed, are extremely worrying from a health perspective, leading to disruption of male reproduction health and, it appears, male behaviour too.

    “This feminising capacity of phthalates makes them true ‘gender benders’.”

    She acknowledged that the boys who have been studied were still young, but she said reduced masculine play at this age might lead to other feminised developments in later life.

    But Tim Edgar, of the European Council for Plasticisers and Intermediates, said: “We need to get some scientific experts to look at this study in more detail before we can make a proper judgement.”

    He said there were many different phthalates in use and the study concerned two of the less commonly used types that were on the EU candidate list as potentially hazardous and needing authorisation for use.

    DBP has been banned from use in cosmetics, such as nail varnish, since 2005 in the EU.

    The British Plastics Federation said: “Chemical safety is of paramount importance to the plastics industry which has invested heavily in researching the substances it uses.

    “Moreover, the new European Chemical Regulation, REACH, will ensure further rigorous evaluation and testing or chemical substances and their uses.”

    Story from BBC NEWS:

    Published: 2009/11/16 10:23:42 GMT

    © BBC MMIX