A History of
Ergonomic eco-furniture based on yoga principles
As published in the 2013 National Green Pages
Click here to go to Green America online publication
Inspired by her meditation practice, Linsi Deyo created Carolina Morning Designs in 1985 to sell yoga and meditation props. Deyo started by selling her own handmade meditation cushions, and as the business grew, she decided to bring in more help.
When Patrick Clark joined her as a partner in 1993, he had a vision to take the company in a new direction. Deyo and Clark saw that the health benefits achieved while performing yoga, like calming and aligning the body, were often lost in everyday life, so they decided to incorporate those benefits into everyday furniture. The gave their businessa new name, “Body Friendly Furniture,”and it has evolved to offer nontoxic, ergonomic furniture that promotes health and fitness based on meditation and yoga principles.
“Sitting in the standard right angle desk-and-chair environment has been found to cause ‘office illness,’ which is a host of health problems from obesity to high blood pressure and lowered metabolism,” Clark says.
“Our furniture puts the user in various alternative positions, like lounging, active sitting, and laying down on your tummy. The ideais to get stretching, movement, circulation, toning, rest, and alignment by alternating positions throughout the day.”
Body Friendly Furniture now supplies several distinct product lines, from meditation supplies and yoga props to organic bedding and unique pieces of furniture. The North Carolina-based company’s products are available in stores across the country and can be shipped “all over the world, from Iceland to New Zealand,” says Clark.
Body Friendly Furniture created its flagship line of home furniture with three essential pieces: the Zen Offi ce™, the Eco Backrest™, and the Eco Square™. The Zen Offi ce is a workstation with a desk and seat that allows the user to work at floor-level in a kneeling position. “The Zen Office promotes ‘active sitting’ which puts the body in alignment and tones muscles,”
Clark says, unlike traditional furniture, which can create pressure points and back pain. The desk can also double as a bench.
A second seating option is the Eco Backrest, an adjustable chair that can be used to lounge or work while lying down. Based on restorative yoga principles, the backrest promotes relaxation, spinal alignment, and deeper breathing.
The final element is the most versatile. Called the Eco Square, this handmade slatted bed platform breaks down into small wooden boards, each shorter than 40 inches. Customers can create a queen or twin size bedframe, couch, coffee table, or bench by arranging multiple Eco Squares in different configurations.
Body Friendly Furniture products are also designed to save space. “The fact that all of these pieces come apart quickly into small pieces means you have the whole concept: sleek, eco-friendly, minimalist, modular, multi-use, space-saving, and body-friendly,”
Clark says. The company strives to live up to its name in all aspects: all of the materials that Body Friendly Furniture uses are nontoxic and sustainably sourced. In addition to employing organic and natural plant-based materials, like cotton, kapok, buckwheat, and flax, the company uses sustainably harvested wood and manufactured fiberboard made from 100 percent recycled content and nontoxic adhesives. “You’re surrounding yourself with a body-friendly and eco-friendly environment so you’re not being intoxicated with all the chemicals that are in everyday furniture products,” Clark says.
The company employs creative solutions to reuse internal waste it generates. cardboard to permaculture gardens. “There’s hardly anything that leaves our facility that doesn’t get used,” Clark says. As a Green Business Member for 27 years, Body Friendly Furniture has been one of the voices in the changing green movement. Partnership with Green America has helped the business move forward as both work to achieve the same goals. “Green America gave us a platform and an audience, and so we’ve promoted the same ideals together,” Clark says. “We’ve been in the Green Pages for years and grown together and complemented each other.”
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