So who would be a qualified judge of what material constitutes the best yoga bolster filling?
Well, I'm not a bad judge as it happens! I've been filling bolsters for 9 years now for my yoga businesses. In the beginning and being based in New Zealand where we've got a lot of sheep I first began filling them with wool of course.
I sourced organic wool that had undergone minimal scouring to ensure our bolsters were as healthy as possible. Bales would arrive but there was no consistency in the quality of the wool. As sheep get sheared at different times of the year the length of the wool varied and that meant some bales were lumpier than others. Minimal scouring resulted in the wool still having thistles, twigs and dare I say it, little bits of poo in it. You can imagine I was not feeling like I'd cracked the best filling around! Some customers would complain about the 'sheepy' smell. The wool was expensive which seems crazy in a place with many millions more sheep than people and it was heavy. Wool filled bolsters weigh around 4kg each when well packed and who wants to try and lift a 4kg bolster into position while lying on your back trying to relax. If you want to do weight training get to a gym :)
So I moved on to organic cotton batting from India. This proved cheaper, lighter and a lot less smelly but I noticed that these bolsters flattened down very quickly. So your round bolster turned into a pancake bolster after only a short time. The shipping distance from India to New Zealand and Australia where most of our customers are based was also a concern.
Then came the discovery of the most beautiful, natural fibre - kapok - grown sustainably in Indonesia.
A few less shipping miles to get it here, and wow - this stuff is a revelation! It's like touching silk. Light, fluffy, odorless and clean. A fully packed kapok bolster is under 2kgs. Nearly half that of a wool bolster. Kapok has no nutritional value so it doesn't attract insects or any other life form! Originally this is what mattresses and life jackets were filled with. It completely repels water so has incredible flotation qualities. Yes, your TRIBE yoga bolster will float, so should you be doing yoga on a boat and there is a man-over-board situation - throw them your TRIBE bolster. Seriously kapok creates the best bolsters around and is cheaper to send to you than other fillings. In our first year of switching fillings we sold 1296 kapok bolsters with only one customer returning theirs because they found it too firm. (They didn't realise you could unzip the inner casing and remove some kapok to make it less firm!).